On, not for. Most of the attendees were Women, but few, if any, were British. And while some of them may have been Writers, they primarily self-identified as Grad Students and Professors. Had some interesting conversations, for sure.
One in particular was delightful in how it marked one of the first times that someone assumed that I was at the foot of the Ivory Tower, going about my life in willful ignorance.
I delivered lunch to a woman who had the badge that the attendees all wore, and so I asked her how the conference was going.
"Fine," she says. "I'm working on my presentation."
"Oh?" says I. "And what is that on?"
She pauses here, giving a look that suggests she is trying to put it into words that she thinks I, her humble servent, will understand. The words she settles on, which she said with a certain trepidation that suggested she wasn't sure I would grasp them, were "Victorian literature."
"Any author in particular, or just a general survey?" I ask, clearly surprising her that I should want to continue the conversation.
"Dickens and Bronte," she says. "Are you a reader?"
Mentally, I prepare to ask if it is some sort of comparison, then, of the female writers to the male, but then I realize what she's said. My mind breaks slightly as I wonder what universe she lives in where one needs to be a "reader" in order to have heard of Charles Dickens. I then consider asking her which Bronte, exactly, as there were three, but I fear that might make her mind break, and that's never good for a tip. Instead I say to her: "I have a BA in English. This is what I do." I bow slightly and move toward the door.
"Oh, really? Well, I'm sure you'll put it to good use some day."
I pray it is as good a use as she's found for hers.