What is the Friday Fringe?
The Friday Fringe evolved over the years because travel and time meant many conference attendees had to arrive in Winchester on the Friday before the conference started. At first, early birds organised informal meet-ups. Then one year, a volunteer had the brilliant idea to have a big critique meet on the night before the conference. For many new members it is the first time they've experienced getting and giving feedback on a manuscript or portfolio. This then led to everyone traipsing to a restaurant and sharing a meal – ice was broken and friends were made. Over time more informal events have sprung up, with volunteers hosting sharing and craft sessions, etc. This year, the Friday Fringe has been coordinated by Jan Carr and volunteers have kindly stepped up to make the day before the conference a vibrant experience.
What is a Crawl?
Clare at last year's Sketch Craw. Photo by Paul Morton.
The Friday Fringe has sketch crawls and scrawl crawls. The Sketch Crawl – this year organised by veteran illustrator Paul Morton – is a chance for lovers of drawing to get together and draw together, while wandering through the historic city of Winchester. This year's Scrawl Crawl is organised by Lorraine Cooke. It's a chance for writers to do what the illustrators are up to, but writing instead of drawing. It goes without saying but we will say it: writers are welcome to the Sketch Crawl, and illustrators are welcome to the Scrawl Crawl! Read a blog report about the Sketch Crawl here.
What is the Friday Night Critique?
The Friday Night Critique is an optional event on the night before the Conference. It is a critique meet – that is, people break up into pre-assigned groups and give each other feedback on their manuscripts and artwork. How does it work?
1. Participants will be assigned to small groups according to genre by the end of October
2. Each group will have a facilitator who will keep you informed.
3. You will need to have your manuscript (for picture book writers) or manuscript extract (2000 words for novels) ready to email to your facilitator by Friday, 6th November, to give everyone time to read in advance and prepare feedback.
4. Illustrators do not need to send artwork in advance.
You can opt to attend on the booking form, which also lists the minimal amount to pay for the cost of the venue. It’s not just a way to get feedback on your work but a great way to meet the writers and illustrators you are about to spend the weekend with. Once you're signed up, you will receive an email nearer the time that will explain:
1. The rules of the event
2. How to send your manuscript excerpt if you're a writer
3. Who your group-mates are
What is the Friday night dinner?
The Friday night dinner began when people attending the Friday Night Critique piled into town and had dinner together. The restaurants weren't happy suddenly catering for hundreds of people and eventually a kind and rather gullible volunteer (Clare Bell) agreed to contact the restaurant in advance and make it easier for them. It was fun but hard on the volunteer (Clare Bell) who organised it because someone always forgot to pay their bill. This year, the university will be catering it and hopefully it will be an easy way for members to bond and chat and network before the conference has even got itself going. You don't even have to be at the critique event to attend!
What are Break-out Sessions?
Break-outs are sessions in which the audience splits up to attend a selection of events that happen concurrently. You can choose your preferred sessions on the booking form. Yeah, it's really hard.
What is the PULSE Track of the conference?
The PULSE Track of the conference focuses on the needs of our growing numbers of published authors and illustrators. It covers marketing and publicity, school visits, media training and self-promotion. This year, our PULSE track is curated by authors Mo O'Hara and Candy Gourlay.
What is the Spark Track of the conference?
The Spark Track of the conference focuses on the unique needs of our members who publish independently via self publishing, online retail and distribution, print-on-demand, or crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter. This year the Spark track was curated by Kickstarter entrepreneur Sarah Towle.
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