If you live in the UK and can travel to Wincheser I highly recommend The Winchester Writers’ Conference, which is now open for bookings for July 2011. Although you can attend workshops all week, my top tip is to attend on the Saturday, as not only do you get five workshops and lunch, but also three one-to-one sessions with a choice of top editors, agents and authors, a whole fifteen minutes to discuss work you have sent them previously.
For booking details see www.writersconference.co.uk. The booking process is a little more confused this year as there are separate documents for the speakers, the speaker’s biographies, the workshops and the workshop times, plus you need the booking form to make sense of it all, so put aside a quiet time to sit down with a cup of tea and go through everything.
Don’t forget if you want a particular one-to-one you need to book quickly as the times get filled up fast. A favourite this year and new to the conference, as far as I am aware, will be Barry Cunningham, of Chicken House and JK Rowling (Bloomsbury) fame.
Tips for surviving the Winchester Writers’ Conference
- Arrive early as parking is limited.
- Get into the main hall in good time for the plenary address – it will be packed and you could be sitting on the floor!
- Write out your schedule in advance so you know when and where to go for your one-to-ones – you will have to leave the workshop you are in so sit near the door.
- Be professional during your one-to-ones and don’t take criticism personally. There is a counsellor available if you need to offload afterwards!
- One of the pleasures of the conference is meeting like-minded writers, so don’t forget to chat to people during breaks and lunch, even if you are shy. They will probably be just as pleased to have someone to share their experiences with.
- Remember to check the noticeboard at lunch time to see if you are shortlisted in any of the competitions. If you are you will need to stay on to the prize giving and your free glass of wine!
- Pace yourself, drink plenty of water and don’t get too stressed!