I’m taking a short break from my current blog series – Words for the Journey – to go on an adventure. Tomorrow, I fly to Budapest to attend LittWorld, the publishing conference hosted by MAI every 3 years. This will be the third LittWorld I attend, the first being in Nairobi in 2012.
I can’t even begin to explain how special it is to come together with Christians from across the world who are all in the business of words, writing and good, faith-filled books. That first evening in Kenya when I stood amongst a crowd of people from every continent—all praising God—I honestly felt as if I had been given a foretaste of heaven. I had lunch with well-known author Robin Gunn and a one-on-one discussion with heavyweight publisher Tony Collins from Lion Hudson, who read a few chapters of my manuscript and told me how to improve it. I don’t think Chains of Gwyndorr would have caught a publisher’s eye without that expert guidance!
In 2018 I again had the joy of attending LittWorld, this time in Singapore. Some highlights were meeting up with friends I had made 6 years earlier and forging new friendships, sometimes in surprising ways. I gate-crashed an Uber ride with two British attendees and found friendship (hi Alice!). I had a book table directly behind another fantasy author, and we began talking about our love of Christian fiction. Four years later Trevor and I are still having that conversation, sometimes even in public (listen to Trevor interviewing me on his podcast).
COVID has greatly impacted the organisation of this LittWorld, which was due to happen last year. Until a month ago, Hungary wasn’t even issuing visas to people from many countries, including South Africa. The Ukraine war, on the border of Hungary, has also created uncertainty. But despite all the challenges LittWorld22 starts on Sunday evening and continues with a plenary session by Philip Yancey on Monday (both sessions will be live-streamed!). The conference’s topic—Publishing Hope Beyond Crisis—couldn’t be more relevant for a world in turmoil.
In the 10 years since my first LittWorld, I’ve been drawn into the wonderful writing and publishing community nurtured by MAI, first as a newbie writer, then as a trainer, and now as an MAI-Africa trustee. I sense a full-circle moment as I sit on the other side of the table and new attendees gingerly hand me their manuscripts—oh, if I can do even half as well in guiding them as Tony did with me! I feel particularly privileged to be presenting my first LittWorld workshop, entitled ‘Building the World of your Novel’.
I’m adding a weekend in Budapest to the end of the conference and as I’ve immersed myself online in Danube cruises, historical walking tours, Budapest’s famous spa baths, castles and churches, my anticipation has grown. You can keep up with my Hungarian adventures on My Instagram Account.
On my return I will introduce you to my next word for 2022…and it’s a special one–stay tuned!
Be blessed, friends.