Feb 10

Presenters wanted for 2016 Japan Writers Conference


Posted by Tom Baker (Chiba, 1989-91), a writer and editor in Tokyo and a regular Japan Writers Conference participant.

The Japan Writers Conference is a free annual event for English-langauge writers in a variety of fields. It is held each autumn in a different part of Japan. The event attracts a fair number of JETs and JET alumni, and this year’s event, at Tokushima University on October 29-30, will be hosted by a former JET, the author and anthologist Suzanne Kamata (Tokushima, 1988-90).

The organizers are looking for writers, translators, editors, agents and publishers to give presentations at this year’s event. For those interested in presenting or simply attending, the remainder of this post contains practical information taken verbatim from an official announcment:

About the site, Suzanne writes, “Although off the beaten path, Tokushima University is reasonably accessible. It’s about an hour and a half by bus from Kobe (all buses on the way to Tokushima station make a stop in front of the university), and a short bus ride from the Awa Odori Airport. Tokushima, a city with a rich literary heritage, is settled on the banks of the Yoshino River. We’ve got nature and culture (both traditional, such as Japan’s largest Bon festival, Awa Odori, indigo dyeing, bunraku puppetry and pottery-making, and modern, as in J-pop, anime and manga).

“The conference will be held in Tokushima University’s brand new Glocal Building.”

She also says there are plenty of hotels nearby in the station area.

So mark your diaries, calendars, smartphones or whatever it is you use to keep track of things, and plan to join us. As the event shapes up, we will keep you posted.

This is also our first call for presentation proposals. All published writers, translators, editors, agents and publishers who would like to lead a session are invited to submit proposals. We especially encourage proposals from new submitters. One of the strengths of the Conference has been variety, and the best way to foster variety is to have new presenters each year.

Those who have presented at past conferences are (of course) welcome to submit new proposals. But please, in the words of Ezra Pound, “Make it new.”

Please forward this to any friend or colleague who might be interested. If you know someone the conference organizers might approach–either living in Japan or planning to visit Japan next autumn–send us your suggestion. If you have contact information, that would be a great help.

Detailed information follows, but briefly, a proposal needs to include a brief bio, including some publication credits, the type of presentation you wish to make, a title, a summary of 50 words, a longer abstract (150 words) and any special requests you might have. Standard sessions are fifty minutes long, but if you have something special in mind, please let us know and we will accommodate if possible.

Presentations on all genres and all aspects of writing and publishing are welcome. The deadline for presentation proposals is Wednesday, June 1, 2016.

As in the past, the Conference will be free and open to all who wish to attend. This is possible because all the presenters and organizing staff volunteer their time and talent, and the use of the site is donated by the host. As a result, the Conference cannot offer any payment, reimbursement, lodging, or help in securing visas or travel permits. So please don’t ask.

Proposal Guidelines

When planning your JWC proposal, keep your audience in mind. Your listeners will be writers and others (translators, editors, publishers, and agents) concerned with creating publishable writing. While teaching, literary studies and private self-expression are certainly worthy activities, they are not the focus of this Conference. Ask yourself as a writer or other word professional these questions:

What information do I have which could be useful to others?
What writing, rewriting, editing, or marketing techniques have worked for me or others I know?
What topic would make for a lively and enlightening discussion?
What publishing or other professional opportunities do I know about?
What will an attendee take away from my fifty-minute session that he or she will find worthwhile?

You may submit more than one proposal.

The only qualification one needs to be a presenter is to have published. This does not mean that you need to have published a lot or in some high-profile journal. Your book (if you have a book) does not have to be on a best seller list. You do not have to have won any awards or to have appeared on TV. You simply need to have written, edited, translated, or otherwise worked on a piece of writing which has made it to the public eye. That is, published.

Proposal Deadline and Format

Using the following format, please send your ideas for a presentation by June 1, 2015. Send your proposal in the body of an email (no attachments) to both these addresses:


In your subject line give your name, “JWC,” and the date.

In the body of the email, give:

1. Your name (or names)
2. Contact information (email, telephone. These remain confidential.)
3. Your publications (Need not be complete, but give names of journals and genre for short pieces; title, publisher and date for books; venues and dates for plays, and so on)
4. Title of presentation. (20 words or less)
5. Type of presentation (short lecture with Q&A, craft workshop, panel discussion, reading with Q&A, etc.)
6. Short summary of the presentation (50 words or less)
7. Abstract of the presentation (150 words or less)
8. Personal and professional biography (50 words or less. Make mention of your publications, as this will be part of the Conference program)
9. Anything else, such as special equipment needs or questions.

Your proposal doesn’t have to be a “finished” document to submit. There will be time to shape and polish your ideas for a presentation. But there is a set number of session slots available and if you are interested in having one of them, please let us know soon. Again, the deadline is June 1, 2016.

John Gribble
Bern Mulvey
Co Co-ordinators,
2016 Japan Writers Conference

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