ACW's 50th Anniversary weekend at Swanwick by Sheila Johnson

Is there anymore that might be said on the subject of the ACW's 50th Anniversary weekend, you might say, with blog posts already from Jane Walters, Ruth Leigh and Nikki Salt. Well, I'm going to add in my take on the weekend which I hope won't cross over with anyone else's.

The WOWIG weekend wasn't the first residential writing weekend I'd been to. A few years ago I went to a very inspiring and spiritually uplifting weekend in Yorkshire led by the lovely Katherine Blessan and both she and the lovely Clara, who was also there, were at the ACW weekend. But I had also attended a couple of the Romantic Novelists weekends too, which although a bit bigger than the ACW one, didn't have the same spiritual element, which to be honest, made a huge difference on this weekend compared to the RNA ones. I did make a good contact and friend at one of the RNA conferences and always came away with armfuls of free books but the last time I'd had to drive to Telford, a long and stressful drive for me and this time I had a much more relaxing time on the train - at least on the journey there. What a God moment too, finding the train from Nottingham to Alfreton at the last minute and walking straight into the carriage where Alison Symes and Carol Purves were sitting!
Adrian Plass giving the talk on Sunday morning

The lovely ACW band

But what else was different? Amazing stand-up comedians in both Paul Kerensa - Silent Night sung to the tune of Postman Pat (don't think I'll ever forget that!) - and Adrian and Bridget Plass. What a treat. The Romantic Novelists needed to be plied with wine to laugh as much as we did. Then there was the moving story of Jonathan Bryan, a seriously disabled writer who was educated by his family and has now written a book. Most abled bodied people would struggle to do that! I don't remember anything of that calibre at the RNA weekends. And the worship... I can't not mention our lovely band as shown in the picture above, only assembled during the weekend by the lovely Jane Walters, how great to worship together as Christians involved in the same occupation - words.

We could also choose from the various workshops on offer. Many thanks to Sophie Neville for helping me to achieve some great images of my books, and I was completely rapt by the storytelling abilities of Amy Robinson, told with such wonderful expression. Anne Booth also kept everyone absorbed in her tales of research into the Nazis. I certainly learnt a lot.

I could say so much more but I will end by thanking the committee for all their hard work, in particular our Chair, Fiona Lloyd, Events organiser, Jane Brocklehurst and our technical expert, Dan Cooke. I'm sure many of the others also had a great deal of input too, so thank you everyone.

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