Wednesday, January 15, 2020

NF Fest by Leslie Colin Tribble

Hooray, today's the day! The day you can sign up for NF Fest coming in February. What's that? You don't know what NF Fest is and why you should be interested? Well, read on then and learn all about it.

Nonfiction Fest

A few years ago, a group of kidlit writers formed a group they named the Nonfiction Chicks. They've been writing and posting on their blog but decided they wanted something more, something big to help other nonfiction writers. Enter NF Fest, a month-long celebration of all things nonfiction, and it starts February 1.

I reached out to a few writers involved with this event and asked them for a couple sentences on why GROG readers should participate in NF Fest. Here's what some of them said:

Nancy Churnin (organizer)
The Nonfiction Chicks, a group of seven children’s book writers, have been working hard to put together a free writing challenge that will introduce you to what you need to know to get started writing non-fiction for kids and to improve your non-fiction writing for kids. You’ll get posts from some of the best in the business, from Jen Bryant to Candace Fleming to Don Tate and Traci Sorrell, addressing everything from different types of non-fiction, to research, sources, illustration, where to get ideas and more. There’ll be activities and prizes for participants that sign up in the Jan. 15-31 registration period. And, did I mention it is free? FREE! FREE! FREE! Plus, you’ll be part of the NFFest Facebook group where you can ask questions, talk and support each other. The NFFest will give you an amazing and unique opportunity to learn and to meet and become part of the greater community of children’s nonfiction book writers.

Martin & Anne: The Kindred Spirits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anne Frank

I had the privilege of being roommates with Nancy at a retreat, and all I can say is, if she's in, I'm in.

Lisa Amstutz (organizer)
Nonfiction writers won't want to miss NF Fest this February! This free event will feature daily blog posts from publishing professionals along with giveaways and activities for you to try at home. Join the NF Fest Facebook group for more information, networking, and discussion and check out the website at

Amazing Amphibians: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring Frogs, Toads, Salamanders, and More (Young Naturalists)

I've also had the privilege of meeting Lisa at retreats, as well as having done a mentorship with her and again, if she's in, I'm in.

Beth Anderson (presenter)
You know your topic. That’s not enough.
You've good writing skills. That’s not enough.
You have a critique group. Still not enough.
What you really need is the village!
There’s no part of a published book that doesn’t benefit from the shared experiences of the generous kid lit community—considering an idea, researching, getting at the heart, finding the right structure, drafting, revising, submitting, publishing, promoting, sharing with classrooms, creating presentations….The names of all the people who contributed in some way to the creation of a book could fill the endpapers front and back. To have a month of learning focused on the challenges of writing NF for kids is a truly special gift and an opportunity not to be missed! You’ll collect resources, pick up new methods, and gather all sorts of nuggets as you connect with like minded writers and find encouragers. (And some of the authors I’ve been stalking a-hem, following over the last few years are IN THIS GROUP!) I can’t wait!

Beth is the author of, An Inconvenient Alphabet, and the just released, Lizzie Demands a Seat. I met her at a SCBWI event and she's amazing.

Vivian Kirkfield (presenter)
Why should Grog Blog readers sign up for NF Fest? When I decided to write children’s picture books, one of the first things I did (after joining SCBWI) was to sign up for writing challenges. StoryStorm, 12x12, Susanna Hill’s contests…those were the building blocks of my writing journey. And now, even though I have three books that debuted in 2019, another that launches this month, and more coming in 2021 and 2022, I know I still have a lot to learn. Then, along came NF Fest and before you could say - do you want to write nonfiction - I was already registered! Every day for a month, an industry pro will offer expertise on one topic or another that relates to writing nonfiction. I’m honored to be one of the bloggers and will be sharing my thoughts on Creating a True Story When Information is Scarce. But more than the knowledge, participants will enjoy the camaraderie, support, and encouragement that is so very important in this business that is filled with rejection and waiting…and more rejection and waiting. Don’t wait another minute…sign up for NF Fest. And guess what? It’s FREE and there will be PRIZES!

Have you been following Vivian and seen the number of books she's had published in the past year and those coming out in the future? She will have some treasure you can take to heart in your own writing.
Jill Esbaum (presenter)
Any writer who's hooked on nonfiction -- writing it OR reading it -- can't miss Nonfiction Fest. I've seen the list of authors who'll be posting, as well as glimpses of what they'll be sharing. It's an amazing cross-section of talent and a winning combination of education and inspiration! See you there!

We Love Babies!

Jill is a wonderful and prolific writer of picture books in all genres, and just released her latest, We Love Babies! She's a lovely person and incredible author, and you're going to want to hear what she has to say during NF Fest.

Let's face it. February for most of us is a waiting month - the holidays are over, the excitement of a new year has lost its luster, and the weather is awful. Last year in Wyoming the bottom dropped out of the thermometer and we stayed at -20 below zero for weeks. People need something to do indoors at that point, something that will improve the craft of their writing, provide inspiration and give them something to live for until the weather gets better. I think NF Fest fits the bill.

But maybe you don't write nonfiction. Is this still for you? I would say, "ABSOLUTELY!" Craft is craft, whether it be intended for fiction, nonfiction, poetry, humor, whatever. If something gives you inspiration and makes you a better writer, then by all means, be a part of that. And who knows? You might catch the nonfiction bug!

Sign up for NF Fest starts today, January 15 and goes through January 31. See you there!


  1. I am ready to sing up today, Leslie. love this round-up of NF Fest. Let the fun begin.

  2. A great group of authors! Thanks for offering this great new NF Fest.

  3. This sounds like a great opportunity. I would never have know about it without your post! Thanks for sharing, Leslie!!

  4. So glad the NonFiction Chicks are hosting this! And they've got a great line-up of bloggers, many of whom I know. Looking forward to learning a lot.

  5. Vivian Kirkfield is in the NF Fest building with her notebook opened and her pencil sharpened! So excited to be part of this great challenge. Thank you to Pat, Nancy, Lisa and Leslie for creating this fabulous learning opportunity for all of us!

    1. Vivian! So excited to see what you have to share!

  6. Wow! What a fabulous opportunity. I'm in!

  7. Hooray!! Yes, I'm in... OF COURSE! :)

  8. What a line-up!! Looking forward to festing with everyone!

  9. No doubt about it, the NF bug CAN be caught. This NFFest is just the thing to de-vaccinate any kind of author and make them get the NF fever.
    I. Can't. Wait!

  10. I signed up. What a great idea for a post, Leslie. This is gonna be monumental, marvelous, mesmerizing, and magical. Long live nonfiction!