Surrey International Writers' Conference
The Surrey International Writers’ Conference (SiWC) is held every October in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. “To inspire, educate and motivate aspiring and experienced writers alike” has been the goal of the Surrey International Writers’ Conference since its inception. The conference is conducted on a not-for-profit basis and is planned, organized and run by a volunteer board, a conference coordinator, an administrator, and many volunteers.
The 2015 Conference will be held on October 23, 24, and 25th, 2015. Master Classes will be held on October 22.
- Workshops. More than 70 workshops are offered over the three days. Attendees can attend any of the workshops on the days they register for.
- Master Classes. On the day before the main conference starts, in-depth, three-hour master classes are offered in a variety of topics.
- Editor/Agent Interviews. Various Editors and Agents are available for one-on-one pitch appointments throughout the 3-day conference as part of the attendee registration fees.
- Blue Pencil Cafe. Speakers are available for 15-minute one-on-one appointments throughout the 3-day conference, providing attendees with a chance to ask a professional writer questions in an informal setting.
- Trade Show. The Trade Show features a large selection of books (a bookstore plus many authors), writing organizations, computer programs, gifts and small press magazines.
- Saturday Evening Author Signing and Book Fair. All of the conference's presenting authors participate in this event. As well, other published writers are invited to attend to sell and sign their books. This event is open to the public at no charge.
The extensive list of past presenters includes many award-winning authors, including: Terry Brooks, Catherine Coulter, Jennifer Crusie, Robert Dugoni, Hallie Ephron, Diana Gabaldon, Susanna Kearsley, Annabel Lyon, Phillip Margolin, Robert McCammon, Jacqueline Mitchard, Anne Perry, Mary Jo Putney, Karen Robards, John Saul, Robert J. Sawyer, Michael Slade, Meg Tilly, and Jack Whyte.
The SiWC Writing Contest is held annually in conjunction with the conference. 2015 will feature a Storyteller's Award (short story). Prizes are awarded to the winner at the awards ceremony on the first evening of the conference. First place wins $1000, honorable mentions $150. The winner and honorable mentions are published online.
The conference first took place at Johnson Heights Secondary School and was attended by just over 100 people. The organizers considered it a success and began planning for an even bigger and better conference the following year. The second conference moved to the Sheraton Guildford Hotel, where it has remained ever since, and featured best-selling author Maeve Binchey as a keynote speaker.
On the tenth anniversary of the conference in 2002, the growth and reach of the conference was recognized by including ‘international’ in the official title to become the Surrey International Writers’ Conference.
The conference operated as an extension of the Surrey School District’s Continuing Education department as a non-profit event from its inception up to and including the 2010 conference. It now operates as a not-for-profit society, the Surrey International Writers' Conference Society.
Presenters have come from as far away as Japan and Scotland while attendees hail from as far away as South America, Europe and Australia.