Francelia Butler Conference

The Monster Within

July 20, 2019

Keynote speaker

Photo of Amanda FirestoneAmanda Firestone is an assistant professor of communication at The University of Tampa. Her research broadly examines children’s and young adult literature as it pertains to the heroine’s coming-of-age. While international best-selling series like Harry Potter and The Twilight Saga have been her intensive sites for analysis, recently she has begun to examine zombie texts, like Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation and C.L. Lynch’s Chemistry, to better grasp the persistent fascination with the abject. From childhood, Amanda typically was more interested in monsters and the macabre than with “happily-ever-afters.” Her aspiration at age eight was to become Maleficent’s dragon alter-ego. It remains at the top of her priorities.

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 ButlerFrancelia 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 Amanda Cockrell Award, named in honor of the founding director of the Hollins Graduate Programs in Children’s Literature, recognizes the creativity, diversity of talent, and drive of current graduate students. More info 

Volunteer opportunities

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.

If you’d like more information about volunteer opportunities, feel free to contact the conference chairs: Gina Dittmeier, Marilla MacGregor, and Diandra Werner.