Walking into the Novotel lobby for my first SCBWI conference meet up, I was prepared for a day of awkward attempts at networking and tentative conversations. Instead, I was greeted warmly by Susanne Gervay herself, who propelled me into a circle of gathered attendees. They in turn reached out with smiles to take my hand and offer their names.
“Are you a writer or illustrator?”
“Is this your first SCBWI?”
“Where did you travel from?”
“Are you in the showcase?”
Before long, we broke into smaller groups to converse in more depth. Conversation was effortless, relatable, and genuine. Minutes ago, we were mostly strangers!
En masse, we made our way by train to The Children’s Bookshop in Beecroft. It took me back to the days of school excursions and I had a giggle internally. The din of chatter was constant. I guess that’s what happens when isolated creators connect. We get each other.
The Children’s Bookshop was not large, but it’s stacked with excellent choices in children’s books and amazing artwork by iconic creators. Between conversations, I perched upon tiny seats made for much tinier bums than mine, to flip through the stack of books I subconsciously scooped into my arms.
Witnessing 8 creators launching their book babies was a great learning experience. It was standing room only. It was almost stiflingly warm. But the audience was enthralled. The presentations were as diverse as the stories on offer. I was awe struck, wondering if I’ll ever have the courage and composure to do what they did.
Um, yes, I walked away with purchases ;p
We met up again that evening for drinks back at Novotel. When you can't stop talking but your hunger is calling... you bring the party to dinner!