Japan Writers’ Conference – A Brief Report
This past weekend, I had the fortune to attend the Japan Writers’ Conference. It was my first time going to the event, though it has been going on annually for many years. Writers – especially those writing in English in Japan, have no bounds on their generosity.
The University which housed the conference, Nihon University College of Art, could not have been a better spot with better people hosting. The staff was outgoing and helpful and genuinely interested in what we were doing.
Each of the presenters at the conference did their dog and pony show gratis, and it was clear by their interest and professionalism that they spent many hours preparing their work. They each shared inside secrets of their work with the hope of bettering every writer in the room. The presentations ran from Suzanne Kamata’s seminar on marketing your book, to Lauren Shannon’s character workshop, to Tom Baker’s presentation on interviewing creative subjects. Those are only a few of the highlights. There were many more.
What struck me the most, however, was the strong sense of community that ran throughout the two-day conference. People attended from everywhere in Japan, and there were many nationalities represented. Thought the presentations were all in English, I could hear Japanese and other languages spoken in a murmur everywhere. Everyone was in a mood to help someone else. There was never a shortage of advice, and ideas constantly littered the rooms.
Writers write for love of the game. Most do not do it for money or fame, but because they love words and the way they fit together to convey meaning. What a gift it was to connect with like-minded people.