- Welcome & Publisher Panel: New Trends in Publishing
- Writing Nonfiction that Flies Off the Shelves
- Trade Books for Different Age Groups and Markets- Samantha Schutz, Marisa Polansky
- How I Use Social Media Marketing Dixie Laite, Kelly Leonard, Roxie Munro, Amanda Barbara
- Building Your Brand and Letting People Know About It: Tips for World Domination Dixie Laite
- Panel 3: Publishers Panel: Responding to Our Questions What DO You Want to Know ?s & A Few Answers
- Writing and Illustrating for NF Magazines by Linda Rose (by Highlights Magazine)
- Young Adult Non-Fiction- The Trendy New: Niche by Domenica DiPiazza
- Library of Congress Presentation: “Teaching with Primary Sources”— Nancy A. Mazzella, United Federation of Teachers- Teacher Center
All of these workshops took place from the evening of Friday, June 12 to the afternoon of Sunday, June 14, PLUS there was an outdoor reception BBQ buffet, a banquet dinner, a cocktail evening, a cocktail hour, as well as two small Open Table sessions that were focused on more specific topics. The sessions I chose were Finding Your Voice by Vicki Cobb and Andrea Warren in Writing Non-Fiction History for Young Readers: Ten Things I Wish I’d Known from Day One.
Generally, I enjoyed all of my conference workshop sessions and found them very informative although at times, I wished that the clinicians would not only talk to and present on their specific publications but speak in more generalized terms. The presenters were prepared although some of the conference attendees told me that they had disappointing sessions with unprepared presenters. All in all, I got a lot out of 21st CNFC. I loved that the organizers allowed for ample time for intimate conversations and networking, as well I loved that there were a large number of workshops from which to choose. I met several American authors including Susan Reich who gave me some amazing feedback on the first couple pages of my non-fiction book idea. I also connected with publishers of non-fiction magazines and books which I am following up on.
The fact that CNFC was held at Manhattan College in Riverdale (the Bronx) this year was an added bonus. (I have a lot of relatives in the Bronx where there is a large Jamaican immigrant community.) But the conference schedule was so "ram-jam" packed that I didn't get much time to do as much visiting as I would have liked. (Oh well, I have an excuse to book another trip to NYC.) I also appreciated that the organizers chose to bring a national writers event to the Bronx, because like my home communities of Rexdale and Jane-and-Finch, often gets a nationally bad reputation as if all there is guns, drugs, poverty, and crime. It is wonderful to know that children's book authors can be creatively inspired to write, illustrate and discuss books in this borough and not necessarily always in Manhattan (or downtown Toronto). Sure it was a little more of a trek to get out to the Bronx, but the Manhattan College campus is gorgeous and the staff very welcoming. I hope in future years, the CNFC attendees will become more diverse. Perhaps more outreach to the broader community, the Bronx, and writers and illustrators of colour would help. I gladly met two African-American writers Ayanna Murray and Ray Anthony Shepard who are each have worked on exciting and necessary historical non-fiction. Also, it seemed in my workshops that there is a demand for more diverse non-fiction stories for which I can largely thank the We Need Diverse Books people. On a completely different note, the vegetarian food was awesome except for the banquet evening. (Plain rice, no gravy, no sauce, dessert, and green beans? What were they thinking?)
You can read all about the conference in this Publishers Weekly article where you will also find photos of yours truly. I look forward to reviewing my notes and delving into my non-fiction writing.