The Power of a Writers’ Conference – Scottish Association of Writers Annual Conference 2023 in Cumbernauld near Glasgow

I’m just back from an amazing Writing Conference in the Hilton Hotel, Spa and Golf Course near Glasgow – and what a packed, exciting weekend it was!

Hilton Hotel, Spa, and Golf Course Cumbernauld near Glasgow.

I was invited to the conference by the Scottish Association of Writers, to judge the Nonfiction Writing Competition and to give a workshop on Writing Literary Nonfiction.

Literary Nonfiction Workshop led by SC Skillman at the Scottish Association of Writers Conference 2023

So many regions of Scotland were represented, as shown by the number of writers’ groups there; and English and US delegates were also in attendance. The conference offered opportunities for writers in many different kinds of genres to enter competitions. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with and comparing notes with fellow adjudicators after all the presentations had been made and the critiques given to the entrants.

The winners’ trophies for the competitions at the Scottish Association of Writers Conference 2023
Writers Groups from Perthshire, Angus, Ayr, and Bearsden – just a few of the writing groups to be found in different Scottish regions

The hospitality of the hotel was exceptional; the food, service, and facilities were fantastic, and the wine flowed freely, especially at the wonderful Gala Dinner on Saturday night.

Writers’ Gala Dinner in the Carrick Suite on Saturday night 18 March 2023 at the Hilton Hotel, Cumbernauld near Glasgow

At the Gala Dinner, we heard a moving and inspirational Keynote Speech by historical murder mystery author Fiona Veitch Smith. She spoke about the vital role of writers in our society, and how we are in fact Key Workers. She urged us to hold onto our dreams and to never give up believing in ourselves and the high value of what we do. And she quoted from an unusual combination of sources including Stephen King’s ‘Misery’; and the poem ‘He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven’ by W.B Yeats.

Keynote Speaker & Historical Murder Mystery author Fiona Veitch Smith, who judged the general novel competition. With her is Stella Oni, who judged the crime novel competition

For the rest of the conference, I learned so much and discovered new opportunities everywhere. I pitched my latest novel to a US literary agent; pitched a scenario for a film or a TV drama mini series to a US film producer; created a plan for a Cosy Mystery; learned new tips for nonfiction research; discovered a brilliant poet whose areas of interest feed into my own latest ideas for a nonfiction book. The poet, A.C. Clarke, had judged the poetry competition and gave a poetry workshop.

‘A Troubling Woman’ by A.C. Clarke, a poetry collection in which the poet invites us into the loves and losses of the complex medieval mystic, Margaret Kempe.
‘Wedding Grief’ by A.C. Clarke, a collection of poems in which the poet charts the course of the passionate and troubled relationship between surrealist poet Paul Eluard and his first love Elena ( later to become famous as Gala, the wife of Salvador Dali)
Selection of books by writers at the Scottish Association of Writers Conference 2023

It has been a fertile, creative, and exciting time full of new and renewed relationships. The danger of weekends like this is always the ‘aftermath let-down’ as we return to normal life. I know many of us will be feeling like that over the next few days. Yet we will move beyond that and start nurturing the seedlings that will grow from all we have learned and discovered, which will in the future come to rich fruition.

Scottish Mist at the Hilton Hotel Spa and Golf Course, Cumbernauld, near Glasgow..

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Published by SC Skillman

I'm a writer of psychological, paranormal and mystery fiction and non-fiction. My latest book, 'Paranormal Warwickshire', was published by Amberley Publishing in November 2020. Find all my published books here:

6 thoughts on “The Power of a Writers’ Conference – Scottish Association of Writers Annual Conference 2023 in Cumbernauld near Glasgow

  1. What an honour, Sheila! Did you meet my friend, Lizzie Lamb, who writes self-published romances based in Scotland? She is with the Romantic Novelists Association and has won several awards for her work.

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