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I must confess I had to look up the meaning of symposium to find out what makes it different from a conference:
n., pl., -si·ums, or -si·a (-zē-ə).
- A meeting or conference for discussion of a topic, especially one in which the participants form an audience and make presentations.
- A collection of writings on a particular topic, as in a magazine.
- A convivial meeting for drinking, music, and intellectual discussion among the ancient Greeks.
Ancient SCBWI symposium 475BC
So ... well, I'm not going to try to explain.
Anyway ... two great things happened on that first SCBWI conference in Bologna.
1. I met a shy Italian named Paolo who loved fantasy and wrote in English. He has remained a close writing buddy ever since - I love his cinematic plot lines! Here's the terrific website he built for his wip The Vespertine Hour.
2. I discovered Scott Westerfeld . I was so impressed by Scott's keynote about teenage slang that I have since read everything he's written and continue to recommend them to all my friends. I still give away sets of Scott's trilogies to teenagers on special occasions ... oh wait one of the trilogies has turned into a quartet. And so it goes.
The second time I went to Bologna was in 2008. Guess who I ran into outside the SCBWI party?
Unashamedly thrilled to meet Scott Westerfeld
SCBWI Bologna 2008 had evolved significantly - I was proud to see the British Isles logo on the banner display of SCBWI regional logos.
And I was proud to help man the showcase for SCBWI British Isles at the fair itself:
Margaret Carey, Natascha Beibow, Anne-Marie Perks,
Sarah McIntyre, me, Catriona Hoy, Trish Phillips
This year, with all the travelling I've been doing, I'm on austerity measures. So courtesy of a cheapy ticket from Ryanair (I never thought I'd see the day when I'd say I'm so glad I booked with Ryanair), I am attending the conference but not the fair itself!
I am doing my part though, because in my luggage I shall be carrying the SCBWI British Isles Showcase - cards, books, posters of our SCBWI authors. SCBWI's got its own stall at the fair, and each region has a slot to display its wares.
Now we all know it's going to a great year for SCBWI British Isles at Bologna, with a bumper crop of authors - this pre-Bologna report in The Bookseller is riddled with SCBWI names!
And here's a small selection from my suitcase.
Took this shot hurriedly, sorry if I didn't manage to fit yours in.
And I'm taking it all in my carry-on luggage to avoid Ryanair fees! The secret? Pack no clothes! It's a well known fact that to fly Ryanair happily and successfuly one must take as little as possible. All one needs is a change of bikinis.