Japan has not only produced generations of celebrated poets and novelists—it continues to lure writers from around the world to write about the country while developing their skills. One event that has drawn many of them over the years is the Japan Writers Conference (JWC), which is marking its 17th anniversary.
Launched in 2007 by Jane Joritz-Nakagawa, Colleen Shiels, Diane Nagatomo, and Naomi Hiraishi, the JWC aims to bring together English-speaking writers in Japan. The event, which is free of charge, is run entirely by volunteers and takes place in a different city each year.
During this year’s conference, leading writers will gather at Sugiyama Jogakuen University in Nagoya on October 14 and 15. It will be a space for writers, publishers, translators, and academics to share knowledge and discuss ideas.
The event features a variety of 50-minute presentations and workshops by notable English-speaking writers specializing in poetry, fiction, non-fiction, film, publishing, and marketing. Along with presentations and workshops, published writers are provided with the opportunity to display their work.
For example, this year’s poetry workshops will be led by celebrated poets David Gilbey and Christopher Simons. And to celebrate its 10th anniversary of publishing English-language poetry in Japan, Isobar Press will be giving a special presentation with readings by a diverse array of published poets.
Over the weekend, attendees will hear from people working in diverse corners of the writing world, who will share their perspectives and conduct workshops. One of them is Georgina Pope, producer of the Netflix film Earthquake Bird, who is making her JWC debut with a lecture about adapting novels to the big screen. There will also be a number of notable returning presenters, including award-winning fiction author Charles Kowalski, who is lecturing on fictional worldbuilding, and Karen Hill Anton, an award-winning memoirist who recently published her first novel, who will discuss characters.
Other prolific authors are set to give lessons on different writing techniques for those hoping to develop their writing skills. Author Suzanne Kamata will delve into the art of blurbing, and Paige Baldwin Ando will provide insight on overcoming writer's block. There will also be talks on subjects that include artificial intelligence in writing and independent publishing. Check out the event program here for a complete list of the presenters at this year’s conference.
Transportation or lodging is not provided by the JWC, so keep that in mind when planning a visit. And while registration is not required, it is recommended. Register online to receive the latest updates.
The JWC is an invaluable opportunity for both aspiring and accomplished writers to learn and share their love for writing.
To register or learn more about the conference, visit the official website.
Dates: October 14-15
Venue: Sugiyama Jogakuen University, Nagoya