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ScotsWrite September 2017 – A conference for writers by writers

On a lovely weekend late in September  last year there was a large gathering of writers and speakers from all areas of the publishing world who came together for ScotsWrite conference, organised by the Society of Authors in Scotland (SoAiS).  

The SoAiS committee, all volunteers who are working writers living and working in Scotland,  are the Scottish representatives of  The Society of Authors,   and I was delighted to be the  Chair of the SoAiS  for the last three years with an amazing group of dedicated committee members. We also had help from the London SoA office and the lovely Jenny Kumar, who kept us all in order and on our toes. 

The SoA is an organisation of over 10,000 writers  and a trade union fighting for the rights of writers and supporting them in their work since 1884.

This was our first Scottish full weekend conference and we wanted to make it something that all the SoA members and other writers, at all stages of their careers and working in a wide variety of fields, would find useful and relevant.We had delegates and speakers from all over the world.

Linda Strachan – Chair of the Society of Authors in Scotland

We looked at all aspects of a writer’s life; about what makes us writers, and how to survive in the current world of publishing, what options there are and opportunities for diversification and to learn new skills, but also what keeps us fit and well both physically and mentally.

It was no small task and took us about 2 years to bring our imaginative programme to fruition.  I think that since we were all amateur conference organisers, (we are writers by profession so this was not in our normal skill set), we kept on coming up with new ideas and possibilities to make it even more exciting, and there was no one telling us it was not possible or that we couldn’t do it.

There were speakers from a wide variety of genres sharing their writing expertise ( about writing Crime, Children’s Television, theatre and comic books and as well as sessions on the practical nuts and bolts and   business side of being a writer.  

Our very comprehensive programme also included a strand on health and wellbeing including sessions on mental health for writers, how to handle your legal affairs (Preparing for the Unexpected  and the Inevitable with one of our main sponsors Gillespie MacAndrew LLP running this session) and we also had Save a Life Scotland   offering us CPR training. 

Delegates also had time over the weekend to relax and have fun and time to chat to each other, to network but most of all we wanted people to feel welcomed.   In true Scottish style we had a Ceilidh on the Saturday night after the Gala dinner .  Our Conference bags were full of all sorts of interesting flyers and books and goodies.

It was a conference to remember and has been hailed as a huge success by those who attended some saying it was the best ever. 

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