When I was in junior high, I enjoyed reading stories, writing to pen-pals, keeping a journal, and creating poetry. Fast forward a few years and now I blog about these passions: reading and writing. But now my “pen-pals” are my blog readers with whom I share book reviews, writing tips, insights on the process of writing historical fiction, and an occasional poem or two. Please leave a comment and join this conversation on literacy.
Meet Liz Rice: Highlights Foundation Groupie Extraordinaire!
Today please welcome Liz Rice who shares some of her experiences at Highlights Foundation workshops and links to their scholarship applications. Hurry! The deadline is December 15!
Carol asked me to write about the Highlights Foundation Workshops. She says I’m like their groupie. Which in many ways I am! I have attended six of their workshops and gone to their campus for my own self-created Unworkshops, many times. This year I attended their Summer Camp where I met Carol, and two Artists-in-Residency programs.
The first workshop I attended was, "It’s All About Character" in November of 2009. Since then I’ve attended at least one per year. What makes these workshops and Unworkshops so special, besides the delicious food, the wonderful pre-dinner wine and appetizers, the cabins [which are wonderful cozy rooms with refrigerators and coffee makers], and being in the Poconos. . .It’s that compared to a writing conference, the Highlights Foundation has set up these opportunities to give you an immersion in your specific work in progress and an immersion in the writing process. Plus, you’re with a generous and very helpful faculty.
Liz and Jerry Spinelli
I attended the Eileen and Jerry Spinelli Artists-in-Residency in September. I learned so much from listening to Eileen and Jerry Spinelli. Eileen helped me stay focused on one project, while still carving out a little time to explore new picture book ideas as they pop up. She suggested I devote an hour in the morning to playing with the new idea, so I don’t lose its flicker. And thenI should return to my work in progress to keep moving ahead to completion. I’ve been doing that ever since. From participating in discussions during lunch, I learned from Jerry to give yourself permission to stop working on a manuscript if you feel it isn’t working and instead, put your focus on an idea you’ve been pondering.
I enjoyed that Residency so much that as soon as I arrived home, I registered for the Suzanne Bloom Artist-in-Residency, and attended it two weeks later. A groupie would do that, right? There were two author-illustrators, a few illustrators, and me--the only writer. Great opportunity to learn about picture books from the illustrator’s perspective, how they tell their part of the story and also enhance what the author has written.
Liz and Suzanne Bloom
The Artist-in-Residency is an Unworkshop with perks! For the same price as an Unworkshop, you have the opportunity to gain insights and get feedback on you works in progress. The authors and artists will work on their upcoming books or illustrations in between mealtimes. Then during meals, artists and attendees share their processes, frustrations, experiences and answering questions.
The Artists-in-Residents of 2016 have been honored with scholarships in their name. They will be helping to identify, review and award the recipients of those scholarships.
The application deadline is December 15th for the Eileen Spinelli, Jerry Spinelli, Suzanne Bloom and Meg Medina 2017 scholarships. Recipients are selected on two criteria: seriousness of purpose and financial need.
This link gives you more information about those scholarships. Scroll down for links to the Spinellis’ and Meg Medina scholarships.