Japan Writers Conference (JWC) 2023
Oct. 14-15, Sugiyama Jogakuen University, Nagoya (Map)
The Japan Writers Conference (JWC) is a free, annual conference open to all. Since 2007, the JWC has attracted English-language writers in a variety of fields for a weekend of sharing ideas and experiences on the art, craft and business of writing.
Entirely organized by volunteers, the JWC is hosted by a different Japanese university each year, with past venues in Tokyo, Hokkaido, Kobe, Kyoto, Tokushima, Iwate and Okinawa—this year it will be held at Sugiyama Jogakuen University in Nagoya, Aichi.
Past presenters include translator Juliet Winters Carpenter, Colunnist Baye McNeil, YA writers Holly Thompson and Suzanne Kamata, science writers Amanda Alvarez and Elizabeth Tracker, journalist Elaine Lies, poet Jessica Goodfellow, poet/editors Phillip Rowland and Richard Jones, creative nonfiction writer Ann Tashi Slater, and novelists Barry Eisler, Naomi Hirahara, and Vikas Swarup; journals and publishers include The Font, Cha, Kyoto Journal, Fine Line Press, and Isobar Press.
See Zoom-talk videos from the pandemic years at our YouTube Channel.
This conference is free to all.
The JWC is free and open to all. Registration is not required, and everyone can come directly to the venue. However, we strongly recommend that anyone interested in attending the conference registers to stay updated, particularly in case of unexpected circumstances such as typhoons. The registration button will be available once the program is ready in August. Note: certain sessions may require preregistration or the submission of materials. Please refer to the corresponding schedule for further details.
All published writers, translators, editors, agents and publishers are welcome to submit presentation proposals. We especially encourage proposals from new submitters. One of our strengths has been variety, and the best way to foster variety is to have new presenters each year.
Those who have presented at past conferences are (of course) welcome to submit new proposals. But please, in the words of Ezra Pound, “Make it new.”
Presentations on all genres and all aspects of writing and publishing are welcome. The deadline for presentation proposals is June 1.
Most of the presentations at JWC are in English. However, sometimes there are also bilingual presentations. Please check the conference program for details.
Presenters and their publishers are free to bring copies of their books to sell at the conference. We will have a designated room with tables where they can display books, and this room is always popular with conference goers. Most simply leave their books on a table along with a price list and an envelope for money while they attend conference sessions. We have had no trouble with books going missing with this method. However, we cannot guarantee that people will pay. Also, we ask that people be sensitive to space limitations.
Please check out the following:
We appreciate that travel and lodging can be expensive. However, because we are a free event, JWC does not have the resources to help with expenses.
Sorry, we are unable to help with this.
For all other questions, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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We are always looking for a chance to publicize the JWC. If you know of a publication that would be interested in publishing an announcement or interview, please let us know.
If you know someone the JWC might approach–either living in Japan or planning to visit Japan next autumn–please let us know. Contact information would be a great help!
Host a JWC
We are always looking for sites for future conferences. If you are connected to a university or other institution anywhere in Japan that may be able to host a JWC in the future, please let us know. Our annual conferences are two days long and are usually held over a weekend in the fall. We need at least four classrooms: three for conference sessions and one to display books. The session rooms should have projectors that can be used for PowerPoint presentations. Because this is a free conference, we cannot pay for the use of these rooms.
We’ll see you in Nagoya!
LEAD ORGANIZER. Kartika is a former climate scientist, who one day arrived at a point that recalled her youth’s passion for writing. She started taking writing more seriously in 2021. Her work has appeared in Grande Dame Literary and White Enso, among others. She has experience coordinating academic events, and since 2023 she has served as co-organizer of JWC. She is pleased to meet all writing enthusiasts, despite their background, in JWC events.
CO-ORGANIZER. John is a poet and writer on music and other topics. A native of Southern California, he has lived in Tokyo since 1993. His work appears internationally and his books include 100 Poets, One Song Each (a translation of The Ogura Hyakunin Isshu of Fujiwara no Teika), Ueno Mornings and Another Wrong Fedora. He has been involved with the JWC since the first conference in 2007, and has served as co-organizer since 2009.
CO-ORGANIZER. Karen is a fiction writer who has lived in Tokyo since 1993. She serves with John Gribble as co-organizer of the Japan Writers Conference and the monthly Tokyo Writers Workshop. Her story “Dot Rat” was included in Best American Mystery Stories 2017. At JWC she has given the presentations “Writing Violence” and “Writing About Sex.”
PUBLICITY COORDINATOR. Tom is a staff writer for The Japan News, he has given four presentations at the JWC over the years: “Interviewing Creative Subjects” in 2010, “Editing for Brevity” in 2014, “Anatomy of a Book Review” in 2018, and “How to Write a Pub Quiz” in 2021. He is also a co-author of “Tokyo Chic” and “The Sushi Lover’s Cookbook.”
WEBMASTER. Jonathan is a UK born web developer and English teacher who has been living in Chiba, Japan for about a decade. Besides updating the JWC website, in his free time he develops apps, reads short fiction and plays tabletop roleplaying games.
WEB DEVELOPER. Patrick is a free-lance science writer and editor, who is currently involved with a project intersecting blog design, data visualization, and kakenhi application. He is the web design specialist at JWC. He was born in Taiwan; grew up in southern France and then in northern Germany; and holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Penn State. He currently lives in Fukushima prefecture and dreams of writing fiction that is worthwhile someday.
JAPANESE-ENGLISH TRANSLATOR. Saki is an undergraduate student at Department of International Education, Tsuru University, Japan. At JWC, she helps translate from English to Japanese.
2023 JWC HOST. Iain is the author of eight books, including the critically acclaimed “The Only Gaijin in the Village” (Birlinn, 2020), a memoir about his life in rural Japan. His latest book is “The Japan Lights” (Tippermuir, 2023). He teaches Creative Writing and English Literature at Sugiyama Jogakuen University in Nagoya. He is also a freelance editor and journalist, mainly for The Japan Times. He was born and raised in Aberdeen, Scotland and he currently lives in Japan. He studied English at the University of Aberdeen, graduated from the University of Glasgow’s Creative Writing Masters in 2004, and holds a PhD from the University of Sunderland.
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