Monday, February 17, 2014

Hi Sylvia,
I doubt if you remember me but I've been a member of your group almost since its inception. We've "chatted" a few times on the website. Anyway, I am chairman of the Windsor International Writers Conference that will be taking place in November, 13th-16th, 2014. The website for the conference is and the theme of the conference is"Writing Across Boundaries." We are going to explore the ethics and morals needed to write; how to incorporate different cultures and ethnic groups into stories; and look at who gets to write stories of different cultures and heritages. We will also have speakers showing us the skills of really good storytelling and how to relay points of view without becoming didactic. 

This is the primary mandate of the conference: The mandate of the Windsor International Writers Conference is based on one premise: that all peoples and nations must have the right to preserve their heritage, art, culture and books for future generations. If these things are destroyed and the history is forgotten, then that people will disappear.
Based on this premise, the WI-WC will make every endeavour in its conferences to always present information:
  1. to promote the craft of writing and advancing skills, not only in writing, but in accurately and properly researching a story.
  2. to use ethics and morals when writing.
  3. to take care to preserve the dignity of any culture, heritage, or group of people.
  4. and above all, to promote the art of being a really good story teller.
Based on that, I've asked Joseph Boyden and Michael Greyeyes to come and speak and I have also asked Chief Shawn Atleo. Michael is a professor at York and often discusses the depiction of First Nations in writing and how he feels the "Indian-ness" should be removed. I've also asked Carol Rehme to speak. She is a master oral storyteller for seniors and an award-winning author as well. Naomi Ragen is an Israeli writer who looks at the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish faith and their treatment of women and will be coming. So will Sheila Mulvaney Chevallier who translated the book "Second Sex," a book that caused the feminist movement in the 60's. Can you think of anyone else who would be able fit our mandate or that you would like to see here? 

We are also striving to have sixty to one hundred students from both the Windsor and Detroit areas that are interested in writing, to become involved in the conference. We believe students would do well by hearing our speakers. It is our hope that they will become inspired to stay dedicated to their education and continued writing. We truly believe that a lot of the professionals we have gathered will make a huge, positive impact on them. One of the thoughts I had) was that maybe some of the arts schools would sponsor some of their literary students and teachers to attend; or are there programs you know of that would sponsor writers. 
Just so you know, any monies earned at this conference will be going right back into the next year's conference. Also, some of it will go into an International Raindance Arts Centre in the heart of downtown Windsor, where founder Amanda Gellman has already established a film-making summer camp for kids. She started with 25 kids, half from impoverished areas. Without any advertising, she already has over one hundred kids registered for 2014.
We are also putting together master classes in music and other art forms. Mr. Alexander Mishnaevski, former principal violist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and one of the world's best violists, has started work on the music aspect.

During the conference we will be featuring some general information about different ethnic groups through various means, ie. food being served, various booths etc., and we would like to officially start the ceremonies by Welcoming the Drum, a First Nations tradition. I would like to bring in some African element as well, for example a choir or dance troupe. Would you happen to know of anything like that?

As you have been around for a few years now, I would love to have you participate in some capacity. Any help you can give us in bringing this conference to a successful fruition would be greatly appreciated, Maxine. I look forward to hearing from you.


Pam Goldstein
chairperson WIWC, 2014
Windsor, ON

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