Six Weeks and Counting

[ SiWC ]

Surrey International Writers' Conference Newsletter

> From the kaotic cranium of konference coordinator kc dyer:

kc dyer photoThe countdown is on.

SO much to share! Where to begin? Where....?

Let's see.

Contest entries are in and being tabulated as I type this. Entries were down this year in all categories. A reflection of the economy, alas.

Bad news for us ...this is an important fundraiser for the conference. But good news for those who entered! Competition numbers are down, so your chances of winning are better. Best of luck to all!

If you are one of the excellent writers who makes the short list, you'll hear about it from me before the end of September. You'll need to submit the entry by email [if you haven't done so already], so that we can amalgamate and send to the judges. The exception is poetry -- we send hard copies of the poems, because sometimes the format of the poem has bearing, and the words make their own art on the page.

Fingers crossed for all who entered!

In other news, we have a few new presenters to announce for our conference, and a couple of other changes, too.

First change -- we are very sad to announce that Anica Mrose Rissi is unable to attend this year after all. We will sorely miss her! However, Annette Pollert, her colleague from Simon Pulse (the kids' imprint of Simon & Schuster) will be here in her stead. If you currently have booked an appointment with Anica, Annette will be taking it over. And if you haven't booked your pitch appointment yet...why not? Take the plunge!

Canadian agent Carolyn Swayze will also be taking pitches -- we've just added her name to our registration form. Remember that if you've already booked in your pitch and Blue Pencil appointments, there are always more to be had at the conference.

We'd also like to welcome April Eberhardt, of Reese Halsey agency in San Francisco, who will be joining us this year. We are very excited about this because April is particularly looking for Canadian talent. I think I am allowed to share with you that her latest deal was a debut Canadian author, in a two-book deal with a major publishing house. She's looking for more...could YOU be the one? Because she is just joining us now, April has LOTS of open appointments, and even if you have booked to see another agent already, never fear! Every day our appointment desk opens in the morning, and you are able to sign up for Pitch and Blue Pencil appointments in addition to the ones you booked with your registration.

Exciting! And this makes our conference almost unique, as there is NO charge for these appointments.

But before you book, make sure you take time to book a 'Pitch Practice' session with agent Cricket Freeman or author Beverley Boissery. They'll help you get your hook note-perfect before you go try it on April or one of our other agents and editors.

I'm very sorry to announce that Elizabeth Lyon will not be with us this year. Elizabeth has to undergo back surgery, and we send her the very best wishes and lots of SiWC wellness karma. If you planned to take Elizabeth's Master Class, I will be in touch over the next little while to go over your options. Stepping in for Elizabeth this year will be a favourite presenter from years past.

More details soon -- keep an eye on the blog.

Conference favourite Jack Whyte has had a crazy busy year. The final book in his Knights Templar trilogy has just emerged, he's embarked on doing justice to a collection of famous Scots heroes...and you might have caught his full-page profile in the Globe and Mail a few weeks back. Jack is returning this year with a Master Class to kick-start the conference for those lucky writers who choose to sign up. We've just got the description up on the site. Here's a summary:

It's not an Art. It's a Craft. Join master storyteller Jack Whyte as he delineates the differences between the oral art of storytelling, (in which the aural combination of voice, intonation and delivery can carry the tale while completely disguising a fundamental lack of understanding of literacy on the part of a gifted storyteller) and the written craft of storytelling, where that fundamental understanding of the rules of language, syntax and grammar is the sine qua non of success.

So what are you waiting for? With Master Classes from Pulitzer Prize winning author Jacqueline Banaszynski, Horror-Meister Michael Slade, uber-agent Donald Maass and now Jack Whyte...why not start your conference off in style and sign up right away?

Events, events, events! We have two Very Special Night Owl events this year. On Friday night, the inimitable Michael Slade will present Shock Theatre -- a radio-style production of WAR OF THE WORLDS. Be prepared...this night will definitely have the ghoulish Slade touch to it.

And on Saturday night, our very own Vampire creator [in that he is author of VLAD: THE LAST CONFESSION] will bring his own special sparkle to the Night Owl event: The Secrets of Sexy Swashbuckling -- an intimate evening with CC Humphreys and his Sword. Now those of you who attended our Masque last year will remember Chris in his golden mask. This guy is dangerous -- and he'll be armed. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Throughout the weekend, you'll have a chance to bid on items in our Silent but Deadly Auction. Keep an eye on the blog, as we'll be listing some of the writer-friendly items up for bid!

Finally -- here's a way you can help us. We want to make this year a sell-out, so later this month, I'll be hitting the road, visiting schools, colleges, book clubs -- anyone who wants to learn more about the conference. Please help us spread the word about this SiWC Road Show! Anyone interested in having me visit their group for an hour or so at no charge -- just to talk about the conference and answer any questions potential attendees might have, feel free to email conference assistant Ingrid Roeske at or me at and we'll do our best to book your group, school, University department, clan, coven -- you name it! -- a stop on the SiWC Road Show.

For general information, the best place to catch up on the latest is the website itself -- updates can be found regularly. Keep an eye on our blog (better still -- sign up for our RSS feed and have the blog brought to YOU!)

As always -- if you have a question you can't find an answer to on the website at you can reach me at Please put your topic in the subject line of the email -- and I will do my best to answer.

See you soon!

      ~ kcdyer
kc dyer
SiWC Conference Coordinator

The Surrey International Writers' Conference, held every October in British Columbia, is the most comprehensive conference of its kind in Canada. SiWC offers writers in all genres -- from beginners to experts -- the opportunity both to hone their craft and to expose their work to the international literary marketplace. For more information please visit