Graphic posted to Surrey International Writers’ Conference’s website, siwc.ca.

Pandemic pushes Surrey writers’ conference online for 2020

Annual gathering welcomes close to 700 delegates to Guildford’s Sheraton hotel every fall

This fall’s Surrey International Writers’ Conference isn’t cancelled, it’s going online.

The 28th annual event will run from Oct. 23 to 25, as originally planned.

“We are re-imagining SiWC for 2020 due to Covid-19,” conference co-ordinator Kathy Chung wrote in a blog posted to the event website (siwc.ca) on April 22.

“So, when October rolls around, please join us for our virtual writers’ conference: SiWC at Home!”

Annually, the conference fills the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel with close to 700 delegates. The three-day gathering is billed as a chance to “meet the world’s best writers and storytellers, along with editors, agents, publishers, film makers, social media experts.”

• RELATED STORY, from 2019: Big-name authors in Surrey for writers conference, creating social-media buzz.

Last fall, several popular authors attended a public Author Signing Event, including Diana Gabaldon, Jack Whyte, Susanna Kearsley, Liza Palmer and Chuck Wendig, among many others.

For 2020, “virtual master classes and workshops” are planned, according to Chung.

“Registration will likely be a little postponed, but it WILL happen,” Chung posted. “In the midst of all the chaos, we want more than anything for this conference to be affordable for everyone, so we are working hard to make sure that this year’s registration fees reflect that.… You’re our family, and we won’t let you down. SiWC lives on!”

A writing contest will continue unchanged this year, and is now open for entries on the event website.

(Story continues below)

On social media, writers reacted positively to the decision to hold the conference online this year.

“So thankful we have the technology to move forward in this way,” Ursula Maxwell-Lewis posted to Facebook. “A wise general knows when to retreat – but he doesn’t quit! Onward to SiWC at Home 2020. All hands on deck!”

“Finally I can attend,” Janis Bonner posted. “The registration won’t be limited by hotel space and a race for registration.”

Added Amy Schrag: “If the virtual programming works well, you could consider including some in future years, for those who physically cannot attend.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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