Thursday, 27 May 2010

Winchester Writing Conference and Competitions

My name must have been put on a list when I applied to attend a talk at the Oxford Literary Festival a few weeks back. Anyway, it was a nice surprise to receive the Winchester Writers' Conference brochure in the mail.

Oh good, I thought. That's not far from London.

But wait! You can't attend individual talks. That's a shame. It runs over five days and you have to opt for whole days, cheapest £80, or go for week-end packages or week-long workshops at prices to make your eyes water.

I suppose that's what makes it a conference, rather than a festival: the practical bent. The workshops look terrific, and the advantage of the venue is you can stay overnight for £32 in student accommodation.

The workshop topics include novels, short stories, dialogue, writing synopses, narrative drive, children's books, getting published - all good, useful stuff.

There's a whole battery of experienced writers, too, to give conference talks about everything from poetry to comedy scripts.

There are chances to book individual sessions with writers, for which you submit work in advance.

The prices put attendance out of the question, but I was interested to see a list of competitions. I have a lot of writing that could do with a polish and an outing.

I sent off for a booklet with winning entries for last year's competitions first, half afraid I might be put off by the quality of entries. I was, initially, but the booklet itself was good value. Apart from the entries, there was a transcript of the plenary address by John Bowen and a concluding article by Vincent McInery. Both very inspirational.

I've settled for entering a short story competition, partly because the prize is a week's writing course in Mallorca. I've chosen one I wrote in 2005 which has gone through many a polishing. Right up to the posting I was finding words to change. Even the entry fee was steep, I thought, at £9, so I restricted myself to just the one.

Well, at least I suppose there's not long to wait, unlike when I used to send stories to women's magazines and wondered for weeks and months what might have happened to them

Download a copy of the programme from :

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