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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Arts Opportunities in Japan

I know I promised a post on my online poetry workshop experience, and I will write that up soon. But first I wanted to make sure everyone knows about the following arts opportunities in Japan.

1) The Japanese Garden Intensive Seminar Plus in Kyoto. This is a 2-week seminar beginning October 29, 2014, conducted by the Research Center for Japanese Garden Art & Historical Heritage. Entitled the 16th annual English language intensive course in the history, design theory, landscape ecology, and practice of the Japanese Garden, this course in the past has hosted 380 participants from all over the world. This year there is room for 20 participants who have an interest in Japanese gardens. An interesting and unique opportunity.

2) The call for paper proposals for the 2014 Japan Writers Conference is here. I've cut and pasted from an email I received.

The 2014 Japan Writers Conference will be on October 25 & 26 at Iwate National University (“Gandai”) in the city of Morioka, Iwate prefecture. Conference co-coordinator Bern Mulvey will be this year’s host.

But before looking forward, we need to look back on the 2013 Conference to thank Okinawa Christian University and all our wonderful presenters, attendees, and student helpers. There needs to be a special salute to Hillel Wright, who hosted the event. Hillel has been a major figure in the Japan expat writing community for many years as a novelist, anthologist, and events organizer. He is retiring from teaching, leaving Japan and will be sorely missed. He plans to divide his time between the west coast of Canada and Hawaii. He will also revive MiNUS TiDES! Magazine as MiNUS TiDES International. He seeks submissions of all sorts—good writing, art and images—for the first issue. Contact him before June 1 at Hillel Wright, 8641 McFarlane Road, Denman Island, BC, VOR 1T0 (Canada) or

Another journal which wants to see your work is The Font. It is a literary journal concerned with aspects of learning and teaching language. Editor James Crocker and his crew gave a fun presentation in at the 2013 Conference. You can learn more at

But now, look north. Morioka is a wonderful place, an attractive city with lots of good regional food and a long tradition of interesting crafts. The university itself is not far from the station and public transportation is good. This is another place where staying an extra day has its rewards. 

And we’re putting out the call for presentation proposals. All published writers, translators, editors, agents and publishers who would like to lead a session are invited to submit proposals. Those who have presented at past conferences are (of course) welcome to submit new proposals. But 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.  

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--please 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 June 1, 2014.

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 hosting institution. 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 proposal, keep your audience in mind. Your listeners will be writers and others (translators, editors, publishers, and agents) concerned with creating the published written word. 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 you have which could be useful to others? 
What writing, rewriting, editing, or marketing techniques have worked for you? 
What topic would make for a lively and enlightening discussion? 
What publishing or other professional opportunities do you know about? 
What will an attendee take away from your 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, 2014. 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 are 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, 2014.

John Gribble 
Bern Mulvey
Co Co-ordinators,
2014 Japan Writers Conference 

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