The San Francisco Writers Conference leadership, presenters, and volunteers will engage in the active and demonstrative practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of its planning, programming, leadership, and conference implementation.
This includes the continuous commitment and intentional practice of assuring the presence and meaningful participation of all ethnic groups and people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, historically marginalized identities, and people with disabilities. We are always looking for opportunities to promote more diversity at the San Francisco Writers Conference, from our presenters to our leadership, and strive to build a more diverse community within it.
As we try to make our conference and community as openly diverse and welcoming as possible, we are continually redefining and communicating the consistent implementation of our Values, Expectations, and Code of Conduct.
The San Francisco Writers Conference is an industry event where business casual attire is advised and professional behavior is expected. We welcome natural hairstyles and cultural and/or religious attire in our definition of professional dress and encourage it. We believe clothing, makeup, jewelry, and hairstyles are things that do not have a gender, and attendees may choose business casual attire according to their preferences. The SFWC is a safe space and our mission is to make everyone feel welcome.
Our goal is to gather together in the extraordinary city of San Francisco to celebrate the human, literary, and artistic diversity of this area and beyond. We acknowledge there are rich, meaningful stories in every culture and in every life experience waiting to be shared with the world. However, these opportunities have historically been hampered or erased by the publishing tenets inherited from the historically white cis male-dominated publishing industry and continue to be used passively and actively to discriminate against minorities. Our mission is to correct this through our work at the conference.
While the conference’s sessions are all taught in English, we admire and respect the use of other languages at this event. The session video recordings will have automated subtitles which are not word-for-word but can be helpful for those who struggle with accents, hearing loss, or attention.
At the SFWC, we do not expect writers to write with perfect spelling and grammar. Grammar rules are not fixed laws but an ever-evolving reflection of common usage and style choices. English usage has evolved differently in different regions and subcultures, and exploring and understanding those differences enriches us as writers. Editors are present to help us communicate clearly through our writing, not to whitewash voices and erase what makes us different in an industry where novelty is an asset.
We expect some industry jargon to be unfamiliar to many attendees and will be happy to explain them.
We will insist that people are referred to by their preferred names and pronouns. We will not give up on trying to pronounce culturally diverse names correctly. Given that we often slip, we will not get upset or dismissive at being reminded and will be grateful for the chance to correct ourselves.
Life experience is an asset to writers, and long practice is the source of skill. For both reasons, seniority is respected at the conference.
While the schedule must and will run on mono-chronic time, we understand that many writers are poly-chronic by nature. Attendees can enter and exit sessions quietly without undue attention or recrimination. If necessary, a volunteer will politely ask attendees to move post-session conversations out to the hall so the next session can begin. For attendees who would like to review or revisit the sessions, please be advised it may take up to two months for us to get all the recordings up. They will be made freely available to all full conference attendees, volunteers, and speakers for one year.
We insist on respectful interactions and do not ignore micro-aggressions. Flirting is inappropriate and unwanted at this event. Sexual harassment will result in removal without a refund.
We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, or disability and expect all participants to honor this. We do not invite presenters, consultants, or agents back who have a problem with these expectations.
If we are not living up to these standards, we invite you to tell us as soon as possible so we can address the problem.
Finally, we are looking to promote more diversity all the way up to the ranks of leadership at this conference. We encourage attendees to tell us who is doing a great job.
The main hotel elevators do not run to the conference floors. There is a disabled access elevator directly across from the inside end of the escalators hiding in an alcove. Our volunteers are happy to assist if you need help finding it or need assistance with other physical access issues.
We have book-ended the conference with sessions that may be particularly helpful to those with invisible disabilities, diagnosed or not. The event begins with an opportunity for a guided meditation to bring the day into focus and help with a personalized strategic plan. It ends with a Last Pitch Effort to make sure everybody goes home with a strong elevator pitch.
Throughout the conference, we designate a Quiet Space in Bayview Foyer B from the tech nook halfway down the hall to the doors that lead to the lobby stairs. We ask everyone to keep silent in this area to hold space for those who need it.
We instruct our panel moderators and volunteers who pass microphones during Q&As to manage time in ways that allow equal opportunities for all to speak. This includes allowing 30 seconds or more of silence for those who may struggle to speak up before allowing a second question from the same person. We understand this may be uncomfortable for some people. Our moderators also note attendees who disregard time limits and will report them to our team.
We encourage attendees to take this opportunity to meet people who are as different from them as possible, share stories, and make connections. In the interest of expanding our community, we invite attendees to recommend new speakers and sessions of interest and relevance.
We want to celebrate attendees’ successes. Email us, tag us on social media, and use the hashtag #SFWC2024 so we can see and boost the signal. Welcome to the SFWC community!