Greenock Writers’ Club went in force this year to the 49th Annual SAW Conference (Scottish Association of Writers). The event ran from Friday afternoon until Sunday at 3:00 pm.

The conference was well organised with a full programme of events and workshops. There were workshops to suit writers of children’s’ books, young adult and adult fiction, and non-fiction.

There was ample opportunity to network with fellow writers and make new contacts with like-minded people.

The guest of honour this year was crime novelist Simon Brett. He gave a workshop on how to build a story. He helped the audience layout a plot and created seven believable characters in less than an hour.

We had ten members attend the conference which was far more than in previous years. Altogether there were approximately two hundred attendees. This raised the number of submissions to each competition, making it more difficult to win.

Congratulations to our members who achieved the following results:

  • Anne Pettigrew 2nd place (General Novel)
  • Helen Heffernan 2nd place (Under 7s Short Story)
  • Lesley Holligan Commended (Book Review)
  • Isobel Watt Commended (Flash Fiction), Highly Commended (Book Review)

Isobel Watt, our club secretary, entered her novel into the toughest competition of them all – The Dragons’ Pen.

Based on Dragons’ Den, each candidate pitched their story live to three publishers. Altogether, eight members entered; Isobel was seventh to pitch. Isobel’s entry was a historical story of the Roman poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus, aka Horace.

Unlike some of the other entrants, her pitch was clear, concise and communicated clearly to the panel. Unfortunately, this time she didn’t win, but she learnt a lot. As a club, we would like to see further entries next year.

The structure of the conference allows for leisure time. Out of class we could walk around the golf course, swim in the pool or relax in the spa. For those who wanted to relax without the faffing, there were plenty of seated areas in the bars.

Our President Marc Sherland stepped down this year after five years trying to improve the Association. He received rapturous applause, even after all his gavel banging.