Monday 22 June 2009

Great Writing 2009

Another great Great Writing behind us. Another chance to meet with like-minded colleagues and writers and a chance to go back to my university. Interesting, that as a little girl, I always wanted to live in North Wales, I always wanted to be a writer and I always wanted to go to college in Colwyn Bay and learn to be a teacher.
Well, I got my wish eventually:
I am a writer.
I did live in North Wales for a time - too short a time probably.
And I am teaching – I’m teaching creative writing now.
But it’s even better, I guess, than I wished for: Bangor is even more attractive than Colwyn Bay, I have a PhD now as well as the teaching certificate I thought I was going to get. The writing is even more interesting than I thought it was going to be.
It was my first chance to see the new NIECI building. It was a little disconcerting. I couldn’t quite recognise the space. Still, I guess the view of the Straits was reassuring – and the Ladies’ loo hadn’t changed much. Otherwise, I had to keep asking myself where I was. Nice space, though.
The conference was the usual mix and there were some truly amazing papers, some interesting exchanges of ideas and competently chaired sessions, though there were some disappointments as well. I think my session went well and was certainly finely chaired by my good friend Nessa O’ Mahoney. My two colleagues were interesting and articulate on their panel, so Salford accounted well for itself. The session I chaired was unproblematic.
The most exciting for me were sessions about European networking of creative writing departments, digital stories, a session about creative process, some more definition of what children’s literature is about and Graeme Harper’s very full account of the state of play at the moment.
An added bonus has to be being invited to contribute a paper to a new journal about writing for children and young adults that the good folk at Winchester are putting together.
And of course, not least, being able again to touch base with my former Ph D supervisor. I rather like the German expression “Doktorvater”. It would be a little odd in our case, though, – I’m quite a bit older than him. Still, it was good to see him again and also some of my other former colleagues and fellow students from my time there.

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