SiWC 2010 by Carol Monaghan

 SiWC's beloved MC, shown here sporting a lovely tiara instead of deely boppers or devil horns - she is mutli-faceted, our Carol - has put together some thoughts about SiWC 2010 for you. You may not know that in addition to being the best MC in the history of MCs (and if you've been to SiWC, you KNOW that's an accurate assessment of her talents), Carol is also an original SiWC board member, one of the core of people who've been around since the very earliest days of our conference. Here are some of her thoughts about SiWC 2010, in her own words:

SiWC 2010:  From the M.C.’s  Point of View …

Many special memories having been bouncing in my head since the SiWC 2010 conference.  Every year when I sashay to the podium to say, “Good morning, and welcome to the Surrey International Writers’ Conference,” my heart skips a beat to look out at a sea of writers.  (I’m not sure what the collective noun for writers would be … an edit of writers??)  For 18 years now, I’ve felt the excitement that pulses through the room as writers who pitch their work with ease meet with writers who have never set eyes on an editor or agent.  I visualize the layers of information about writing, publishing, networking and fun that they will paste together to form their SiWC experience.

Part of my SiWC experience is remembering when Ed Griffin lobbied for the importance of establishing a writers’ conference.  “Just think how successful the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Conference is.  We can do that.”   And since 1992, we have done it … all because of Ed’s vision.  Ursula Maxwell Lewis and I remember helping Ed to organize that first conference at Johnston Heights Secondary, and realizing that Ed’s conference was a SUCCESS.

I was thrilled when SiWC board members created The Griffin Award because this permanently connects Ed’s name with SiWC and honours his work as founder of the conference.  The main criterion set out for the award was a positive contribution to Canadian society through the craft of writing, something Ed has done since he arrived in Canada from the U.S. in 1988.

This year’s recipient was Victor Lethbridge of Rolling Hills, Alberta.  He is an author, musician and motivational speaker who has met with over 100,000 disadvantaged youth in some 40-plus Aboriginal communities in Western Canada.  His vision is to assist these young people by offering them opportunities to develop their writing skills and to use their writing to deal with difficult social issues.  At the time of the conference, Victor was on tour with his newly published children’s book, Little Chief and Mighty Gopher: The Pemmican Frenzy, which recently won the Moonbeam Bronze Medal for Best First Book.  It was a special moment in the conference when Diana Gabaldon made the presentation to Thunderbird Woman, an elder of the Mi’kMaq Nation, who accepted the award on Victor’s behalf. 

Now it’s time to put away the 2010 memories and start working on SiWC 2011!

Carol Monaghan