A Season of Change
Changes are afoot, not just in our nation and the world, but in our region as well. For many years we have held two conferences a year, one in Febuary-March in the Atlanta area and one in October in the Birmingham area. But the number of children's literature and writing conferences has grown significantly and we are confronted with numerous conflicts which make it increasingly difficult to pick a date to hold a conference in October 2017 in the Birmingham area. Not only are there other children's book events, but we are competing with football weekends when hotel rooms are not available for less than $200 a night.
There simply is not a weekend available for our conference in October 2017.
SCBWI has also recommended that the regions only hold one conference a year, recognizing that regional teams are 100% volunteer powered from the RA all the way down to the first time conference attendee helping out with the bookstore. Putting on a major conference is a huge effort requiring many hours of advance preparation. They want to make sure we don't overwhelm our wonderful volunteers and ensure that each conference offered is the absolute best it can be.
So with a savory-sweet blend of sorrow and excitement, we announce that Southern Breeze will only offer one conference in 2017, our traditional SpringMingle and Illustrators' Day. Instead of a second conference, we hope to offer some smaller workshops featuring our regional talent and visiting professionals. We are looking for a date in 2018 when it will work to hold wik, but have not yet established what time of year it might be.
By the way, if you haven't heard yet, the faculty for SpringMingle '17 and Illustrators Day is stellar!!! Registration opens in only one week, and you won't want to miss it.
Jacquelyn Mitchard, not only a New York Times Best Selling and multiple award winning author, but an acquiring editor at Merit Press and a talented and inspiring faculty member of the Vermont College Children's Literature program, will not only be one of our keynote speakers, but will offer a power packed writers' intensive. Space will be limited, and you won't want to miss it, so plan to register early. Jacqui also specifically asked that we mention she has acquired manuscripts at conferences she has attended!
Patricia MacLachlan, Newbery Award winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall, is also on the faculty. She is one of my favorite people (just ask me about her costume for the Saturday night fete in LA the year she was there!) and she also writes for multiple audiences, not just award winning historical middle grade fiction.
Louise May, Vice President and Editorial Director at Lee and Low, the publishing house that sponsors the annual New Voices Award and publisher of numerous award winning multicultural books for young readers, will be there for both Illustrators Day and SpringMingle along with editor Michael Joosten of Random House Children's and Jim Hoover, Art Director at Viking Children's Books. And Illustrators, take note: Jim is offering two opportunities to get feedback on your work, once addressing a double spread and the other cover art! Space for these will be limited, and work will need to be sent to him well in advance of the conference weekend, so don't wait to register until it is too late to participate.
In addition to some of our favorite agents who live in our region, we will welcome Adriana Dominguez of Full Circle Literary. A few of our members got the chance to meet her at an event in Tuscaloosa when she was there for the Latino Children's Books Conference, and we have been trying to get her to one of our conferences ever since.
Registration opens December 15 for members and December 22 for nonmembers. There is also an early-bird discount of $25.00 on registration for the conference if you register before January 1, 2017.
Holiday note: if you would like to give all or part of the conference as a holiday present for your favorite writer or illustrator, contact me and I will make arrangements for you to send the recipient a code that they can use for registration.
We hope that you will join us to celebrate SpringMingle '17, the only regional conference we will hold in 2017!