This year’s Surrey International Writers’ Conference has come and gone in a blaze of brimstone and nirvana; and from all accounts I’ve heard, was the best conference we’ve ever pulled off.
I remember it only in glimpses, like a dream upon waking — being trapped on the 15th floor as a pair of ex-US Presidents were spirited into the building, inflicting writer’s cramp on a roomful of beginning scribes, laughing and crying with the winners of the writing contest, wielding egg beaters with Anne Perry to simulate heavy machinery as we aurally ground a boy to bits in Michael Slade’s version of The Monkey’s Paw, racing our Super Sekrit Lovecraft monster back to his Granville Island hotel in the middle of the night, signing books and blue pencilling new manuscripts and juggling a collection of social media brains much swifter than my own.
And from the pictures here, you’ll see how in one night we went from the decadance of the pope hanging out at the bar, to…well, to an author giving his all to raise money for a conference who really, REALLY like him.
Mind-blowing fun, in other words.
The success stories were many, far more than I can number — but here’s a start:
- My favourite mountie in the world, Cpl Tyner Gillies, began the weekend with a request for his manuscript — before he’d even made it into the building! — and followed that up with two more during the course of the weekend.
- @IronicMom, [aka the wonderful Leanne Shirtliff from Calgary, who put together our Contest Anthology this year] was signed — on the spot — by an agent for her non-fiction work. This was a rare and wonderful happening, even in the hallowed halls of the Surrey conference.
- Long time friend of the conference Lorna Suzuki stopped me to describe how she’s working with a major Hollywood studio to produce her books into a movie.
- And of course, thriller writer Bob Dugoni was parted from his t-shirt. [I take no responsibility for all the YouTube versions of this out there, Bob. None at all…]
If you have any favourite memories you’d like to add [and maybe help me fill in some of the sketchier parts of my memory], please feel free to do so in the comments. And if you are a writer and you know what’s good for you, save your pennies and come join us next year. The 20th year celebration is going to be a doozy.