Geneva Writers´ Conference – what a weekend!

The Geneva Writers´Conference, held every two years at Webster University, gets better and better thanks to the passion and motivation of the volunteer committee and its leader, Susan Tiberghien. With just over 200 participants from more than 40 countries, I just hope it doesn´t get any bigger.

I took four fiction workshops which gave me new insights in a variety of ways: Martina Evans encouraged us to think like film-makers; Thomas E. Kennedy showed us how to use coincidence in fiction; Geeta Kothari gave us techniques for looking at time management of scene and summary; and Richard Scrimger showed us the truth in our lies while sharing the earnestly passionate while keeping us in stitches.

Then there were Q/As with UK agent, Lorella Belli, and US agent, Jane Dystel, panel discussions, and much more for which I would have had to clone myself to attend. The much more was non-fiction with Annette Kobak, Robert Root and Susan Tiberghien; poetry with Wallis Wilde-Menozzi and John Hartley Williams; and panels with agents, Belli and Dystel, and with David Applefield, Robert Stewart, Catherine Nelson-Pollard, Alistair Scott and John Zimmer.

The bookshop was set up in a large meeting room where we could have coffee and chat and where we were welcomed and registered. It all ran like (Swiss) clockwork.

On the Friday evening we had a yummy dinner with open mic readings of exactly three minutes introduced by committee member, Alistair Scott. There was a great variety of pieces, several from writers with books out after agent contacts at the last GWC. Others read from works in progress. I never can decide on favourite pieces straight away, but now, a couple of days back in Vienna, the one piece that sticks in my mind was a delightful piece about Emmental cheese (the eyes have it) and Tete de moine cheese – you know, that cheese that is scraped into a frilly petticoat by turning a handle round and round. (Maybe I´m just a gourmand trying to wear a gourmet hat.)

Saturday night there were readings by the faculty interspersed with pithy writing comments and banter by MC, John Zimmer, also on the committee. Dinner was again served by the unsurpassable Gilles and his team.

The farewell reception on Sunday afternoon came around far too soon. It was great having such an intense experience, seeing old friends, recharging my writing batteries. A great conference which will be around again in 2012. Meanwhile, check out what this group does between gigs: workshops and Offshoots!