In Memoriam

We are very lucky to have an amazing community of writers at SiWC – presenters, attendees, volunteers, board, and staff – who come to feel like family.

Like any family, we inevitably lose people along the way. We offer this page as a place to remember them. We are lucky to have known them and to have called them our friends. Here’s a little bit about them. 


Ed Griffin, Founder

SiWC owes its very existence to Ed Griffin. With a small group of volunteers that included our director emeritus Ursula Maxwell Lewis, our inimitable MC Carol Monaghan, and a very small team, Ed launched the conference in 1993. Ed was not only a champion of the conference and of far too many emerging writers to mention, but he was also a civil rights activist who marched to Selma with John Lewis, and a Civic Treasure in Surrey, BC, who worked with prisoners to help them become better writers. We miss him still and aim to always do justice to his legacy. Ed died in 2015 at the age of 78.

Jack Whyte, Presenter

Jack was a champion of SiWC from the first time he walked in the door in the conference’s third year. From then on, he was a regular presenter, a core member of our family, and a friend to us all, generously sharing his time and knowledge with newer writers. Jack believed deeply in the power of skillfully-wielded language. With Diana Gabaldon, he sponsored and judged our short story contest Storytellers Award to recognize excellence in short story writing. His unfailingly kind but honest approach in SiWC’s blue pencil appointments were often a personal highlight for those lucky enough to snag a spot, and his longstanding tradition of leading a full banquet room of people in a Saturday night homage to hippopotami will not soon be forgotten. Jack died in 2021.

Howarth Penny, Attendee

Howarth Penny was one of the first regular attendees at SiWC from outside North America. For many years, Howarth joined us annually from Cambridge, England. He was a lovely human with a broad smile whose presence at the conference is missed. Our MC Carol recalls the first time he registered for the conference, when everyone was excited to meet this registrant from across the pond whom we mistakenly thought was named Penny Howarth. After we’d met him, seeing Howarth’s registration come in each year always gave us joy. Howarth died in 2019.