Thursday, October 26, 2006

Writers Who Speak

Surely all writers speak? =)

At some point in their lives, anyway.
But today I am thinking about listening to writers read and talk about their work. I kinda specialize in this form of listening. I crave it -- hearing other writers' views on facing the demon blank page. Listening to how they go about crafting their magic. Hearing the stories they tell.

I have heard some mighty fine writers speak in my time and they've all given me something -- something of the process, something of the agony involved in ripping open the writing vein and bleeding the story onto the page.

Interestingly (or perhaps not...), I have also heard from a great number of writers whose often incredible prose does not easily make the translation to comfortable oral communication. I remember listening to one thriller writer who, when called upon to read a fragment of her work, read the entire excerpt in a monotone. No preamble or unnecessary chatter. Just a drone of words like the sound of a dyspeptic bagpipe.

Now, I love reading aloud. I do it almost every day, just for fun, mostly. And I love to be read to, to be spoken to, by someone who cares about the oral tradition of storytelling. And -- Man -- I love the words. But the words and the voice together sometimes make magic.

Here, in no particular order, are just a few of the writers I have heard weave their particular brand of magic:

Jack Whyte, Roddy Doyle, Alexander McCall-Smith, Diana Gabaldon, Ian Rankin, Bernard Cornwell, Marsha Skrypuch, Michael Slade, Anne Perry, Eric Walters, Bill Richardson, Robert Munsch, Shelley Hrdlitschka.

I may have to add a few as I ponder further. Who is on your list?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Home from Away...

Back at last from the Surrey conference (SiWC), always an absolute highlight to my year. I'm still dealing with the aftermath, and will post more over the next few days, but I do have to say I think this was my favourite conference yet. I've been attending since 1998, first as an aspiring writer and later as a published author. The conference has been a huge source of information and inspiration for me and so many other authors over the years. For the speakers, it is a great way that writers and editors can give something back to their community. For the agents who attend, it is a trolling ground for fresh voices and new talent. Nobody facilitates this magic mixture as well as the gang in Surrey. Hats off to the whole crew!

More specifics soon -- but first comes unpacking and LAUNDRY.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

SIWC Writing Contest

For several years now, I have coordinated the Surrey International Writing Conference contest. It is one of my favourite parts of the whole conference. Writers from all over the world submit their work in four categories -- Poetry, Non-Fiction, Storytellers Award (Fiction) and, new this year, Writing for Young People.

Today I took the anthology we have compiled of the winning entries to the printers. It will be ready for the big announcement on Friday night -- and this year's winners will have giant, thousand-dollar smiles on their faces.

But the best part is the cachet that comes with the award. This is an awesome writing credit -- winners and runners-up are selected from a hugely talented pool of writers. So best of luck to all who entered -- and sharpen your pencils for next year!

For more information on the SiWC writing contest or on the conference itself, check out


Tuesday, October 17, 2006


... to my weblog. The subject is writing, the right way, the left way -- whatever way you want to take it. Enjoy!