After twelve years of attending Society of Childrens' Book Writer and Illustrator conferences, this is a big moment for me: I am serving on the faculty of the NESCBWI's conference this weekend in Nashua, New Hampshire. My workshop is about jump-starting a writing career by creating a niche, and I'm more nervous about speaking to a dozen or so of my colleagues than I ever feel facing a crowd of 300 middle-schoolers.
I did take a closer look at my own strong desire to defend Kaavya Viswanathan this week. I don't usually leap into controversy out here on the Fire Escape, so why did I risk such a strong opinion? (BTW, I'm glad I did, and probably will do so more often.) My gut response, I think, was spurred by a conviction that I need to invest in and encourage other writers -- especially young ones. I'm glad I'll be getting that opportunity this weekend, and highly recommend SCBWI to those of you who care about putting good books in the hands of young readers.