The Margaret Carey Scholarship for Fiction winner, Susan Brownrigg, tells us about her conference experience. Susan's is a very personal and brave story and reminds that SCBWI is a unique organisation that offers members opportunity, support and friendship in this very special network.
When Words & Pictures asked for volunteers to write an article about attending the conference, I offered to help. I was delighted to win the Margaret Carey Scholarship for fiction and it was the least I could do as a way of saying thank you for such an amazing opportunity.
I'm going to write about friendship
I was to share what I enjoyed most about the conference – what I would take away from it. I was expecting to write about the fantastic workshops, the keynote speeches, the useful crit, a 1:1, the fun meal out and the pirate party. But instead I’m going to write about friendship.
|Practice Your Pitch|
I arrived in Winchester on Friday and went to the Practice your Pitch workshop, Crit and the evening meal. I made some new friends at these events and was looking forward to the rest of the weekend.
Very sadly back at the hotel I received some awful news – my dog, Flash, had been attacked on his walk by another dog. My husband rushed him to the vet – but despite their best efforts it was decided he should be put to sleep. I was devastated.
I wanted to go home, but it just wasn’t practical, and my family wanted me to stay. They know how much writing means to me and they knew what an opportunity attending the conference was.
After a long, sleepless night I decided I would stay.
|Story Structure with Candy Gourlay|
My friends rallied round, they gave me hugs, made sure I ate a little something at breakfast, walked with me to the conference and listened and offered condolences. Without them I’m pretty sure I’d have been on the first train home.
I have learned so much from the workshops, talks and 1:1 I attended and have so many ideas on how to improve my current manuscript. And despite being heartbroken you will see pictures of me at the conference smiling. I danced when David Fickling told us to, I even put on my whale dress and went to the party.
My husband and mum picked me up on Sunday afternoon. It was very emotional going home. We talked a lot about Flash, but I also told them about the conference and my hopes for the future.
I would heartily recommend the conference to anyone thinking of going next year, and I really hope to be there myself.
|The North West SCBWI Group|