Aspiring student authors gather to learn from the pros
May 24, 2003
Newly published American authors in Germany gathered around veteran novelists Wednesday at a conference at Rhein-Main Air Base, hoping to catch that one thing that makes authors great.
It was like any other conference: chock-full of demonstrations, how-to knowledge and encouragement.
The only difference is that the newly published writers had made their books with crayon and construction paper, and there were remnants of cookie crumbs or juice splatters around their mouths while they sat Indian-style, soaking up the knowledge.
Elementary and middle school-age children represented young writers in the Heidelberg School District during the ninth annual Young Authors Conference on Wednesday and Thursday.
The first day was for youngsters from the first to fifth grades and the second day was for sixth- through eighth-graders.
Pupils went around the Heidelberg Professional Development Center on Gateway Gardens and learned the ins and outs of publishing, creating and writing.
The Heidelberg School District was the only school district in Germany to host the Young Authors Conference this year. Many others canceled the yearly event because of military operations.
“I think it is vital to recognize the work, energy and creativity of these children,” said Niall De Bùrca, one of Ireland’s top storytellers and a participant during the Young Authors Conference. “These could possibly be the next John Steinbeck or Emily Brontë. Each child is a genius; they have more examples, more creativity and more growth.”
Other participants introduced multimedia concepts, puppeteering, writing workshops, storytelling basics and singing to the new authors.
“I learned that authors are silly and have fun making stuff up,” said Devonte Lott, 7, from Sportfield Elementary School in Hanau.
His friend, D.J. Smith, 6, from the same school, said though his dreams include being an NBA basketball player, he still thinks writing is important.
“Our hope is that children continue to work on their writing skills for the rest of their life through this workshop. They have lots of creativity in writing that can be carried on into a great future,” said Elizabeth Walker, Heidelberg School District superintendent.
She said by learning the writing process and what professional writers do, children would have new doors open to them and dream of better careers that include fun as much as they do work.