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Asia Pacific Writers Conference, China.

​This year’s Asia Pacific Writers conference was held across Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macao at the end of November 2016.

Writers, translators, editors and agents from Australia, Asia and the Pacific meet annually to connect and share. On this night in Guangzhou after a full day of speakers, panels, workshops and discussions at the Sun Yat-Sen University, I read from my latest book ‘The 5-Minute Guide to Emotional Intelligence’ to a room full of colleagues and now friends.

Asia Pacific Writers Conference, Manila.

“APWT is the largest, longest running, functioning literary network I know of in South East Asia and the Pacific”

Says Philipino Jose Dalisay better known ‘Butch.’

What an absolute pleasure it was for me to join this gang of amazing writers, publishers and translators. This is my third year at this conference which is in a different country every year. 2015 was in Manila with the theme ‘Against The Grain.’

To summarise my time there, I:

– I was on a panel titled ‘True Stories Need to be True’ with Beth Yahp (Malaysian), Irena Cristalis (Dutch), Neil Garcia (Philipino) and moderated by Qaisra Shahraz (Pakistani).

– I attended Tim Tomlinson’s incredible workshop on learning how to write/say a pitch.

– I did a public reading of my story ‘Climbing the Walls’ published in Griffith Review: New Asia Now to a full room. I was also pleasantly surprised (actually straight out shocked and excited) to arrive at the reading and find my name and a photo on a large projector… naturally I took a photo of me… and me… having a moment 😉

Asia Pacific Writers Conference, Bangkok

The Asia Pacific Writers Conference ‘Reaching the World’ 2013 in  Bangkok was one of the first big writers conferences I have been to.

The CEO Jane Camens invited me to be on a panel as an ’emerging writer’ sitting next to published authors talking about writing ‘the truth’ in non-fiction which is something I am very passionate about. Needless to say I was super excited and slightly terrified when I arrived at this fancy building full of people (who were not in swimsuits and spinning hula hoops on the beach like I am used to).

So this was my lovely panel of female authors and we discussed ‘But it really happened’ to a room full of people. I think I even managed to sound intelligent and not swear. Go me!

Intelligent I might have sounded but my next big problem was the fancy and formal event at the famous Mandarin Oriental Hotel. What am I going to wear? I had borrowed a dress but needed some heels. Here is me trying some on in those enormous Bangkok shopping malls … block heels of course so I can still walk.

Next point of call were manicures and pedicures! Here is poet Elizabeth from Laos and I getting our nails done.

Now they are perfectly pretty to eat delicate chocolate.

Incredible local and traditional entertainment.

But the child that I am, I preferred to hang out with these elephants instead (who promote reading to children… and wierdo older Australian women….)

And then on the last night “a mesmerising evening of readings…”  Yep there is even a pic of me in the flyer … and then here I am actually doing my reading.

All in all an incredible event. Who knew it was to be the the first of many? I think Jane secretly did. Thanks Jane.

Oh but wait, there is more. The conference may be over but the workshops have just begun. Here was my favourite workshop with Fransesca Riddle-Short and our amazing group of women writers.

AND… then I went to Cambodia. Well I was in Bangkok already and Phnom Penh is oh so close I just had to go and visit my favourite people…. in the next blog.