Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tale of Two Obituary Writers Confabs

We've been doing a lot of posting about the Professional Obituary Writers Workshop that will be held at The Oregonian in Portland, Ore., May 8-11, 2008.

Now we've learned that the 10th Great Obituary Writers International Conference will be held at its former home, the Plaza Hotel, in Las Vegas, N.M., June 12-14, 2008.

If you write about the dead for a living and can afford to, I recommend you attend both events.

The Portland workshop is aimed at providing training sessions for obit-writing journalists.

Speakers so far include nationally known writer's coach Jack Hart, Pulitzer Prize winner Jim Sheeler of the Rocky Mountain News, Margalit Fox of the New York Times, Adam Bernstein of the Washington Post, Gayle Sims of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Kay Powell of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Robin Hinch of the Orange County Register, Larken Bradley of the West Marin Citizen, Alana Baranick (that would be me) of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Don Colburn of The Oregonian, Toronto freelance obit writer Ron Csillag, Oregonian researcher/librarian Lynne Palombo and Amelia Rosner of alt.obituaries.

The New Mexico conference speakers have not been announced at the conference Web site - But if the 10th Great follows the course of its Numbered Great predecessors, the sessions will be informative and entertaining. Conference goers most likely will include obituary aficionados as well as folks who write obits. The camaraderie is awesome.

The 10th Great, as its name suggests, will observe its 10th anniversary this year.

Meanwhile, a new organization, the Society of Professional Obituary Writers, will hold its first general meeting and present awards for obituary writing at the Portland workshop. Contest details will be posted on this blog and at in the next week or so.

It's an exciting time to be an obituary writer.

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