Into the Woods: Critters, Creatures, and Magical Helpers
July 22, 2017
Elisabeth Rose Gruner is Associate Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor of English at the University of Richmond. She teaches children’s and young adult literature and Victorian literature, as well as creative nonfiction writing. Her current research is on young adult literature and the “crisis in reading”; more broadly, she is interested in the relationships between children’s and young adult literature and education.
About the conference
The Francelia Butler Conference is a one-day, student-run conference dedicated to the study of children’s literature. Graduate students may submit creative and critical papers and children’s book illustration to be critiqued by a panel of distinguished judges. The Shirley Henn Awards, the Margaret Kates Award, and the Amanda Cockrell Award are given to the top submission in each category. Another tradition, the Silent Auction, helps raise funds for future conferences.
About Francelia Butler
Francelia Butler pioneered trails for the scholarly criticism of children’s literature. She created the Children’s Literature journal and was a founding member of the Children’s Literature Association (ChLA). In 1992, at Butler’s request Hollins launched a children’s literature graduate program when the university became the sponsor for her scholarly journal. To this day, the graduate students honor Francelia Butler by running a conference in her name, continuing her vision to blaze trails dedicated to the creativity, insight, and academic study of children’s literature.
About Shirley Henn
Shirley Henn was a retired librarian who worked at Hollins for years. She was very interested in the Children’s Literature Program and donated every year to it for the critical and creative awards presented during the Francelia Butler Conference. When she died, she left additional possessions to the university, and the department decided to name the critical and creative awards in her honor.
About Margaret Kates
The art award prize was originally donated by Margaret Kates, a donor who firmly believes in supporting literacy and expression through the arts for children. In 2007 the conference’s silent auction took on the role of funding the Margaret Kates Award and supporting the pursuit of imagination and story in art.
The Amanda Cockrell Award
The Francelia Butler Conference is presenting a new prize in honor of the founding director of Hollins’ graduate programs in children’s literature. The Amanda Cockrell Award joins already established $100 prizes that highlight the creativity, diversity of talent, and drive of Hollins’ children’s literature graduate students. More info
The conference is run completely by graduate students of Hollins’ Children’s Literature program. There are numerous volunteer opportunities, including committees dedicated to art and silent auction, food and decoration, entertainment, reading, future conference planning, technology, and beyond. The conference provides students experiences to collaborate with peers and build their resumes.