The twenty-eighth annual Canadian Christian Writers’ Conference – Write! Canada – has once again raised the bar for excellence among Canada’s writing community.
GUELPH, ONTARIO – More than 200 writers from across Canada gathered at the Guelph Bible Conference Centre in Guelph, Ontario, from June 14 to 16, for continued professional development and to receive inspiration from their fellow wordsmiths.
Sheila Wray Gregoire, author of four books, including How Big Is Your Umbrella and her most recent book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, opened the conference by encouraging writers to “write in a spirit of graciousness” with “excellence, vulnerability, and authenticity.
“In this field we’re constantly on our knees even when we think we’ve arrived. We need to work things out, wrestle with the Lord and get that out into the world,” says Gregoire.
Journalist Thomas Froese – who earned a win and an award of merit in the Article-Column (Single) category at the Wednesday, June 13, annual Canadian Christian Writing Awards gala – closed the conference by urging writers to “write from a deep place about our broken world. If you don’t experience tension in your writing life,” says Froese, “check your pulse.”
Between the plenaries given by Gregoire and Froese, attendees had a chance to choose one of eight continuing classes – each offering a total of six hours of instruction – on topics ranging from effectively communicating the Christian message to a non-Christian audience, to fiction writing, to an inside look at the book publishing process.
Authors Panel: N.J. Lindquist, Jayne Self, Dorene Meyer and Donna Fawcett (photo by: Jane Twohey)
Attendees could also choose from 18 different 90-minute workshops and panels covering everything from how modern technology is remaking journalism, to effective blogging, to writing for tweens and teens.
Jean Little, award-winning author (photo by Jane Twohey)
Making the most of social media and current technology received a lot of attention, and both fiction and nonfiction writing intensives caused writers to roll up their sleeves and to do the hard work of improving their product.
“It’s been really enjoyable and exciting,” says first-time attendee Susanna Compton from Waterloo, Ontario. Excited about meeting children’s author Jean Little – former Leslie K. Tarr Award winner and the conference’s other keynote speaker – Compton came away from Write! Canada feeling “really encouraged and inspired.”
For veteran attendees like novelists Linda Hall of New Brunswick and Marcia Laycock of Alberta, the conference also allowed them to renew old friendships and make new ones.
“I really enjoy getting together with these folks,” says Laycock, author of One Smooth Stone and A Tumbled Stone. “It’s encouraging and inspiring for me to talk with them.”
The 28th annual event, initially sponsored by Faith Today, ran as God Uses Ink from 1984 to 2001. The Word Guild, an association of Canadian writers and editors who are Christian, assumed responsibility for the conference in 2001 and, to mark its 20th anniversary, the name was changed to Write! Canada in 2004.
For more information about The Word Guild, visit www.thewordguild.com
(Feature photo: Author Grace Fox speaks with Author Jayne Self)
(Article photo: Author Marcia Laycock addresses conference attendees)