September 26, 2011

Highlights from Kidlitcon 2011

This year's Kidlitosphere Conference in Seattle, Sept. 16 – 17, again reminded me why this has become one of my favorite, if not my no-holds-barred favorite, conferences of the year. Meeting blog friends in person is always a treat, whether they're other blogging authors, librarians, teachers, or literacy advocates. And, with the small, intimate size of the conference compared to something like SCBWI or ALA, there's ample opportunity to actually get to talk to people one-on-one or in small groups without feeling overwhelmed. I always leave feeling like I've had a chance to hang with "my people"--people who are both well-read and tech-y, people who would never laugh at someone for reading kids' or YA books, people who relish the chance to talk kids' lit and blogging technique and how to be a good critical reviewer and a million other topics besides.

As you can guess (or maybe you were there!), it's a whirlwind couple of days packed with sessions, but there's also plenty of time to just chat and say "Hey, nice to finally meet you in person!" and compare notes about the panels and presentations. It's that less-structured down time that helps make Kidlitcon the positive experience that it is, at least for me.

I'm not sure what else I can say that others haven't already said in eloquent fashion, so I'll just hit a few personal highlights:
Sheila Ruth, local author Heather Davis,
Katy Manck, and Anne Levy
  • Rooming with Colleen Mondor and Jackie Parker, and staying up WAY too late talking and laughing about all manner of random topics...
  • Getting to see old friends and acquaintances again whom I'd met at previous conferences: Colleen, Jackie, Farida Dowler, Jen Robinson, Pam Coughlan, Holly Cupala, Mary Ann Scheuer, Maureen Kearney, Kelly Jensen, Jaime Temairik, Alice Pope, RIF superstar Carol Rasco, Melissa Fox, Elissa Cruz, Liz Burns, Lee Wind...
  • Meeting online friends and acquaintances that I was way overdue on actually meeting in person: Justina Chen (who wrote a lovely blurb for my book); Cybils bigwig and fellow writing group member Anne Levy; Sheila Ruth, also a bigwig around the Cybils; Els Kushner of (squee!) Tor.com and Book, Book, Book, who felt like a truly kindred spirit; Paula Willey of Pink Me, another Cybils regular; Chris Singer of Book Dads, fellow soccer fan and Guys Lit Wire supporter...
  • Me with Scott Westerfeld!
  • Getting to meet the personable and brilliant Scott Westerfeld and absorb various tidbits of wisdom from his fantastic keynote speech, and having Anne run by with a sneak attack while I was meeting him and yell "Sarah has a book out, too!" so I would make sure to tell him about it, because she guessed (probably correctly) that I wasn't going to do it on my own...
  • Stepping outside my comfort zone and meeting people whose blogs I wasn't familiar with, but who still felt like old friends by the end of the conference: Katy Manck, Lisa Song, Michelle Ann Dunphy and Allison Tran, Sondra Eklund, and many others...
  • Having the privilege of being on a Blogging Diversity panel with fellow authors MUCH cooler, more experienced, and more articulate than I am: Justina Chen, Brent Hartinger (who posted about it here), and Sara Ryan (who posted about it here); moderated by all-around nice guy and amazing moderator Lee Wind...
  • Having Scott Westerfeld ATTEND OUR PANEL when he hadn't been planning to stick around, because a bunch of us gave him the hard press—or because he's just a nice guy and was interested in our panel. One or the other.
  • Listening to THE Lee Wind exclaim with surprise and glee, "You're aquafortis!!!" having just made the connection, and having him enthuse effusively about our blog and my tweets...
  • Getting to hang with fellow Flux authors Brent Hartinger, Karen Kincy, and Nick James (I hope I didn't forget anyone...) and chat with other fabulous authors like Kirby Larson, Karen Cushman, Martha Brockenbrough, and Sara Ryan...
That's really not all, but those are the major moments off the top of my head. If you still haven't gotten enough, check out the roundup of post-Kidlitcon posts on the Kidlitosphere Central website, and tune back in on Thursday, when I'll post some of the Stuff I Learned.

5 comments:

Brent Hartinger said...

Such a fantastic group of people...

Sondy Eklund said...

I really enjoyed meeting you, Sarah! And am moving your book to the top of my TBR pile. You've nailed some reasons as to why KidLitCon is so fantastic.

Saints and Spinners said...

Sarah, I concur with many of the bullet-points in this post, but you were (and are) JUST as cool as Justina Chen, Brent Hartinger, Sara Ryan, and Lee Wind. I love it that Lee Wind exclaimed in delight when he found out you were aquafortis. I am glad that Anne had a sneak attack book plug for you, too. What are friends for?

I look forward to seeing you in Seattle, again! Let me know what you think of the bacon jam.

Allison said...

It was SUCH a pleasure to meet you, Sarah!

Every time I see your book in my library's teen collection, I smile. But I don't see it often, because it's practically always checked out. So cool to meet the person behind the book!

Hope to see you again at a future KidLitCon or other conference. :)

aquafortis said...

Sondy and Allison, it was great meeting you, too, and maybe I'll see you at next year's Kidlitcon if I can make it. (And the news about my book being checked out of the library is always fab to hear!!)

Farida, the bacon jam is as yummy as I remembered. I still need to test it out on Rob, though!