Children's and Young Adult Literature Conference

I spent most of this past weekend at the Loft Literary Center.  The Loft has been around a long time, has evolved and grown, has been invaluable for innumerable writers from Minnesota and beyond.  The Loft is where, as their tagline states, writers learn from other writers. I can't recall when I first started taking classes at the Loft or when I first became a member; it's just always been there.  It's a resource that I don't use enough, that's certain, but when I'm there, it's like coming home.

There is much to write about this weekend's Children's and Young Adult Literature Conference, starting with the keynote address from Arthur A. Levine.  He spoke of love and that set the tone for the entire weekend for me. From the joke Brian Malloy told about the squirrel-infested places of worship to the passion with which Stacey Barney spoke about the books on her publication list, including Sheila O'Connor's Sparrow Road , the weekend was packed with a-ha moments, scribbled notes, ideas and inspiration.

It's exactly what I needed to propel me forward.

I will write more about what I learned and re-learned at the Festival, but for now I will offer my thanks to the writers who, in the early 1970s, breathed life into an idea that is now "the nation's largest independent literary center" and those who are dedicated to that same idea today.  Thank you.

Sparrow Road by Sheila O'Connor