Normally after a conference I like to summarize my thoughts fairly soon after I get home. But in the case of Europolitan, life in the form of the school holidays kept me from doing that. What I've found is that this additional time has allowed me to synthesize my thoughts, feelings and experiences from the conference into one word:
The weekend was jam packed with an amazing program of panel discussions and breakout sessions (you can see the program here). But the program is only part of the experience - it doesn't capture the conversations at lunch, on the coffee breaks, or over dinner with the faculty and participants who all have one thing in common: their passion for creating quality books for children and young adults, and getting those books into the hands of readers.
I came home tired, but inspired by the passionate involvement of so many people in the world of children's publishing.
People like literary agent Marietta Zacker, who is passionate about helping her clients make their projects the best they can be.
People like Creative Director Martha Rago, who likens her role in publishing to that of a mid-wife, helping to bring books into the world.
People like Esther Hershenhorn, writer and coach, who is passionate about helping writers and illustrators dig deeper to better understand their characters in order to make the best work possible.
People like Marieke Nijkamp, author and VP of Finance for We Need Diverse Books, who inspired and challenged us to go to the edges of the map of our known world, and beyond.
People like Greet Pauwelijn of Book Island who is passionate about getting broader exposure in the English publishing world for beautiful books from other cultures.
People like Majo de Saedeleer, who recognized a need to make books available to children in their native languages, and created the wonderful O Mundo program to meet that need.
And people like the participants, every one of which made the commitment to travel to Amsterdam and spend a weekend focused on honing their craft. To becoming a better writer or illustrator (or both).
One of those participants, Pia Drent, has written a wonderful post over at the website for the SCBWI host region, The Netherlands. I hope you'll hop over there next to check it out.