CYA Later!

What to say. (What not to say!) And where to begin…

Yes – the long-awaited CYA (Cya Later Alligator… Writing for Children and Young Adults) weekend has been and gone in a flurry of food, friends and fantastic-fun in the form of:

1. Saturday workshop sessions with Matt Ottley & Meredith Costain. As a volunteer, I was on official note-taking duties.

2. My own journey to publication took a giant leap forward with the CYA. 2010 success stories Sheryl Gwyther, Lucia Masciullo, Angela Sunde, Aleesah Darlison and Jo Thompson all say the same.

3. Sunday morning SCBWI breakfast.

4. Meeting the joyous bundle of enthusiasm @KarenCollum ‘in real life’, though I knew her so well before as my critique buddy/#pblitchat co-convenor… and beautiful friend & confidante.

5. What can I say… laughter abounded and you had to think quick! – especially with Dee White and Claire Saxby around. (I will not even HINT at the stupidity of our repartee.)

6. Another Twitter/#pblitchat buddy at the CYA was Jo Thompson – who won the illustration category in 2009 and launched that same illustrated PB (written by Paul Collins) in 2010.

7. My Hatchlings session, ‘Rhyming Timing’, where Angela Sunde introduced me as ‘a famous author’ on account of my muddy Play School reading – and though delightfully surprised, I didn’t mind one bit!

8. An imprompt ‘lion-dance’ to demonstrate the pun of a solage, for my 8-10yr-old workshop participants.

9. My Hatchlings were on the ball, brainstorming words about tennis, then bouncing ideas around for our solage. We wrote two together – and I look forward to seeing what they come up with on their own at home!

10. Meeting Helen Chamberlain was a standout moment. Helen judged the inaugural CYA competition in 2006 where my manuscripts placed first in the Preschool category and 2nd in the Primary category. Helen was also the editor I worked with to produce my first picture book, ‘This is the Mud! – that winning preschool manuscript. I will forever be grateful for the special role Helen and the CYA have played in my writing career.

There were so many other photos that I didn’t take – but wish I had! But then – if I was looking through the lens of a camera, I might not have been absorbing so much atmosphere and information – and I wouldn’t want to have missed a moment of that!

Thankyou Tina, Ally and the band of CYA volunteers who not only organised another outstanding conference for those who work in the children’s publishing industry – but this year introduced a second day for the children we all write for – the Hatchlings.

You ladies are made of awesome!



  1. Katrina – it won’t be long until you do! (Jump right in to the photo.) πŸ™‚

    Dee, Dee, Dee – I am dee-lighted that you go so far as to call me your friend. Though your reference to bookmarks is a bit… damp, my friend. πŸ˜›


  2. It was fantastic to finally meet you and Karen.

    I’m so happy I could be there to share it with you.

    There were so many wonderful PB people at CYA. Everyone was so friendly and enthusiastic.

    Such fun … Let’s do it again next year!


  3. Great blog Kat. Helen is lovely isn’t she. She has given me really good feedback regarding my pb book, now I just have to get off my butt and actually work on the changes she suggested! She definitely knows her stuff! x


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