World traveler

All of us at DGLM travel to writers’ conferences several times a year.  I’ve gone to places as exciting and diverse as Wichita and Richmond, Chicago and Scottsdale, but last weekend was the first time I had to fly across the ocean to chat up authors.  I spent three days in frigid Geneva, which is as lovely as it was cold, attending the Geneva Writers Conference.  Typically, I groused and whined for months about the trip prior to boarding my Swiss Int’l flight.  I mean, really, why couldn’t a writers’ conference in February be held in Hawaii, Bermuda, even South Florida?  And, of course, as my trip got closer I obsessively checked weather reports that told of the deadly cold spell that has Europe in its grip.  Did I mention there was a lot of whining?

So, how thrilled was I to find myself in a gorgeous setting—cold, yes, but picturesque and charming, with views of the Alps and an icy Lake Geneva—among truly fascinating people who were as engaged, smart, and serious a bunch of writers as I’ve ever encountered.  Individuals from all over the world gathered at Webster University to attend panels and workshops by the likes of Colin Harrison of Scribner, author Dinty Moore, British agent Hannah Westland, novelist Nick Barlay, guerilla publisher and author David Applefield, and many other brilliant authors and publishing insiders who came together to share their insights and expertise with kindness, generosity, and intelligence.

I had a great time, but I also came away with a refreshed perspective on our business and the creative process so many of us are engaged in daily.  Seeing how the life experiences and the cultural backgrounds of those present informed their writing, their questions, their goals was incredibly edifying.  I was struck again by the fact that dedication to craft and love of language and ideas is something we all share, regardless of our national boundaries or personal circumstances.  A clichéd observation?  Perhaps.  But I did come back to New York with a renewed love and respect for the business I’m in and for the writers I work with as well as a determination to keep my own intellectual borders open.

My only complaint?  Not enough strong coffee!  But that’s a small price to pay for an experience that I’ll treasure.

6 Responses to World traveler

  1. Aimee Stwart says:

    For a strong coffee, Italy and Portugal are better options. But I know a lot of Swiss and French people, all of them very intelligent and creative. Just a question, though – is Geneva colder than NY? I’d never say that!

  2. Katie Hayoz says:

    You and all the staff were wonderful! It was a great weekend. The problem with the coffee was that it was made by American ex-pats. Next time you come I’ll take you out for an espresso!

  3. Ha, and I’m sitting here thinking I’d love an excuse (and the vacation time/money) to go to Geneva. Of course, I live in southern California, where “cold” is sixty degrees, so in all likelihood I’d be too busy panicking, wondering whether my heaviest jacket would be enough or I need to buy new clothes, to whine.

  4. Ryan Field says:

    It’s actually a wonderful time of year to be there.

    I’m always wondering about how people are receiving digital books around the globe. A large majority of hits I get are from Europe and Eastern Europe, which fascinates me, partly because I can’t get a handle on why.

    • Katie Hayoz says:

      Hi Ryan Field: I can tell you why I buy e-books (I’m in Switzerland). Here there are only a few small English bookstores. I often buy books from them — and plan to continue doing so — but they usually need to special order…sometimes it takes a week or two. E-books take only a minute to end up on my Kindle.

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