From 2003 to 2007 I attended the ALAN Workshop, which is a two-day affair where up to 80 Young Adult Literature Authors give talks, sign books and make themselves available to converse with the 500 teachers and librarians who attend. I looked forward to the ALAN Workshop every year for two reasons.
1. The participants bring home a large quantity of some of the best of the year’s Young Adult Literature provided by publishers. As a teacher, I added these books to my Classroom Library.
2. As a writer, it provided inspiration for me to keep plugging away at my own young adult novel manuscripts.
Flash forward eight years and countless rewrites of several manuscripts, and the publication of Surviving Bear Island, and I got an invitation to speak at the conference that provided endless books for my students and ongoing inspiration for me as a writer.
I was on the Debut Author Panel at the 2015 ALAN Workshop. I was both nervous and excited in the days leading up to the Conference.
But arriving at the Conference and being among all these people who love Young Adult Literature, some new acquaintances and some old friends, I really felt like I had come full-circle, that I had come home as a writer and a teacher after an eight year journey.
So, thanks ALAN for providing a supportive home for writers, teachers, and librarians to return to year after year. We may not all make it there every year, but just knowing that its there, carrying the torch of keeping relevant books in the hands of teens, is reassuring.