Sunday, October 25, 2009

SiWConference round-up

Surrey International Writers' Conference
Oct. 23 - 25, 2009

  1. Brilliant organization, scads of energetic volunteers, a wonderful array of presenters and collegial participants.
  2. Bumping into participants and presenters who I may only see once a year, but am always glad to spend time with, learning what's new in the business, who's doing what, and what they've been up to in the intervening months.
  3. Attending another workshop by Hallie Ephron - stellar content and workshop delivery every time, even if on the surface the topic is not a direct fit with what I'm doing, I always gain new insights that will help me in my work, and perhaps students in my classes. This year - suspense. Great timing as I will need to use it in my WIP children's novel Escape From the Marshes - a Tale of Iraq.
  4. The fine organization that takes care of all the big (and little details) that contribute to seamless delivery of a great time for everyone. Kudos to The Committee.
  5. TV in bed in my hotel room (I don't have one at home) - esp. the bellydancing class first thing this morning. Too bad I left my tassels and veils at home or I'd have leapt from the covers and and joined in.

  6. All the learning that goes on between workshops and classes.
  7. Being privileged to help writers refine their first pages, queries, develop their concepts, etc. in the Blue Pencil Cafe sessions.
  8. MC Carol Monaghan's offbeat humour and personable style behind the mic.
  9. Awesome contest winners' work.
  10. Gary Geddes' moving poem about the Kent State massacre.
  11. The 'Writing in the Kidzone Panel' with Meg Tilly, Kathy Shoemaker and Richard Scrimgar - I enjoyed playing in the sandbox with you.
  12. Surrey author Carol Mason's ebullient laugh.
  13. Desert at two meals a day.
  14. Seeing a trade show exhibitor display a copy of The Bonner Party Cookbook' - sick humour, maybe, but the title gave me the biggest laugh of the weekend.
  15. Enjoying talking about short stories with Annabel Lyon over breakfast on Saturday, morning, and in the evening learning her book The Golden Mean has earned her
    nomination for The Governor General's Award, on top of her nominations for Writers' Trust Award and the Giller. GO Annabel!


  1. Styrofoam cups in the hotel rooms - which necessitated secreting a cup from the banquet hall in my purse so I could make tea first thing in my room - then hiding it in my suitcase so the room attendant didn't take it away necessitating me to borrow another one.
    (Can't their guests be trusted with real crockery?)
  2. All the people I met for the first time and would loved to have spent more time with - but couldn't.
  3. The fact that I could not share my BIG NEWS with anyone during the entire weekend.
  4. The Surrey councillor who in front of a crowd of 200? people stated that no one has written about Surrey. I'm now compiling a collection/booklist that I will deliver to Surrey Council to help educate them about their own literate community, and how their city is represented in print. Email me your suggestions for the list -
  5. That conference favourite - and one of the best presenters for both delivery and content, Elizabeth Lyon - could not be there - she's recovering from spine surgery, and doing well, according to recent reports.
  6. That I was unable to buy a copy of more participants' books.

  7. That each evening by the time the entertainment part of the day's program came around, I was just too tired to partake.

  8. 365 days until the next conference seems a very long time to wait.

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