Friday, May 1, 2009

Leaps and Bounds, Fits and Starts

Yesterday evening, I saw my first World Voices Festival panel ever. I have a lot of respect for the PEN International group, but haven't gotten out to the festival before, so it was a great pleasure to see "Leaps and Bounds, Fits and Starts: The Evolution of a Children’s Book Writer," a panel on children's literature and writing for children, featuring Neil Gaiman, Mariken Jongman, and Shaun Tan, and moderated by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Overall, I enjoyed it very much.

I found Pinkney to be, overall, a good moderator, although she was definitely a little biased toward publishing (no, I don't really know what I mean by that either, but there's a way that people talk in publishing that was very much reflected by Pinkney), and I was really thrilled with her asking the panelists to answer questions with one-word answers, a la James Lipton.

The panelists were all very interesting, particularly Shaun Tan, who was thoughtful and simultaneously fun, and whose book, The Arrival, I very much want to read now. Jongman was curiously sweet, particularly when she talked about not liking to speak so much in English. And, I've heard Neil Gaiman say this before, but I really love how he discusses children's books as especially important to the adults who will have to read them over and over and over again.

Other than a particularly obnoxious man sitting behind us, I would definitely call this a very successful event.

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