There’s a great little science fiction/fantasy convention (well, they call it a “symposium”) at BYU every year in February called Life, the Universe, and Everything. I’ve been going as a panelist for several years (I was an editor guest of honor a while back, too), and I highly recommend it for writers and fans who are relatively local—especially because it’s FREE!
Brandon Sanderson, bestselling author of Mistborn and a bunch of other books, is a guest of honor this year, as is James C. Christenson (Thursday only). The program is filled with a bunch of great Utah-local writers and artists who are well-known nationally, most of whom don’t have their names on the main page of the symposium website (they never put me on there, either, weirdly—this is the way it’s been for years). Let’s see: Mette Ivie Harrison, L.E. Modesitt, Jr., James Dashner, Brandon Mull, Howard Tayler, Jake Black, Clint Johnson (who writes as R.D. Henham), Dan Wells, Nathan Hale, Eric James Stone, and on and on. Weirdly, also, they have Jessica Day George on the website, but I don’t see her in the schedule, so it makes me wonder if they just copy and paste last year’s list in (it never seems to change).
Despite having a slightly out-of-date website, though, the symposium itself is a good experience, and writers get a LOT of good free advice, and get to meet a lot of their favorite published writers and working artists. So make sure you save the date—Feb. 11-13, 2010 in the Wilkinson Center at BYU (upstairs on the 3rd floor; there are usually signs).
Here’s my tentative schedule, and the people who are on the panels with me:
Thursday, Feb 11
(This first one’s a trick question:)
1 pm—Defining Children’s Literature: What are a children’s book, a middle grade reader, a YA novel and an adult novel? (Stacy Whitman, Lisa Mangum, Mette Ivie Harrison, Dan Willis)
4 pm—No More Dead Dogs (or moms): Why do mothers and dogs always die in children’s literature? How do we pull at the heartstrings and give child characters independence without killing off dogs and moms? (Paul Genesse, Stacy Whitman, Clint Johnson, Julie Wright)
Friday, Feb. 12
Apparently I don’t have anything on Friday. I’m confused on that. But I’ll probably be around, working, chatting, etc.
Saturday, Feb. 13
10 am—What Exactly Does an Editor Do, Anyway? (L. E. Modesitt, Jr., Stacy Whitman, Susan Vincent, Lisa Mangum, Tristi Pinkston)
2 pm—Regional Publishers (Lisa Magnum, Stacy Whitman, Linda Brummett, Garry P. Mitchell, Tristi Pinkston, Dave Doering)
5 pm—-Edgy YA vs. not-so-edgy (Stacy Whitman, Laura Bingham, Mette Harrison, Julie Wright)