Thursday, February 21, 2008

Contest for best obituary writing of 2007 and much more.

The Society of Professional Obituary Writers will present awards for obituary writing in eight categories and a Lifetime Achievement Award in Obituary Writing during the Professional Obituary Writers Workshop at The Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, May 8-11, 2008.

Submitting your best obits published during the 2007 calendar year, paying entry fees and judging will be done online. You and/or your news organization's contest coordinators should appreciate that.

Deadline for entering is April 1, 2008. Five finalists will be selected by a panel of judges – themselves obituary writers. The finalists’ work will be posted on the SPOW Web site beginning April 15 for review by members of SPOW and the general public.

Winners in each category, chosen by SPOW members’ votes, will be announced at the Portland workshop.

Details on the categories and how to enter the contest are posted on the Awards page of the SPOW Web site.

Anyone can nominate a veteran obituary writer for the Lifetime Achievement Award, and there's no fee or membership involved. Letters of nominations should explain how this individual has shown dedication to the craft of obit writing over time.

Want to play a part in choosing the winners? Join SPOW.

Membership is open to journalists who make a living from or get paid to write/edit obits for newspapers, magazines, news blogs, other news organizations, newsletters, etc.

(Educators, scholars and others with a serious interest in obituary writing should be able to become associate members after SPOW members convene for the first time at the Portland workshop.)

No membership fee is required while this organization is in its infancy.

The only immediate privileges of SPOW membership are the right to vote on the five finalists in each contest category, to approve selection of Lifetime Achievement and to elect officers, approve bylaws and plan SPOW's future.

To join, simply send the following information with your name in the subject line to Name, news organization, job title, mailing address at work, home mailing address (optional), e-mail address(es), phone number(s), and a brief bio with emphasis on your obituary-related work.

Want to know more about the Professional Obituary Writers Workshop in May in Portland, where the first SPOW meeting will be held?

Details on speakers and plans that Oregonian obituary writers Amy Starke and Joan Harvey have planned for workshoppers are posted on SPOW's Development page.

Also on the SPOW Web site are the Workshop Registration Form - registration for the entire event is only $50 - and accommodations information.

Any questions? Write to

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