Last weekend I attended SCBWI BI’s annual Winchester Conference, the second writing-related conference this year. To put a long story short: I had a blast!
After this year’s Europolitan conference in Zurich–kudos to the regional team of SCBWI Switzerland–I
realized was informed that Germany/Austria will be hosting the next Europolitan in two year’s time and I am going to be in charge of organizing it because I’m the Regional Advisor (RA). (Cue some mild panic.)
I figured I better start looking around ASAP for a) ideas on affordable venues to host the next Europolitan, b) help to get it all sorted, and c) ideas what to do.
Naturally, I arrived at the idea of attending more SCBWI conferences to get a better picture of what can be done, how it’s done, and get some insights from my fellow RA+team who have been around a while. And along came Winchester. And there will be the annual Winter Conference in New York in early 2020. (Can’t wait!)
Pros and Cons from Winchester
On the plus side: the team, all volunteers, the venue, the faculty–well, everyone, really–was amazing. The whole conference was well planned. Talking to Natascha Biebow, I learned there were 200+ attendees, and despite the number of people, everything went like clockwork.
While all the breakout sessions I attended were informative and helpful, I liked the Friday Night Critique best: Feeback on the first 2000 words of my WIP. Neat! Peer feedback is such a crucial part of refining a manuscript! I got paired up with three other YA writers who all submitted super-exciting beginnings. If I had taken up those pages in book form, I would have wanted to read on for all of them.
On the ‘meh’-side – and I am well aware that point does not hold true to many others 😉 –the location is a teeny-tiny bit out of the way for those who don’t live in the UK. Coming from Karlsruhe, Germany, it took me a whole day of travel. (Train to Paris, Eurostar to King’ X, tube to Waterloo Station, train to Winchester; flights to Southampton were basically way beyond my budget) Of course, the time was not entirely lost as I worked on my WIP on the way to the Winchester and jotted down some post-conference notes on the way back. Unfortunately, after a few hours, even the comfiest train seat gets a bit old.
The SCBWI Germany/Austria region covers such a large area, I can’t possibly meet with all members. So, conferences are a perfect opportunity to seek out and meet with those people who you know only via social media. Below, a picture of the three Germany/Austria members in attendance this year. We all met for the first time, and it was great to finally shake hands in RL!
The brilliant Angela Murray and Helen Ishmurzin at our Ger/AT Region’s network meeting.
Also: THIS AMAZING CAKE at Saturday’s party, showing all the books of the SCBWI BI region’s mass-book-launch, topped with this year’s conference motto Telling Tales and the illustration/logo as sugar figurine.
Unfortunately, I have no idea whom to credit for this masterpiece of cakemanship…but whoever is responsible: KUDOS! Just look at all these details–it’s amazing.
So, looking back to the past weekend, I am super happy I went to Winchester. I will definitely go again next year if I can manage at all and encourage everyone who is on the fence about attending such an event to go ahead – it’s been a blast.
I took home a few ideas for the Europolitan conference, too, so that’s another win. Yay!