Conference logistics in general were much smoother this year. It seems Literary Arts learned from the 2015 debacle. The venues were spread over a large portion of the Park Blocks, and there were more of them, which alleviated the crush of people that made last year’s event uncomfortable.
If you had registered for a workshop (I had) you could even check in at an alternate location. My workshop with Kari Luna took place in a classroom at Northwest Film Academy. I was amused by this diagram.
After my workshop, I attended a session titled “Sports Hour,” mostly because I wanted to see Jason Reynolds and Karen Karbo. Though Lisa Congdon’s The Joy of Swimming also sounded like an excellent book.
Jason Reynolds in his silver shoes. Just like his character in Ghost.
Karen Karbo’s wrote the book Hound of the Sea with surfer Garret McNamara. She had a lot of good stories. She was not as tense as she looks in this photo.
Next was the session “Women First” with Chandler O’Leary, Jessica Spring and Laurie Notaro. Elly Blue was the moderator and she informed us of the real title of this was “Feminists First,” but that somehow didn’t make it into the program. We heard about the book Dead Feminists and Laurie Notaro discussed her novel Crossing the Horizon. I enjoyed the way moderator Elly Blue handled the question and answer period. Instead of inviting people to the microphone, she asked for people to raise their hands and then called on one person at a time. This made for a better selection of participants, rather than just the people who could get to the microphone fastest.
The “Out Past Curfew” panel was my favorite. It helped that I’d read books by (nearly) all the authors. It also helped that Jay Asher and Jennifer Niven are friends in real life as are Nicola Yoon and David Arnold. There was great rapport among the panelists and Alicia Tate’s moderation contributed to a spirited and convivial conversation.
The best part was when a young audience member asked a question about how best to become a writer. David Arnold invited her onstage, so she could see what it’s like to be on a panel of authors. Everyone gave their advice (“write stories you want to read,” “write all the time,” “read all the time.”) Jay Asher brought down the house with his advice of, “Writing is a lot about who you know. So when it comes time to start submitting your things for publication, be sure to say you sat on an author panel with Jay Asher, Jennifer Niven, Niciola Yoon and David Arnold.”
Overall, I can say that Literary Arts learned a lot from 2015 and put on a very good conference this year. Hooray!