Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'll admit I haven't read the NEA report very closely - although I did go through all 99 pages. If I have time, I'd like to look at in in detail, but I've never been a big fan of surveys. Maybe it's just me (since I wouldn't be inclined to fill out a survey or answer questions over the phone), but I don't see any reason to assume everyone's answering honestly.

(Side note: I really don't trust any conclusions derived from asking high school students to report their drug use or sexual activity. I remember being given a questionnaire to complete in health class once: "How many times have I consumed alcohol in the past twelve months? Well, I had a sip of wine at a bar mitzvah, and another sip of champagne at a wedding. Let's call that 4-9 drinks, and I expect to consume alcohol 10-14 times in the next twelve months. Because I don't want all my answers to be 'none.' I feel like enough of a dork, thank you very much.")

But other people have taken the time to analyze the report, and what should be done about it. Check these out for more coherent thoughts than mine:

Chasing Ray
Shaken & Stirred
The Miss Rumphius Effect
A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
Original Content

As for me, I read two amazing books yesterday. Details coming soon.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Lots of other writing, not much on the blog. Here's what's keeping me busy.

Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award Submission Guidelines

Each year, the PEN New England Children's Book Caucus honors emerging writers and writer/illustrators with its Susan P. Bloom Children's Book Discovery Award. Winners will present their work to the public at the PEN New England Children's Book Discovery Evening in April 2007, and winning manuscripts will be read by editors from Candlewick, Houghton Mifflin, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, or Little, Brown and Company.

Entrants must be residents of New England who have not been published (with the exception of magazines or self-publishing), and the submitted work (or another work) must not be under contract. We are able to accept only one entry per person, in one of the following four categories: picture books, novels, poetry and nonfiction.

The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, February 1, 2007. Entries need only be postmarked by that date. If you want to be sure your entry has been received, enclose a self-addressed and stamped postcard. Please do not require a signature for delivery.

All work should be—in both format and quality—ready for consideration by a publisher. The Caucus does not determine ahead of time the number of winners or the categories to be represented. Winners will be notified by late March.

To submit your work, please follow these guidelines

  1. Each submission of text should be approximately 10 pages in length, though picture books may be shorter. PLEASE NOTE: Manuscripts will not be returned.
    • Picture books: Send complete text. If you are a writer and not an illustrator, there is no need to send along illustrations. Author/illustrators should include sample illustrations or a book dummy, which will be returned if an appropriate SASE is provided. Do not send original artwork.
    • Middle grade or Y/A novels: Send one or two chapters.
    • Poetry: Send up to ten poems.
    • Nonfiction: Send one or two chapters, plus a brief outline or table of contents.
  2. For longer works, submissions may include a synopsis or outline, although it is not required.
  3. Include a short biographical statement about your experience and interest in the field.
  4. Include a phone number and e-mail address (if available).
  5. Enclose a business-sized SASE for notification of decisions.
  6. Mail your submission to:
    • PEN New England/CBC Discovery Night
    • c/o Kim Ablon Whitney
    • 1663 Cambridge St. #3
    • Cambridge, MA 02138

Members of the PEN New England Children's Book Caucus will serve as judges: Susan P. Bloom, Susan Goodman, Robie Harris, Carol Otis Hurst, Lisa Jahn-Clough, Liza Ketchum, Lois Lowry, Leslie Sills, and Kim Ablon Whitney.

Currently 20,000 words, lots of transitions and a few plot holes to fill in.

Lois Lowry. Did you see that? Lois Lowry! (Check out her blog, which is where I found out about this contest.)