By Iola Goulton
Bookings for the 2017 Omega Christian Writer’s Conference are now open. The conference is being held from 27-29 October 2017. The venue is the same as last year, the Edmund Rice Conference Centre in Mulgoa, and there are many familiar faces on the organising committee. And there will be a lot of familiar faces from previous years.
There are some changes—excellent changes.
First, all attendees will be placed in host groups for the weekend—a small group that will meet together on the first day, led by an experienced conference-goer. This gives everyone an opportunity to meet new people, and gives first-time attendees someone to ask if they have questions. This isn’t a big conference compared to some, but it can still be a daunting experience if you’ve never attended a writing conference before.
My tip: if you’re flying into Sydney, take the conference bus. We all meet at a coffee shop to wait for the bus, which leaves at 1:30. It’s a low-key way to meet people before we actually arrive at the venue.
It also helps to remember that many writers are introverts, and our group is no exception. Many of the people you meet at the conference who act like extroverts will go home and spend the next year in their introverted writing cave. And dieting. Because they feed us well!
This year, there are three streams on offer: fiction, children/young adult, and non-fiction:
FictionThe fiction stream is headlined by the weekend’s keynote speaker, Margie Lawson. Margie is an international speaker and writing coach, and many members of Omega Writers, Australasian Christian Writers, and Christian Writers Downunder have benefited from her online courses (from Lawson Writer's Academy), or attended an in-person immersion (five days of brilliance).
While Margie specialises as a fiction coach, many of her key messages are equally important for non-fiction writers. For example, she’s a big fan of using cadence, power words, and rhetorical devices to add impact to our writing. Great preachers use many of these same devices.
Other speakers in the fiction stream include Dr Patricia Weerakoon, and Carolyn Miller. Patricia had been scheduled to speak last year but had to pull out at the last minute, so we’ve been waiting to hear her for a long time!
Children/Young AdultAustralia has a wealth of Christian talent writing for children, and four of these talents will present a combined workshop: Rochelle Manners, Rowena Beresford, Katrina Roe, and Jemima Trappel.
Attendees will also hear from Penny Morrison, and from American author Alex Marestaing, who will also be the guest speaker at the CALEB Award dinner on Saturday night.
Non FictionNon fiction authors will be treated to sessions from May Luan Kim, JoAnne Berthelsen, and James Cooper.
You can find out more about all these speakers at the Omega Writer’s website.
Publishers and EditorsPublishers Rochelle Manners (Rhiza Press/Wombat Books) and Deb Porter (Breath of Fresh Air Press) will be attending, and both are available for paid one-on-one appointments, bookable at the conference. Rochelle Manners also runs the conference bookstall, so bring your wallet—no EFTPOS is available, and you will want to buy books. Lots of books. (Rochelle can be persuaded to post them if your airline luggage limit is a problem.)
The conference also gives you the opportunity to meet one-on-one with freelance editors (including me). This is a great opportunity to get some feedback on your writing, and some direction for your next steps. Appointments can be booked at the conference, and are paid.
Are you convinced yet? Then it’s time to book!
Bookings are open at the Omega Writers website. Note that there is a discount for members of Omega, so this is a great time to sign up if you’re not already a member.