There And Back Again: An East Texas Book Fest Tale

The drive was long; the destination easy to find (I got my husband to take me and we made a mini family vacation out of it). I arrived at the Harvey Convention Center in Tyler a little early and upon check-in, met the lovely Chris Rogers, who was giving the very sessions I had come to participate in. She’s an experienced writer, writing coach and an artist as you can see if you follow the link above to her website.

After a slightly chaotic start as early-comers like myself overwhelmed the newly-arrived volunteers, the event started smoothly and mostly punctually. They offered coffee and muffins, and the only downside to comfort was the extreme cold in the meeting rooms. I’d worn long sleeves in preparation (I’m very cold-natured); but it wasn’t enough, and many others and I had to skip outside as often as possible to thaw out. Firehouse Subs provided lunch to those who preregistered, and even being a vegetarian who had to remove the meat from my sandwich, it was pretty decent.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Ray Reutzel, addressed literacy using an article he wrote for The Reading Teacher, which I will go into detail about in a secondary post. (It was that interesting!)

I enjoyed both sessions with Chris thoroughly, and while much of it was more general information that I’d heard before in the many years I’ve attended such events (trying to be as well-informed as possible before deciding how to seek publication for my own novels), I did learn some new things and it is always good to get another perspective.

I also attended a workshop on bilingual writing and books led by Dr. René Saldaña. This turned more into a lecture/discussion on the nature of translation, which I enjoyed, having done a lot of oral translating and a couple times for the text of a children’s book.

The second day was free to the public, but sadly I couldn’t get my kids to come in with me and participate. I chatted with Linda Gray, a youth services librarian at the Tyler Public Library, about our common love of libraries and books until Chris’s final session. Afterwards, I opted to leave and finish our mini vacation at Tyler State park. (I’ll also go into detail on this in a separate post.)

All in all it was pleasant conference, very small, but very informative and well worth the time and cost to attend!

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