Making Tracks

Goings on this Spring in the city of Zürich and beyond.

'Chicken' by Craig Kirkwood, partial shot

‘Chicken’, partial image courtesy Craig Kirkwood

WriteCon16: 21 May, Kulturhaus Helferei

This year’s WriteCon is all about Making It Happen. Hands-on and practical. Whichever event you choose, you’ll walk away with concrete, tailored advice.

BOOK online here.


Saturday 21 – a choice of two workshops

Workshop 1: How to Publish a Book, with Jessica Bell

Jessica Bell

Jessica Bell

Jessica is editor of the Vine Leaves Journal, an author of both novels and non-fiction, plus a writing coach and cover designer.

Her workshop, suitable for writers of fiction/non-fiction, is filled with useful advice and highly productive, with exercises and activities to put theory into practice.

By the end of Saturday, you will have all the information you need to perfect and publish your book. This session will cover:

  • Editing & Polishing Your Work to Publication Standard Part 1 (Content)
  • Editing & Polishing Your Work to Publication Standard Part 2 (Style)
  • Preparing Your Manuscript for Publication (Copy)
  • Making Your Book (Formatting Your Manuscript)
  • Cover Design Considerations
  • Retailers & Distributors
  • Q&A

BOOK Jessica’s workshop online HERE

Workshop 2: How to Market a Book, with Helen Lewis


Helen Lewis

Helen Lewis, Director of boutique publicity agency Literally PR and Co-Founder of The Author School has a wealth of expertise when it comes to promotion.

Helen’s session is comprehensive and realistic, involving participants in creating their own PR stories, advance information sheets and finding what works for you. By the end of this workshop, you’ll take away concrete ideas and immediately applicable techniques to help you find your readers. This session will cover:

  • Publicity Masterclass #1 (What you need)
  • Publicity Masterclass #2 (What you can do)
  •  How to write your own Advance Information Sheet
  • What makes your author story and/or your book appealing to the press?
  • Building your author platform (offline)
  • Social media health-check
  • Q&A

BOOK Helen’s workshop online HERE


Around the region …

Geneva Writers’ Conference

The 10th Geneva Writers’ ConferenceMarch 18-20, will welcome over two hundred writers from around the world to a weekend of workshops, panels, readings and networking, led by well-known authors, agents, editors, and publishers, to be held at Webster University, Bellevue, Switzerland. The instructors—Carmen Bugan, Tessa Hadley, Ann Hood, Liz Jensen, Shaun McCarthy, Frederick Reiken, Andrea Stuart, Susan Tiberghien, Wallis Wilde Menozzi—are all widely published writers and experienced teachers, committed to sharing their knowledge and perspectives on writing as both an art and a profession.  The conference is organised by the Geneva Writers’ Group. For more information visit or register at

French Writers’ Retreat

One of the most elusive things for writers can be finding the time and space to write. L’Atelier Writers Retreat and Workshop seeks to provide a balance of solitary space for writing, engaging seminars on craft, critique sessions with peers and instructors, and invigorating social connection. The workshop is intentionally kept small welcoming 15 writers each year. The next retreat will be held June 5-10, 2016 in Villeferry, France. (Check-out is the morning of Saturday, June 11th.)

Writers on Board (Zürich)

Once more, you can see the seasons pass by on the shallow hills outside, while you put inspiration to paper (or machine memory) and talk about the writing life.

This year’s sessions are: Sundays 20th March, 17th April, 22nd May, 19th June, 17th July, 21st August, 25th September, 23rd October, 20th November, and 18th December.

Writers on Board meet at 13:15 at Bürkliplatz next to the departure screen. We take the big round trip departing 13:30 to Rapperswil and will be back in Zürich by 17:25. We write individually on the way up and talk (in English) on the way back. For convenience we treat ourselves to first class. The most economic ticket is the ZVV 9 Uhr pass. Apart from pen and paper or notebook, please bring a little money to buy your own beverages.     —Sarah Buchmann

Authors in Town! (Zürich)

All kinds of interesting people popping up at Kaufleuten, including Pussy Riot founder member Nadja Tolokonnikowa, Yann Martel, Garth Risk Hallberg, William Boyd and Viv Albertine.

Check out the Literaturhaus programme for more interesting authors and literary events.

Calling Poets

Are any Woolf readers writers of poetry? And possibly interested in publishing an anthology? If so, contact Jill via the Editorial page.

Character Agency (SCBWI Switzerland Webinar)

What is agency and why does your character need it?

Merriam-Webster says agency is the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power.

What can you do to ensure you are writing characters with agency, and what if you’ve finished a project and think your character needs to demonstrate more agency in your story?

Join SCBWI (The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) on 22 March, 2016 for a webinar with Bridget Smith, Literary Agent with Dunham Literary, Inc. to answer these questions and more.

In addition to the webinar, a limited number of critique opportunities will be offered. Bridget will look at 5 pages from your manuscript, as well as a 1-2 page synopsis, and give you feedback on your character’s agency in the story.

Sign up HERE.

Author: J.J. Marsh

Writer of The Beatrice Stubbs series, founder member of Triskele Books, columnist for Words with JAM magazine, co-curator of The Woolf magazine, Bookmuse reviewer, blogger and Tweeter. @JJMarsh1

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