St. Davids Christian Writers Association hosted their 54th annual conference June 21-25, 2011 at Grove City College. Writers attended from as far away as Atlanta, Georgia. St. Davids has a reputation of being a nurturing conference where writers can be loved and encouraged as they learn to improve their craft. Countless conferees commented on the caring, pleasant atmosphere.
Each day started with chapel at 7:30. The four presenters were:
Donald Hasselman who spoke on words that changed him. “There is no half-way to God, God calls us before we’re ready, and God did not call us to be average.”
Carol Hamilton presented Bold Flesh: Finding Jesus in Israel. Her trip to the Holy Land emphasized the bold authority of Jesus. Christians can be bold in His strength.
Melanie Rigney reminded writers to be obedient to God as they write in “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.” She quoted her friend and writing critique partner, Virelle Kidder who said, “I may not be successful, but I will be obedient to God.” Rigney said, “We are wonderfully made to do what we must in Him.” Her key scripture was Psalm 139.
Roberta Brosius charged writers to work hard now rather than waiting for someday to arrive. She carried on a St. Davids tradition by distributing note cards and envelopes for members to write their personal goals. Brosius will mail the written goals sometime in the next year as a reminder.
Director Lora Zill, know for her hearty, tear-spilling laughter, organized a wide variety of classes.
Wednesday through Friday eight continuing morning workshops took place in the Hall of Arts and Letters.
The afternoons featured breakout classes and special events like Open Mic where conferees had the opportunity to read a selection of their work to the audience.
For details about the continuing morning workshops and the afternoon breakouts see www.stdavidswriters.com
On Wednesday night the faculty read selections of their own work interspersed with musical performances by four conferees.
Thursday night the Great St. Davids Auction, emceed by Les Wagner, carried on tradition by being an evening of riotous laughter and camaraderie. Auctioneer Harry Bohrs and his assistant, Tanya entertained while driving up the bids. Harry later added with mirth, “I counted at least three times that someone bid against themselves.” The items auctioned were donated by conferees and the proceeds went to the St. Davids Scholarship Fund.
On Friday Agent Diana Flegal of the Hartline Literary Agency taught two classes, Proposal Writing and Agents. She met with individual writers throughout the day and made encouraging suggestions to many.
At the Friday night banquet held in Mary Anderson Pew Dining Hall awards were presented:
Alma K. Weber Award for the most promising first-time conferee: Jessica Johnston who blogs at http://memoirsofawhitetrashmom.blogspot.com/
Shirley Eaby Award for a helpful, caring spirit: Catherine Young
Fritz Kemper Award for perseverance in the writing craft: Susan Lower, St. Davids treasurer. Susan won first place for her touching personal experience story about her daughter.
The Lois Henderson Award for a body of work that exemplifies Christ: Anne Murphy. Ann also won or placed in several of the contests, including first place for her charming children’s story.
Jean Stewart honored board member Harry Bohrs for fifty years of continued attendance and service. Harry has lovingly offered advice and kept the conference on track in its goals of training writers and glorifying Christ. He also has a refreshing sense of humor. Harry’s wife Pat also attended the conference.
The emotional and entertaining evening ended with Susan Swan singing “The Word” written by master of ceremonies, Les Wagner.
President Jean Stewart received a standing ovation at the association meeting. She has served for the past three years as president. Linda Au is the new president.
The theme for June 2012’s conference is “Writers Under Construction.”
If you attended the conference your comments are welcome. We would love to hear about your experience.