Grrrl Con is a collaboration between For Books’ Sake and Write Like a Grrrl. Developed and delivered by a core trio of Write Like a Grrrl creator Kerry Ryan, award-winning author and poet Claire Askew and For Books’ Sake founder Jane Claire Bradley, Grrrl Con brings together women and non-binary writers from across the UK and beyond for a three-day celebration including keynote talks, workshops, time to write and more.

The first Grrrl Con took place in Edinburgh in 2016, with a programme featuring keynote talks from Scottish Makar Jackie Kay, award-winning crime writer and playwright Denise Mina, acclaimed literary agent Jenny Brown and more.

The weekend also featured practical, interactive workshops, including sessions from Lucy Ribchester, Helen Sedgwick, Khadijah Ibrahiim and Marjorie Lofti Gill, with attendees able to tailor their individual itineraries to best meet their personal writing aims and ambitions.

Attended by almost a hundred writers from around the UK, the weekend gave attendees the opportunity to connect, celebrate and collaborate with a nationwide community, providing inspiration, insight, tools and techniques to turbo-boost their writing craft and confidence.

Inspired by the success of Grrrl Con 2016, the next event took place in Manchester in 2017, with an extended programme featuring even more opportunities for attendees to access sessions from some of the most exciting and innovative women and non-binary writers around.

The 2017 programme featured keynote talks from: Monique Roffey, Jenn Ashworth, Patience Agbabi and Sara Hunt of independent publishers Saraband. Workshops were led by: Rosie Garland, Steph Pike, Sasha de Buyl, Leone Ross, Desiree Reynolds, Theresa Munoz, Hannah Kate, Catherine Johnson and Cheryl Martin. As before, attendees could create their own personal plan for the weekend based on the genres, topics and authors that excited them the most.

Grrrl Con aims to empower and energise attendees by providing opportunities to hear from both established and emerging women and non-binary writers, while also giving accessible, practical advice. Talks and workshops have covered a diverse range of topics and genres, including sessions on: writing sex and desire; magic realism; plot; performance; creating memorable characters; dealing with the inner critic; writing as a tool of resistance and activism; zine-making; editing; poetry; incorporating elements of personal experience into fiction; and creating space, place and atmosphere.

After a hiatus, the triumphant of Grrrl Con was planned for 2020, to coincide with the tenth birthday of For Books’ Sake. With those plans sadly postponed by the global coronavirus pandemic, the next Grrrl Con is now due to take place in June 2021. Tickets to Grrrl Con 2021 are available now, with more details on the events page.

What They Say...

“Before Grrrl Con I thought I’d never have a book but now apparently I’ve got two to finish. It showed me the ability I have, and how not to shy away from it!”

“I love you all for putting this together. I needed to boost my confidence, and you’ve given me self-belief. For someone with
none, that’s an unforgettable feeling. Thank you.”

“I’ve gained confidence, new techniques and ways to improve my writing, a list of women writers I want to read, and a fantastic community. An amazingly useful weekend that has motivated and inspired.”

“I love you all! I’ve said before that For Books’ Sake and Write Like a Grrrl have changed my life for the better; that has been echoed over and over again from other people I’ve spoken to this weekend. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done.”

“I thought Grrrl Con would be interesting, but was unprepared for the profound effect it had on me as a writer. I gained a sense of community and connectedness I wasn’t expecting. I have three novels with HarperCollins, plus numerous poetry collections, but I believe I’m never done ‘learning’, developing, connecting, or needing to take in creative encouragement as well as give it out. It’s vital to discover places where writers can access creative support at any stage in the writing life, and I’m finding that through For Books’ Sake.”

“The talks were incredibly amazing, engaging, life affirming, practical, inspiring and empowering.”

“Wonderful weekend. I feel overwhelmed and in awe of all the talented writers at the event. I look forward to continuing to learn and develop with such a fantastic support network.”

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