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Sunday, 6 April 2014

Nottingham Writers' Conference 2014


I went to the WEM Writers'Conference t'other day. Last Saturday, actually.

It was held at the Portland Building in the beautiful grounds of Nottingham University.

A lovely volunteer steward

And it was good! A runaway success that will therefore be annually repeated.

One of my favourite writers - Matt Haig - did a Keynote speech.  He spoke bravely and honestly about how anxiety attacks and depression have plagued his life but kind of fed his creativity too.

I have a blurry photo of him. And I'll apologise in advance for many of my pictures. Problems, like focus, composition, zooming, backs of heads, abound. The joys of trying to snap people unobtrusively :)

Here is Matt and someone's head

And another Keynote speech came from the brilliant local writer  Jon McGregor, who covered the importance of writers engaging with their community- in today's widely connected world.

Here is Jon and Matt, and more backs of heads

On offer at this conference were talks on all aspects of publishing, agenting, promoting oneself, marketing, self-publishing, engaging with the community, and writing in various mediums, etc. Lots of things. And very informative it all was too. Nice to meet other writers, chat and make connections, hear what agents really want, get an environmentally-friendly goodie bag...

Panel event - Promoting Yourself As A Writer (and sides and backs of heads for variety)

By the way, this blog-post represents a hazy snapshot of my day. A more thorough review of the entire conference can be found in many locations, I'm sure, one of which is: here!

Obviously there were a lot of keen local writers at this event, as one might expect.

Some, more well-known, include: Nicola Valentine, Cathy Bramley, James Walker (of Dawn of the Unread), David Belbin, Panya Banjoko and Poet Laureates Cathy Grindrod and Helen Mort.

Panel event with Cathy Grindrod, Ali Betteridge (Chair), Helen Mort and Panya Banjoko

Lots of members of the Nottingham Writers' Studio  (including me) were there. I met up with a lovely copywriter friend of mine at the event - Cat Roberts - who is also a Children's writer.

Me and Cat in the Atrium of the Portland Building

I think that the Nottingham Writers' Conference is (and will be) about forging connections with like-minded folks, exchanging experiences and information, supporting one another in our long and arduous writing journeys - wherever we may be heading....

Writers mingling in the sunny Atrium

A handful of highly-sought-after agent one-to-one's were also pre-awarded for the day. Here's one writer's experience of this precious offering: Writing Wrongs from David R Thompson.

And what we all ultimately want (don't we?) is confirmation that we are doing the write thing (see what I did there?) That we are treading the right path, worn and winding as it may be.

And getting help or constructive feedback, along the way, from anyone in the know, is always going to be invaluable, I think. Writers need to help one another. Right?

Because it's all about community.

Inspirational poster

What do you think?!



  1. Sounds like a good day. Bet you feel inspired. Yes we writers should stick together. It's a tough old world out there. Loved the photos, head 'n' all!

    1. Thanks for the support! You are my visible audience and i really appreciate it. :) Do you have events of this kind down your way?! I think they're a bit few and far between...

  2. Just got round to this as I booked marked it and then .. gulp.. forgot about it.. how bad is that. Glad you had a good experience and what looked like an interesting and inspiring day, always good to get other writers opinions and share their views and fears of writing. One day Sarah it will come together and I look forward to receiving my first signed copy of your book xxxx

    1. I hope you're right and I look forward to sending you your signed copy with Heather's! Thanks so much for all your support xxx Happy Easter