Monday, 21 June 2010

The Call of the Conference

I spent last weekend in Bangor at this year's Great Writing Conference. It is the 6th year I have attended and it keeps calling me back. For an associate lecturer in particular there is something wonderful about spending such a block of time with Creative Writing colleagues, discussing all the things that interest you.

There was a great variety at this year's conference, from creative work by poets such as J. Matthew Boyleston and story-writers Sam Francis and Philippa Holloway; pedagogical work by Kate North and, well, me; discussions of work in progress from the likes of Andy Thatcher, Brooke Davis and Heather Richardson; and theoretical explanations from Nigel McLoughlin, Simon Holloway and Anthony Caleshu. Everything I saw was interesting and stimulating and has sent me back to my desk with my mind whirling with ideas and plans.

It's a tiring weekend, partly because of the many papers which you cram into your head, swelling your cortex with new information, but also because of late nights and beer-soaked conversations. But it is a wonderful experience that feeds me as a writer, a teacher, a thinker and, at quite a basic level, as a person.

And this year I have come away with two projects which wouldn't have happened without the conference. The first is a short story which has been requested for a journal - about which I shall blog more at a later date - and the second is an idea for an article which was inspired by the conference as a whole. There was a feeling to the conference that the tribe of Creative Writing academics have started to grow tired of forelock-tugging with regard to the English Dept.s that spawned them, and are finally standing up straight and proud. There is something there worthy of investigation, I just need to work out what it is. More on that when I've worked out what it all means. But in the meantime, Say it Loud: I'm a Creative Writer and I'm proud!


  1. I am a creative writer too and I'm proud. Great blog. Can't wait to read your new projects.
    Plus of course we have to be grateful to the Great Writing Conference for many things...if we hadn't met there last year and kept in touch, discussing teaching and writing, other things wouldn't have happened. Circles and connections, circles and connections. ;-)

  2. Thanks, Ness. Always nice to hear from an avid reader. ;-)