10 October 2010 ~ 10 Comments

Japan Writers Conference

Made my way over to Ekoda, Tokyo this morning for the Japan Writers Conference

And I’m so glad I went!

It’s a free two-day event, that started today and will be ending tomorrow. It’s held annually and is now in its fourth year.

Many people with an interest in writing, editing, publishing, translating, and other forms of word-smithing were there today. I don’t know the numbers but it was nice turnout.

It was held in Tokyo this year at the Ekoda Campus of Nihon University College of Art.

Presenters and participants came from all over Japan, North America, and Australia. Although English is the main language, it’s billed as an international event.

I met a number of other writers in Japan, and it was great to speak with people who’ve been where I am and have moved on to the next stage. It was great to find them so open to questions and generous with their time and knowledge.

I also saw a couple of familiar faces, readers of Loco in Yokohama, and some of the writers of blogs, stories and articles I’ve enjoyed reading myself. (I think I even peeked Michael John Grist, but I could have been mistaken…if that was you sitting behind me MJG, it was nice almost meeting you.)

I ran into a Loco reader, a Twitter buddy, and a very savvy fellow ex-pat: Terri MacMillan of  http://www.japanpodcast.net/ who rushed me upon recognition with so much energy and enthusiasm I almost had a heart attack! lol

Thanks for the love Terri!

Also ran into one of the more renowned and imposing writer/activist/bloggers on the Japan scene, Arudou Debito of(http://www.debito.org/)

I think I was kind of intimidated by him…that would explain why my brain stopped working during our brief chat. He’s such a prolific writer he makes me feel like a slacker! I must admit, he was one of the main draws for me to this event. He gave a presentation on Book Publishing in Japan, providing attendees with some of his horror and success stories as a Publishing Insider. Learned quite a bit in that session.

Thanks Debito. You, sir, Rock!

Suzanne Kamata, a pretty established writer of some notoriety living here in Japan, and whose work I have yet to read but I will be all over it right soon, gave a session Marketing for beginners. Truly informative. Lots of ideas, great and small, that I am looking forward to putting to good use. You can check out her books here:  http://www.suzannekamata.com/ 

She’ll also be giving a presentation on Kick-starting your Creativity which I’m planning to attend, cuz from what I’ve seen today she’s a creative voice to be reckoned with.

Thanks Suzanne!

I must admit though my favorite presenter of the day was a writer by the name of Lauren M. Shannon. She did a session on how to “Make Characters that are Alive, Interesting and Unique”. It was a Hands-on Character Creation Workshop and she definitely set my creative mind a-buzzing with all kinds of ideas and possibilities.

Here’s a nice write-up Metropolis did on Lauren last year: http://metropolis.co.jp/dining/taste-maker/lauren-shannon/

(Oh, and did I mention her chicken isssss slammmin!!?? – she made some pricey bento lunch boxes for the event, but worth every yen!)

She’s also the organizer of the Tokyo Writers’ Salon and I’m seriously thinking about joining!

Thanks Lauren…for the wonderful session and bento!

Tomorrow’s presenters and subjects also look pretty good. You can take a look at the program here: http://www.japanwritersconference.org/program.htm

Some other shots from the conference:

Hillel Wright, “Free-lance Writing for Periodicals

Tom Baker, “Interviewing Creative Subjects: Actors, Authors, Artists and Auteurs”

Niall Murtagh, “Selling a Japan-Based Non-fiction Book Proposal to a Mainstream

That is all…


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