By Iola Goulton @iolagoulton
The Omega Writers’ Conference is over for another year. Over eighty delegates (including a record nineteen men) met in the beautiful grounds of The Monastery in Adelaide, South Australia, for a weekend filled with talking about our favourite subjects: authors, books, and writing.
This year’s conference welcomed a record 32 first-time attendees, including three from New Zealand (woo hoo!). That means lots of old friends to meet again, and new friends to make.
Six attendees were recipients of the inaugural Omega Writers conference scholarships, and I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the fund. Those who attended the AGM voted to continue the scholarships again next year, and we started collecting donations. If you missed out on donating, you can donate via the website: www.omegawriters.org. This is a great way to bless a new attendee who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend.
We were blessed to again have US Young Adult author Alex Marestraing with us as our keynote speaker. He set the tone for the weekend on Friday night with his authenticity and vulnerability as he shared on his views on writing and life. Alex is an inspiring and quietly powerful speaker who got us all thinking as he shared “chapters” from the book of author voice.
I need to reread my notes and unpack some of what he said later in another blog post (perhaps when I’m writing in the comfort of my own home, rather than in an airport departure lounge where I’ve just realised my notes are in my checked baggage … that’s what 15 hours of sleep in 72 hours will do for you).
Our theme for the weekend was “From a whisper to a shout”, and many of the speakers referenced this in either word or theme. I spoke on building an author platform, and on using social media as an author (using material from my Kick-Start Your Author Platform Marketing Challenge). The theme definitely fit my sessions, as we all start our platforms with nothing and build from that whisper to (hopefully) a shout of influence.
Conference chaplain Carolyn Bourke challenged me in the Sunday morning worship session with a quote from Daring Greatly by Brene Brown:
Don’t puff up, don’t shrink back. Turn up, be yourself, and stand your sacred ground.
I suspect this will be the subject of a future blog post as well …
CALEB AwardThe winners of the CALEB Awards are traditionally announced on the Saturday night of conference. The awards were established by Anne Hamilton during her term as President of Omega, and CALEB stands for Christian Authors Lifting Each other’s Books.
This year we are delighted to congratulate:
Carolyn Miller (Fiction, for The Ellusive Miss Ellison)
Jen Gibbs (Non-fiction, for She)
Penny Reeve (Children’s, for Camp Max)
Susan J Brice (Unpublished Fiction)
Conference organiser Raewyn Elsegood has again done a fabulous job of organising conference. Raewyn is an extrovert who gains energy from organising events, and we’re blessed to have her and her neverending good cheer. Thank you, Raewyn!
Omega Writers President Meredith Resce also did a wonderful job, aided by her hardworking committee. I’m sure Meredith is thrilled to have a record number of members volunteer to be on the committee this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing Omega go from strength to strength under their able leadership.
For those Australian and New Zealand writers who want to join the excitement next year … the 2019 Omega Writers’ Conference will be held at the Edmund Rice Conference Centre, near Sydney, from 25 to 27 October 2019. As President Meredith Resce said in her closing words, if you start saving $13 a week now, you’ll probably have saved enough for the conference fee and accommodation by the time registrations open next June. Start planning now so you don’t miss out!
Just don’t plan to get a lot of sleep.