The wonderful entity known as CLNE has closed its doors. It was a very special and wonderful organization that impacted my life in major ways.
Starting in 1999 (relatively recent compared to those who were involved many, many years before me) I began attending the annual summer institute of Children’s Literature New England. I hadn’t intended to make it an annual thing, but like many others, once I started I couldn’t stop.
The institutes were extraordinary. They were sometimes in New England (often at Harvard, Vermont, and other nearby places(, but sometimes farther off in Cambridge, England, and Toronto, Canada. There were required readings, some quite dense, lectures, small group discussions, poetry, singing, talks of a caliber quite remarkable. And those who gave the lectures and talks! Ashley Bryan, Brian Selznick, M. T. Anderson, Alan Garner, Elizabeth Partridge, Nikki Giovanni, Neil Gaiman, Katherine Paterson, Susan Cooper, Tim Wynne-Jones, Virginia Euwer Wolff, Diana Wynne Jones, Jill Paton Walsh, and so many more. The directors were Gregory Maguire and Barbara Harrison. The other attendees were incredible too: writers, editors, librarians, educators, booksellers, and every sort of person who was besotted with children’s literature. In 2005 I was honored to be a speaker and in 2006 to be a discussion leader at the final institute. Afterwards, there were other events, some of which I attended with pleasure.
It was a grand and wonderful organization. I thank everyone involved.