Wednesday, May 23, 2007

9th Great Obituary Writers Conference panelists and program

The Numbered Greats are always the highlight of the year for obituary writers and enthusiasts. We make our reservations and pay registration fees often without knowing who will be making presentations or what their topics will be.

The fact is, we love getting together with our fellow grimsters. The Great Obituary Writers confabs are more like class reunions than structured seminars.

Speakers confirmed for the 9th Great Obituary Writers Conference, which will be held June 14-16, 2007, in Alfred, N.Y., include Pulitzer Prize winner Jim Sheeler of the Rocky Mountain News, Adam Bernstein of the Washington Post, Gayle Ronan Sims of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Joan Harvey of the Oregonian, Robert Chaundy of the BBC, Nigerian journalist Betty Abah, author Marilyn Johnson, Andrew Losowsky, a British-by-birth technical writer and obit expert who lives in Spain, and Dave Snyder of the Alfred Sun who is co-hosting the conference with International Association of Obituarists and conference founder Carolyn Gilbert.

I don't know exactly what they'll be talking about, but I don't care. I know all of them, and I'm sure they'll share information that is worthwhile, informative and, most likely, entertaining. More panelists may be added to the program before it takes place.

I welcome the panelists to post some info about their topics, either as a comment to this posting or as a new post. If you cannot or don't want to post it personally, please email me at with the information and I'll post it for you.


Marilyn Johnson said...

I'll talk about some of the responses to the Dead Beat, particularly the ones that reflect on you guys....

Bob Chaundy said...

I'll be raising some of the broadcast obit issues that have emerged over the past year.

Alana Baranick said...

Joan Harvey sent this note about a week ago:

i don't think i can do technically what i wanted to, which was an illustration of the denigration of obit writers in books, film and television.

so i'll probably do a defense of the 4-inch obit. i'll probably title it something like "83 years in 4 inches."

i've had gobs of ideas, including our list of 101 obit cliches, but i think the 4-inch obit is something that the oregonian does that is unique and doesn't get much (if any) respect, so it might be more worthwhile (and, i hope, interesting).

i'm looking forward to the conference. people around here think it's weird, and it is, but it's also fun and i always get something out of it.

if i decide to change the topic, i'll do so in the next couple days and will get back to you.

Alana Baranick said...

REVISED SPEAKERS LIST: Adam Bernstein of the Washington Post regrets he won't make it to Alfred. His in-laws are visiting from Argentina. (Did you know he got married last year?)

Betty Abah may not be able to get to Alfred either.

That's all I know. See you in Alfred!