Guest post authored by Elizabeth Leung (MACL, 2019) and co-chair of the 2018 Children’s Literature Conference.
On May 11 and 12, students in the iSchool’s Master of Arts in Children’s Literature Program hosted the 6th Biennial Graduate Student Children’s Literature Conference.
This year’s theme, In the Shadows: Illuminating Monstrosity in Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Culture, brought together graduate, doctoral and post-doctoral students from across Canada, the US, and as far as the UK and Australia. Over the course of one and a half days, 70 students and children’s literature enthusiasts attended 14 unique panels. Panel themes ranged from perspectives on villainy to friendly monsters in children’s literature; fairy tale retellings and interpretations to rape and trauma narratives; horror and vulnerability to the exploration of international texts.
The conference included a mix of academic and creative presentations examining all aspects of children’s literature. The conference’s two keynote speakers also represented these diverse perspectives. On Friday, Dr. Elaine Ostry from SUNY Plattsburgh presented on metamorphosis texts in which children and young adults transform into animals. Saturday’s keynote, best-selling author Rachel Hartman, spoke about the monstrosity which hides within people and how she externalized this within her own novels, Seraphina, Shadowscale, and Tess of the Road.
In addition to the fantastic panels and keynote presentations, multiple conference goers joined the organizing committee Friday evening for a “Monster Mash” social, allowing students and faculty from various institutions a chance to network over nachos and beer. UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections also held tours for their exhibit, Once Upon a Pop-up.
This event would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors, UBC faculty and staff, and our fantastic student organizational committee. We look forward to the 7th Biennial Graduate Student Children’s Literature Conference in 2020.
Photos courtesy of Valeria De La Vega: Conference poster (left); registration desk (top); keynote speaker Dr. Elaine Ostry (middle); swag bags (bottom); panelists (right) Elizbeth Leung (moderator), and panelists (left to right) Shanleigh Klassen, Danielle O’Connor, Kevin Sun.