Over the past weekend I was extremely fortunate to attend the 25th Surrey International Writers’ Conference with two of my favourite people. Athena Wright, Brianna Kienitz, and my bad self all attended the two and a half day event and had the most inspiring and informative experience. I learned so much and met so many wonderful people!
SiWC brings together writers of every level and all ages, as well as agents, editors, and other industry professionals for a series of presentations, panels, and networking (not to mention the fun shopping to be had at the trade tables. I spent a LOT of money!)
I’ve been to a number of conferences in my life, but this was the only one I’ve ever been to that wasn’t tied to my day job. I went because writing is something I’m so incredibly passionate about, which made every opportunity that much more exciting.
Attending SiWC is an investment. There are different levels of passes ranging from daily to full conference experiences. Even though we were able to save some money by staying at my place (Surrey is roughly 40 minutes east of Vancouver) we were still only able to spring for the basic conference pass, which got us into the morning keynotes and daily sessions but excluded us from the group meals and evening networking events and parties. While it definitely would have been nice to go to the extra events, the basic pass gave us plenty of opportunities and was worth every dollar.
Writers are such warm and welcoming people. It was clear right away that many of the attendees had been coming for years, which is a pretty good sign of the overall quality you can expect. Even without going to the meals and events there are still lots of opportunities to network and connect with others – whether it was by simply starting a conversation with the person next to you, exchanging a business card at the free-form “unconference” sessions, or tweeting with fellow attendees using either #SiWC17 , #SiWC2017, or #ThisDayWeWrite. It also doesn’t hurt that you will have at least one important thing in common with every single person there!
I’m planning on doing a short series of posts about my key learnings from the sessions I attended and re-capping my experience of pitching The Witch’s Patron to an agent, but ultimately I wanted to capture the lingering excitement first. If you’ve been looking for a professional and informative writing event to attend, I highly recommend the Surrey International Writers’ Conference. Tickets will go on sale late spring/early summer 2018, with the conference obviously happening some time in the fall, so mark your calendars now!