What a week.
In its 66th year, the Swanwick Writers' Summer School once more boasted a fabulous programme. There were courses like poetry, led by Matt Black, TV-Screenwriting with Angela Churm, Children's/YA Fiction with Steve Hartley and Interest the Media and Crime Writing with Simon Hall (to name but a few). Apart from that, there was a huge choice of workshops and courses covering almost every topic a writer could wish for from Solving Plot Problems with Kate McCormick – who introduced us to various kinds of brainstorming and mind charts – to Let's Tweet with me.
There were far too many participants in my Twitter course. I had reckoned with about 20. The room allotted to me was barely able to accommodate the almost 50 who turned up. Based on that, Kate McCormick and I sketched out a different concept, which we hope to put into practice in either 2015 or 2016. Let's see what the analysis of the feedback forms will show.
It was a very special Swanwick for me. On the first evening, I received the trophy for my 1st place in the Writing for Children competition. During a conversation with Janet Davison, publisher of Writing Magazine, who'd specially come all the way from Leeds for the winners' photo session, we learnt that the standard had been particularly high this year. This made us all grow another inch or so. The winning stories and poems will probably appear in the October issue of Writing Magazine, and later here together with the runners-up.
There were various evening activities, too. The famous Evening Speakers spoilt us once more. They were Christopher Lee (the author, not the actor), Shirley Blair from "The People's Friend", author Aileen Armitage, crime writer Simon Hall and finally as a highlight – if you can speak about highlights at all with such a line-up – linguist David Crystal with his wife Hilary Crystal who took the photographs for his latest book. They talked about the adventures they'd experienced as Language Tourists for their latest title "Wordsmiths & Warriors".