I can now call myself a two-time Highlights Foundation Scholarship recipient. I am ecstatic to announce that I am a 2019 recipient of the Highlights Foundation Scholarship, which will enable me to attend the Writing Picture Book Biographies workshop taking place this October at the foundation’s workshop campus in Boyds Mill, Pennsylvania. This scholarship builds upon the 2017 Highlights Foundation James Cross Giblin Scholarship I was awarded to attend the Master Class in Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults.
The Writing Picture Book Biographies workshop will be led by picture book biographers Donna Janell Bowman and Lesa Cline-Randsome. The workshop focuses on helping authors find answers to key questions about researching, writing, and marketing picture book biographies, all while getting the opportunity to workshop their works in progress with expert faculty members.
This workshop is particularly relevant for me, as I have a keen interest in nonfiction picture books, particularly biographies. My debut picture book series, Little Launchers, was a four-book series about real kids with real businesses. And this coming semester in my MFA in Writing for Children at Simmons University, I am working on three picture book biographies about pioneering women in literature and media, under the project title “Women of Words.”
By the time I attend the Highlights Foundation workshop, I will have early drafts of all three biographies for workshopping. I couldn’t ask for better timing!
My first Highlights Foundation experience was quite the inspiration. During the workshop, I was inspired by an idea and subsequently wrote and revised five manuscript drafts within the following 48 hours. That manuscript—currently in its tenth full revision—is now very different from the first draft, but much closer to being trade-friendly! (Spoiler alert: It’s about growing up without a dad, and the first version was… a bit too intense!)
I have a great feeling that this upcoming experience will mesh perfectly with the start of my second year in the Simmons MFA program, particularly regarding its fit with my picture book biography-focused mentorship. I look forward to looking back in January at all of the progress I hope I will have made in my craft.
Thank you all for your continued enthusiasm for my journey as well!