Third annual Writers and Illustrators Conference

(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)
(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The SWLA Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Guild held their third annual conference Saturday in Lake Charles.

At age 79, Wayne Edwards says his 11 grandchildren inspired him to write rhyming poetry.

"You remember 'Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall', and 'Little Miss Muffet', you remember all the rhyming poetry, so it's a lasting thing," said Edwards.

Edwards now has 16 published books; he even does his own illustrations, frequently taking advantage of technology.

"I put a new poem on my Facebook every day," said Edwards.

For many, he's an inspiration. He's also today's keynote speaker.

"This is our third annual Writers and Illustrators Conference, so we have local authors and illustrators here today," said Tommie Townsley, Chair for the SWLA Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Guild.

That includes Gwendolyn Reasoner, who recently published a book. She says inspiration comes when you least expect it.

"God came to me in a dream, I got the vision and woke up early next morning, wrote everything down. Three and a half years later, here's the book," exclaimed Reasoner.

While authors had an opportunity to share their books, they also, "learned more about the children's book world, about editing, publishing and continue to make their craft better," said Townsley.

And those in attendance today say it's important to support local authors.

"That's why I started this guild three years ago, to support local authors from Louisiana. Now we have some Texas authors here," said Townsley.

And authors today say it's important to make reading fun and educational.

"We are all here for the sake of the next generation and of course all books are for every reader, we're all children," said Reasoner.

For Edwards, no matter the age, it'll always be a passion, "I enjoy it."

The Guild meets every second Saturday of each month and does critiques to help each other improve and develop local talent.

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