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3 keynote speakers for Surrey International Writers’ Conference, online for 2nd year

Last October, the online-only SiWC saw more people registered than in previous years
Author/performer Ivan Coyote is one of three keynote speakers, along with Liz Hara and Karen Lord, during the 2021 Surrey International Writers’ Conference, an online-only event for a second year in a row, due to the pandemic. (File photo)

Writers Liz Hara, Ivan Coyote and Karen Lord have been announced as keynote speakers for Surrey International Writers’ Conference.

From Oct. 22-25, the 29th annual event moves online for a second year in a row, due to the pandemic.

Registration closes Oct. 15 for the re-branded “SiWC at Home” gathering, on, with master classes Oct. 20-21 and pre-conference “Writing Excuses Virtual Retreat” planned Oct. 18-19.

“Space is still available for our virtual SiWC at Home and for all our master classes,” conference co-ordinator Kathy Chung wrote in an emailed newsletter. “We’re once again offering a sliding scale option at registration for the full conference package in hopes Covid-life finances won’t keep anyone from attending.”

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Twitter bios describe Hara as “TV writer, puppet builder, and puppeteer with an encyclopedic knowledge of candy and a deep love of body-switch movies,” Coyote as “Writer. Storyteller. Yukoner. Author of CARE OF, REBENT SINNER, TOMBOY SURVIVAL GUIDE and 10 other books. Lake swimmer. Flower grower. Kindling chopper,” and Lord as “Author of REDEMPTION IN INDIGO, THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS, THE GALAXY GAME, and UNRAVELING. Home: Barbados, West Indies.”

• RELATED STORY, from 2019: ‘Chest Air’ show in Surrey for storyteller/author Ivan Coyote, prior to city’s Pride festival.

Last October, the online-only SiWC powered up with more people signed up than in previous years. That 28th annual event, re-imagined as “SiWC at Home,” was announced in April 2020, a few weeks after COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic.

Annually, the conference fills the Sheraton hotel with close to 700 delegates – but not in 2021 nor 2020, when the online edition united writers from 17 countries. “With attendees, volunteers, staff, and presenters, we’re close to 750 (registrants),” Chung noted last October. “It’s bigger than the regular conference, which is no doubt in part due to the fact that we consistently sell out the available space in the hotel very quickly. We had a bit more flexibility with virtual space and so were able to accommodate more people.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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