Thursday and Friday of last week I had the opportunity to attend the BYU Symposium on Books for Young Readers--an annual symposium put on by BYU for teachers, librarians, parents, and anyone else who wants to attend.
It wasn't too shabby. Being a writer, of course, I wasn't the ideal attendee for the symposium, but ultimately it was worth it. And I must say I'm surprised at the ease with which writing/book events in Utah can obtain top-notch writers and guest speakers. At this particular event I was impressed to find Brandon Mull (author of the NYT-bestselling series Fablehaven series) and Laurie Halse Anderson (author of the popular--but controversial--Speak, and a number of other very interesting YA novels), as well as a number of other National Book Award finalists and others.
The structure of the symposium was different than the general structure I'm used to from local conventions such as LTUE and CONduit--instead of a variety of panels and classes and activities, the entire symposium consisted, for the most part, of lectures. There were some smaller break-out sessions with individual authors on Friday, and some signings, and one or two other presentations, but other than that it was one person speaking in front of a large number of people for an hour or so, a break, and then listening to another person speak for an hour or so. So, for me, that structure wasn't exactly ideal. Luckily the speakers (usually the guest authors/illustrators) were interesting and entertaining, for the most part. But I have to say I prefer the structure of the convention/conference format more, I think. I'm not sure whether I'll attend next year--I suppose it depends on who is coming!
Also, an interesting side note: I didn't expect 95% of the symposium attendees to be female. Of course, it makes sense when I think about it--computing librarians, teachers, parents who are free during the day, and the population of Provo all together will equate to a very large female majority.
Anyway. The symposium was . . . okay. Nothing special, but not terrible (and, looking back on it, so is this description of it . . . its fitting, right?).
More to come (on other things) later . . .