Meet Sally Riley

Sally RileyWhy did you join SCBWI in 2001?

I was a student at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and the faculty there strongly recommended we join SCBWI. It sounded like a good idea to me–little did I know then what an important part of my life it would become.

What have you gained by being a member of SCBWI?

As a member of SCBWI, I've gained so many things–networking with other writers; membership in a critique group sponsored by SCBWI; seminars, retreats, workshops, and conferences to help improve my writing; support when I am discouraged about the long road to publication; opportunities for feedback from editors and other professionals in the field; and, perhaps most of all, invaluable friendships.

Why do you think people who are interested in writing or illustrating children's books should join SCBWI?

It is the only professional organization specifically for those of us who write and illustrate for children and young adults. SCBWI affords the best opportunities for networking, learning, sharing, and growing in our field.

What is your favorite SCBWI memory?

I have so many wonderful SCBWI memories. But I think my favorite would be the Spring Conference of 2005. Directing this event was one of the most difficult challenges I'd ever faced, and I experienced a great deal of frustration at times, but in the end the rewards were great. I learned first-hand what happens when people work together, how supportive members of NE-SCBWI are, the value of having a conference co-director in general, and the amazing abilities of Melissa Stewart in particular. I will always be grateful for this opportunity.

What do you consider your most important contributions to SCBWI New England?

As Regional Advisor I've had three main goals: first, to help new and prospective members feel informed and comfortable; second, to help SCBWI members make connections with each other; and third, to provide program opportunities in addition to our Regional Conference in the spring. To meet the first goal, I've responded to countless email questions, with as much information and encouragement as possible. For the second goal, I've urged members to join our listserv, and I've tried to processes memberships promptly when someone applies. And for the third goal, I developed the Encore program at Rhode Island College in the fall of 2007, with the hope that it will continue to be an annual NE-SCBWI event.