Writers Conference 2014, Writing East Midlands, Opening Session

Not only did I enjoy myself immensely at the Conference, but I met loads of interesting people and learnt a tremendous amount. So I decided to do a mini-series of blog posts this week, picking out tidbits and sharing memorable quotes.

Portland Building, University of NottinghamI didn’t realise how lucky I was when I managed to get a place on the Writing Conference 2014. The conference was fully booked within a few weeks of being advertised.

Hosted by Writing East Midlands, this was a fantastic event, held in the gleaming Portland Building set in the University of Nottingham’s beautiful campus on a gloriously sunny day.

Not only did I enjoy myself immensely at the Conference, but I met loads of interesting people and learnt a tremendous amount. So I decided to do a mini-series of blog posts this week, picking out tidbits from the conference and sharing some of the more memorable quotes.

Keynote Speakers, Writers Conference 2014

The opening session consisted of two inspiring talks, setting the tone for the day. The conference was opened by Jane Streeter, Chair of Writing East Midlands and an enthusiastic promoter of writers and books. She runs an independent book shop, The Bookcase, in the Nottinghamshire village of Lowdham.

Building a community of writers

The first speaker was Jon McGregor, who is Writer in Residence at the University of Nottingham and author of several novels, including his prize-winning first novel, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things. Jon spoke of the loneliness of writing and the importance of community, reinforcing the importance of events like this one where writers can get together.
Incidentally, he has a fantastic web site at www.jonmcgregor.com which is a good example of how an author can construct an interactive site.

Writing to make sense of the world

The second speaker was Matt Haig who has written for both adults and children. His adult book, The Humans, is a World Book Night giveaway title. (If you are lucky enough to be offered this book, grab it with both hands!) Matt gave a list of facts about the writing business that had us all laughing. He then switched to serious mode and gave us a very moving account of his struggle with depression, and how he started to write as a way of trying to understand the experience.

‘The world is a confusing place. We write to make sense of it’

But if that sounds somewhat depressing, you can always cheer yourself up by watching Matt’s amusing video on ‘How to be a Writer’.

Writing East Midlands ConferenceAfter the opening session we could choose from a variety of ‘panels’ focusing on specific themes. It was difficult make a selection, as they all sounded interesting. But, given the fact that my work in progress has inadvertently turned into a children’s novel, I chose to go to the panel on Working for YA and Children. I will post my thoughts on that tomorrow.

Author: Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.

8 thoughts on “Writers Conference 2014, Writing East Midlands, Opening Session”

  1. I knew of it very late in the day via the mailing list, but by that time I had signed up for the Get Writing Conference in Hatfield, which was also on that date. I have to say, I wasn’t impressed with the conference I attended, and got quite grump as my day wore on. Which isn’t at all like me.

    The speakers were professionals, let down by a lack of organisation, and a mostly unworkable timetable where events overlapped. Common sense was missing all day! And sadly networking was impossible due to rushing from one part of the university to the other…

    I’m looking forward to hearing more about Writing East Midlands.


    1. Sorry to hear of your experience, Maria. Sounds disappointing. I was very impressed by the organisation and by the friendliness of everybody at the WEM conference. I hope it becomes a regular event. Will keep posting up what I learnt/gained from the various sessions.


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