I was at the CANSCAIP (Canadian Society for Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers) Saskatchewan Prairie Horizons Conference in Lumsden this last weekend. It’s held every two years and as usual, it was fabulous!
I got to hear 10 people pitch their mostly YA manuscripts to a panel of four esteemed judges (Marie Campbell, Eric Walter, Sigmund Brouwer and Sean Cassidy) in a Canadian Idol type competition. I enjoyed hearing the different styles and learned a lot by listening.
We went on a moonlight labyrinth walk. A huge moon lighted our way so it wasn’t a big deal that the wind picked up and blew all our candles out. The labyrinth walk is one of my favourite parts of the conference.
We heard incredible speakers – Marie Campbell, an agent who was both honest and straightforward but inspiring too; Eric Walter, a prolific writer and man of conscience and action; Sean Cassidy, an incredible illustrator/author who wowed us all by teaching us to draw cartoon expressions. Here’s my results:
The open mike is another favourite part of the conference for me. We had about 20 people read 5 minutes of their work. Amazing stuff! (Not to mention I had a hoot being the time keeper.)
Add to all this, a weekend of writing talk – specifically writing for children talk. Believe me, that’s a big deal. Not once did I have to explain why I write picture books. Not once did I have to say that no, I wasn’t planning on “moving on” to adult writing.
I met new people, I laughed, I ate really well (lemon poppyseed cheesecake – yum!), I left feeling fired up and ready to write. This morning I was up at 6 to do just that.
And what a beautiful location! Lumsden in the fall. Here’s a shot taken early Saturday morning.