This conference, held in a very comfortable hotel in Cheltenham, excelled itself last weekend. Possibly this is a reflection of the fact that NAWE itself is going from strength to strength. As usual much of the joy and the usefulness came from the opportunity offered between sessions and over meals to network.
NAWE is doing well. That is very clear. The new web site is splendid. Literature training has been renamed Writer’s Compass. What is provided is just as good as ever. Professional and institutional members get £10,000,000 of public liability insurance and can download the certificate from the site. NAWE will do a CRB check for those writers who need to work in schools or with vulnerable adults. And you can join the Professional Register to advertise what you offer. The new HE committee was formed at the conference. One of the highlights was hearing reading from the Young Writers’ hub. Another good initiative.
All of the sessions I attended were good and my own workshop, about using foreign language work to enhance our creativity, was well received, it seems. There was a mixture of workshops, information about conducting school visits, and discussions about current concerns. Naturally, “cut-backs” featured highly in the latter. But when don’t we always have concerns about funding? There was a real choice of sessions, and often I found myself wanting to go to two or even three at once, including at the time when my own session ran. The most important one for me, I think, was a discussion of the failings of the traditional writers’ workshop and how we might improve it. Some good ideas were discussed but we must be careful about anything that will increase our marking load.
We were also provided with two excellent after-dinner speaker. And oh, I ended up buying yet more books. The speakers and the bookstall full of members’ books were just too irresistible this year.