Saturday, May 30, 2015

Focusing On The Sunny Side Of Obituary Writing

Author and journalist Heather Lende has spent nearly 20 years writing obituaries. Working for the Chillkat Valley News, a small newspaper in Haines, Alaska, has given her a unique insight into the community she covers and inspired her to write several books.

In her latest tome, "Find the Good," Lende shares some of the life lessons she's learned in the process of her work.

"Writing obituaries is my way of transcending bad news," she wrote. "It has taught me the value of intentionally trying to find the good in people and situations, and that practice -- and I do believe that finding the good can be practiced -- has made my life more meaningful."

Lende recently appeared on "A Beautiful World," a news program in Saint Paul, Minn., that focuses on inspirational stories from around the globe. You can listen to the extended interview here:

Want to win a copy of Lende's book? SPOW is giving away three free copies. To enter the drawing, simply send us an email and include your email and mailing addresses in the body as well as your reading format preference (ebook or hardcover). Deadline is June 30, 2015. Winners will be randomly chosen from all complete entries, and announced on The Obituary Forum.

Friday, May 29, 2015

From Obits To Arts, With Love

Andrew Meacham is stepping down, both from his position as SPOW's president and as the writer of the Tampa Bay Times' Epilogue obituary feature. Thankfully, he has agreed to remain an active member of the society, for which we are all very grateful.

As for his work with the newspaper, Meacham plans to transition to a different position, that of performing arts critic.

In his latest column, Meacham explained how much he enjoyed working on the death beat.

"Writing these obituaries — more than 1,000 in all — has been the best experience of my career," he wrote. "People have invited me into their homes, where they shared scrapbooks and old letters and memories of recently departed loved ones. It is impossible to overstate the graciousness I have experienced from these families at the worst times of their lives, or my gratitude at being able to tell those stories."

We all wish him great success in his new job.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Congrats To Maureen O'Donnell

Sun-Times obituary writer Maureen O'Donnell won the Anne Keegan Award on Friday for her “gifts of inquisitiveness and eye for the perfect anecdote.”

The honor, given by the Chicago Headline Club and named for the late Chicago Tribune columnist, was established in 2012 to recognize journalists “who tell stories of ordinary people in extraordinarily well-reported and well-written prose.”

Click here for more.