Tuesday, 31 October 2017

2017 Omega Writers Conference Highlights #omega17 | Narelle Atkins

Left to Right: Elaine Fraser, Andrea Grigg, Iola Goulton, Margie Lawson, Jeanette O'Hagan, Narelle Atkins, Nola Passmore.

By Narelle Atkins


Wow. The 2017 Omega Writers Conference in Sydney last weekend was fabulous. Awesome. Brilliant. Inspiring. Around one hundred writers enjoyed the relaxed rural conference setting on the outskirts of Sydney. I feel blessed to belong to Omega Writers and the wider Christian writing community that encourages and supports writers in our part of the world.

Many thanks to Raewyn Elsegood and her conference team who worked hard behind the scenes. Jenny Glazebrook's new initiative to place attendees in host groups provided another avenue to build relationships and ensure first time conference attendees were welcomed into the Omega writing community.

The amazing Margie Lawson was our keynote speaker. We love Margie and love her teaching gift. Thank you Margie for blessing us by attending our conference. 

Margie is pictured above with the six Margie Immersion Grads who were at conference. Elaine Fraser is a 3-time Immersion Grad: Melbourne in August 2015, Sydney in August 2016 and a solo Immersion with Margie in Colorado in May 2017. Andrea Grigg and Iola Goulton attended an August 2015 Melbourne Immersion with Elaine (hosted by 4-time Immersion Grad Dorothy Adamek). Jeanette O'Hagan and Nola Passmore attended a Brisbane Immersion in August 2016. I attended a Canberra Immersion in March 2017.


Margie included quotes in her teaching points from Elaine Fraser's book Amazing Grace and Andrea Grigg's book All is Bright. It was exciting to see their excellent writing featured on the big screen.



Multi-published author Alex Marestaing from Southern California was our keynote speaker at the CALEB Awards. Yes, we really did have an international author who has worked with Disney attend our Aussie conference and teach our Young Adult and Middle Grade writers!


I had the pleasure of introducing the delightful Patricia Weerakoon and her much anticipated workshop 'Sex without Sleaze'. An informative and challenging workshop for fiction writers on how to write about sexuality and related issues in both the Christian market and general market from a Christian perspective. 


Multi-published regency romance author Carolyn Miller presented a fun and engaging workshop for fiction writers. We celebrated with Carolyn as her third book, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, was released in the USA during the week prior to conference.  


Omega Writers President Meredith Resce and Margie Lawson presented the certificates to the CALEB Award finalists. We live streamed the CALEB Awards via my Facebook Profile to Australasian Christian Writers and Christian Writers Downunder Facebook Groups. The video footage is in two parts and can be viewed at the links below.


Facebook Live Part 2 video includes Alex Marestaing's inspiring keynote address.



Facebook Live Part 2 video also includes Rachel Sweasey and Rochelle Manners from Rhiza Press and author Catriona McKeown (2016 CALEB Unpublished winner) discussing the upcoming release of YA novel The Boy in the Hoodie.


CALEB Awards co-ordinator Judy Rogers presented the CALEB Prize to the overall winner, Cecily Paterson.



2017 CALEB ~ Published Fiction

Winner: 
Charlie Frank is A-OK - Cecily Anne Paterson (CALEB Prize Winner)
Finalists: 
Daystar: The Days are Numbered - Anne Hamilton 
Forgiving Sky - Jenny Glazebrook 
Amazing Grace - Elaine Fraser

2017 CALEB ~ Children’s Picture Books 

Winner: 
Small and Big - Karen Collum illustrated by Ben Wood (CALEB Prize Runner Up)
Finalists: 
The Mighty, Mighty King Christmas Book - Penny Morrison illustrated by Lisa Flanagan 
My Imagination - written and illustrated by Ellen Wildig

2017 CALEB ~ Published Non-Fiction 

Winner: 
Burn My Letters: Tyranny to Refuge - Ruth Bonetti
Finalists: 
Heaven Tempers the Wind - Hazel Barker 
Becoming Me - Jo-Anne Berthelsen

2017 CALEB ~ Unpublished Manuscript 

Winner: 
Siren’s Fight - Kristen Young 
Finalists:
In the Middle of the Whirlwind - Hannah Currie 
The Gryphon Key - Elizabeth Klein 
Holy War - Anthony Peterson


Karen Collum & Cecily Paterson
Many thanks to Margaret Holahan who took hundreds of photos for Omega Writers during the weekend and allowed me to access the Dropbox and share photos in my post. The photos that are date stamped are from the Omega photo collection. Enjoy browsing the conference photos and plan to attend the 2018 Conference in Adelaide. 

Raewyn Elsegood & Margie Lawson
Jo-Anne Berthelsen

Rowena Beresford
Rose Dee at the Registration Desk

Katrina Roe
James Cooper
Penny Morrison

20 comments:

  1. Such a good summary of our conference experience, Narelle--thank you. And thanks too to Margaret Holahan for all those great photos! So glad Alex Marestaing's input was recorded too--I plan to listen to it again.

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    1. Hi Jo-Anne, You're very welcome :) Yes, I'm also planning to listen in again to Alex's keynote address.

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  2. Wonderful summary, Narelle. And great that Margaret was able to catch so much on camera.

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    1. Hi Ian, Margaret 'saved' this blog post from being boring :) I didn't have time to take photos at conference - which is very unusual for me!

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  3. Excellent to see this! Thanks for the comprehensive summary Narelle, and thanks Margaret for the photos, and all the behind the scenes things you did, you legend!

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    1. Hi Carolyn, Yes, Raewyn and her team who worked behind the scenes did an amazing job. :)

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  4. A fantastic round up Narelle. I look at all these lovely faces and touching moments and feel truly grateful I was able to attend Omega Conference again. Can’t wait for Adelaide. Thank you one and all for a brilliant experience. Xxx jay

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    1. Hi Jay, I'm glad we have so many photos and it was hard to select only a small number from the collection for my blog post. :)

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  5. Thanks for that round-up, Narelle. It was certainly a brilliant conference. So many great speakers on offer, it's a shame we couldn't go to them all. And thanks for mentioning that Alex's talk is on the Facebook stream. I didn't realise that. Very inspiring. And of course it was wonderful to see Margie again and be reminded of all those great tips I should be using - LOL

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    1. Hi Nola, The program was fantastic and I'm glad the conference committee decided to create the different streams for fiction, non-fiction and YA/Children. :)

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  6. It was a FABULOUS conference! (I'm still recovering, haha) Great overview, Narelle :)

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    1. Hi Andrea, I'm still recovering too, lol. All the late night conversations are too much fun to miss! :)

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  7. Well done, Narelle. You’ve written a comprehensive account of the highlights of the conference. In between those highlights were many memorable moments filled with faith, fun and friendship.

    Thanks for sharing Margaret’s fabulous photos as well.

    Hope to see you there next year! Xxx😀

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    1. Hi Elaine, We'll have great memories from this conference, for sure. I hope we will have an opportunity to catch up again in person next year :)

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  8. Thanks for the succinct overview, Narelle. Great to see the photos and have the reminders of all the input and fun we enjoyed.

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    1. Hi Meredith, You're very welcome. Thank you for all the work you put into the conference as Omega President. :)

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  9. I only managed one day, but what a day! Margie, Patricia and Carolyn each gave me something to mull over for a long time to come. And as soon as i got home I began working on my new novel from What I'd learned. Great to see you all again and do some some catching up!

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    1. Hi Rita, I'm glad I had an opportunity to catch up with you during lunch on Saturday. :)

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  10. Many thanks Narelle! These highlights and pics take me back to that weekend and remind me of all I learned - and not just in the workshops! Hope to make it to Adelaide next year!

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  11. Hi Steph, It was a great weekend of learning for all of us. :)

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