Seen by many as the highlight of the Swanwick week, our after-dinner speakers are always eagerly anticipated. There is a different speaker each evening in the Main Conference Hall, followed by book sales and signings where appropriate. Previous years' speakers have included:
The right road (with a few wrong turns)
Our opening speaker for Swanwick 2018 is Sue Moorcroft. Sue is a Sunday Times and international bestselling author and has reached the coveted #1 spot on Amazon Kindle. A winner of the Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary, she has been nominated for several other awards, including a RoNA.
First published in 1996 with fiction for magazines, Sue pursued every paying opportunity – not just writing itself but also teaching creative writing, giving talks, judging competitions and appraising manuscripts. Looking back, where did she go right? And where did she go wrong? Sue shares experiences that might help you steer your own writing career.
The Harry Virdee novels
Our Sunday evening speaker is AA Dhand. He was raised in Bradford and spent his youth observing the city from behind the counter of a small convenience store. After qualifying as a pharmacist, he worked in London and travelled extensively before returning to Bradford to start his own business and begin writing.
The history, diversity and darkness of the city have inspired his Harry Virdee novels. In 2016, AA Dhand's debut novel was released to critical acclaim. Since its release it has been selected for World Book night 2017, chosen for Read Regional 2017 and in February 2017 Streets of Darkness smashed into the UK best seller lists. He is currently working with a UK broadcaster to develop a TV adaptation of the book.
He still works full time as a pharmacist and writes late at night into the early hours.
In conversation with....
From writing about crime and forensics, to writing about love and romance, to writing about writing itself, like a pantomime villain rising from the grave the Swanwick chat show is back.
Real-life white overalled Crime Scene Investigator and author Kate Bendelow, uncontested Queen of the land of short stories Della Galton, and eminent editor of Writing Magazine, Jonathan Telfer, join journalist and novelist Simon Hall for anecdotes, insights, and (almost) endless amusement.
Television drama – how it’s made and how writers make it
On Tuesday we welcome Simon Nelson who has been Development Producer with BBC Writersroom for three years. In this role he takes the lead in the development of new writers and writing for BBC Drama, BBC Comedy and BBC Children’s Drama, covering Television, Radio and Online content.
He works on the Writersroom Dramaroom and Comedyroom projects as well as taking the lead on Directorsroom and the annual BBC Television Writers Festival.
Before joining the Writersroom, Simon worked in regional repertory theatres across the UK, as well as with national theatre companies, as an actor, director and dramaturge. He went on to storyline and script edit many dramas for both the BBC and ITV before graduating from the BBC Drama Producers’ course. He has made several dramas and comedies for the Corporation; he is also the voice director of Dangermouse!
Simon is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, King’s College London and The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
The Pear Drum and other strange tales
Our Wednesday speaker is Sophie Snell, a professional oral storyteller, performing traditional tales for all ages in arts, historic and community venues across the UK. Sophie also writes.
In 2017 she won both the Bath Novel Award and the Friday Night Live award at the York Festival of Writing. Her debut novel, The Pear Drum, is a gothic psychological thriller inspired by a dark nursery tale.
Sophie is known for her warm, engaging and lively storytelling. She will tell us a couple of stories and maybe sing a folk song or two and there will be an opportunity to hear an excerpt from her book and ask about her journey from oral storytelling to writing.
"I got something from every talk and lecture I went to." Derek Corbett