MFA at Spalding University was life changing. I minored in writing for young people and majored in creative nonfiction. Mentors and fellow students encouraged my talents and suggested ways to improve my manuscripts. During the four falls that I attended Spalding, I sold a picture book manuscript, The Secret of the Red Shoes, and my young adult novel, On Viney’s Mountain. At last, my writing career was cruising!
When On Viney’s Mountain won the 2010 Friends of American Writer’s YA Award, became a finalist for the 2011 Bronte Prize for Romantic Literature, appeared on the Bank Street List of the Best Books of 2010, and represented the State of Tennessee at the 2010 National Book Festival. But even after promoting the novel, the book didn’t sell well. The publisher chose not to reprint it and my career at that publishing house ended.
When I read about the Jane Yolen Mid-list Author’s Grant, the description fit my writing career, especially the sentence about not selling a book manuscript in the past five years. Ms. Yolen created the grant not only to provide authors with a monetary sum that could be spent on hiring an editor or perhaps on marking, but also to encourage authors not to cease writing. I filled out an application that included a career summary and brief summary of my latest project, Mooey Bien, a middle grade novel about a friendship between a white girl and a Latino migrant girl.
When SCBWI informed me that Jane Yolen had awarded me an honor prize, I was overwhelmed with gratitude that Jane had affirmed my writing. On the stage with Jane at the New York SCBWI conference, I promised her that no matter what, I will continue to write.
|Joan Donaldson receives a hug onstage|
from Jane Yolen at the SCBWI
Annual Winter Conference
Congrats again on this wonderful honor, Joan, and thank you for sharing your inspiring story. To learn more about the many SCBWI grants and awards, go here. Writers and illustrators who are looking for an extra dose of inspiration this spring or opportunities to network and grow your craft, check out these upcoming events from SCBWI-MI and more:
March 15th: final deadline for the SCBWI-MI Written Critique Program. Receive feedback on your manuscript from your choice of agents and editors.
March 25th: The Michigan Writing Workshop, Novi, MI. (Not an SCBWI event)
April 1st: Rochester Writer's Spring Conference, Writing for Children and Young Adults, Oakland University, Rochester, MI. (Not an SCBWI event)
April 29th: SCBWI-MI Marketing Bootcamp in East Lansing, more info soon
September 15-16th: SCBWI-MI Fall Retreat, Grand Rapids, more info to come
SCBWI-MI Shop Talks meet monthly. Click here to find a location near you.
Special Opportunity: The Lansing Area Shop Talk will meet at the Charlotte Library, March 25, 11am, to see award-winning Michigan author Gary D. Schmidt.