Sunday, March 08, 2009

Convention speakers, Registration form, Hotel reservations

We've got information for you about speakers, registration and hotel reservations for the 2009 Society of Professional Obituary Writers (SPOW) Convention at the Residence Inn Charlotte Uptown, 404 S. Mint St., Charlotte, N.C., April 23-25, 2009.

Let's mention the hotel reservations first, as the deadline for making them at a discounted rate is March 23.

The hotel is holding a block of suites for SPOW for Thursday through Saturday, April 23-25, 2009. All suites have such features as fully equipped kitchens and high-speed Internet access.

Studio and one-bedroom suites have one queen-sized bed with a single sleeper sofa. Two Bedroom Suites have one queen-sized bed in each bedroom and a single sleeper sofa.

Special SPOW Convention rates are $109 per night for studio and one-bedroom suites; $149 per night for a two-bedroom suite. Rates quoted include complimentary breakfast, but do not include tax. Hotel tax is 15.25%, parking is $10.00 and both are subject to change.

Guests are responsible for making and paying for their own rooms. Write to if you'd like to share a suite and split the cost with another convention goer.

Reservations must be made by phone. Convention attendees should call 1-888-511-5087 and request a room with the Society of Professional Obituary Writers no later than March 23, 2009. All major credit cards are accepted.

Convention sessions will be held at the hotel. Room rates do not include convention registration.

For convention registration go to our Registration page at:

The event starts with a Thursday evening get-together at Mert's Heart and Soul Restaurant. Meet at the hotel lobby between 5 and 6 p.m. for shuttle to Mert's for dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Professional development sessions are set for Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, the 2009 SPOW Awards for obituary writing will be presented and the convention should end by 3 p.m.

Cheryl Carpenter, managing editor of The Charlotte Observer and a Poynter Institute writing-coach lecturer, will be our keynote speaker.

Matt Comer, editor for Q-notes Online, the Carolinas multimedia LGBT news source, will address handling online obits and will participate in a roundtable discussion on diversity.

Scott Karp, CEO of Publish2, will speak about link journalism. Register for a free Publish2 account at Register by March 31, 2009, and learn how to become eligible for valuable prizes. For sweepstakes details, go to: .

Tim Bullamore, a freelance obituary writer for such publications as The Daily Telegraph of London, will discuss his obits-related doctoral work at Cardiff University.

Gerry Hostetler, our local host, will talk about how her career evolved from obits clerk to obits columnist for The Charlotte Observer.

More information is available at the SPOW Web site - Additional details will be posted there and here on the Obituary Forum blog - - as they become available.

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