As you can imagine, the last week has been fairly crazy — crazy in a good way, natch — and I apologize for not checking in here a bit more quickly. I appreciate all the kind e-mails and notes — you’re all Good People. Thanks for all the nice words. I mean it.
BIO guru Jamie Morris sent out a heads up the other day to note that many of the remarks and sessions from the Compleat Biographers Conference in May have been made available by the University of Massachusetts — our hosts that day — for your viewing pleasure. And just so you don’t have to go and find them, here they are:
First, here’s the opening session, with welcoming remarks by Ray Sheppard, and the opening address by Pulitzer Prize winner Debby Applegate (The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher), who discusses the need for an organization like BIO, where writers can get together to learn from and support each other (Her stunning “I don’t know what to tell you” story comes at about seven minutes in):
Next, here’s a panel on Trends in Biography, where journalist D. Quincy Whitney, Henry Holt senior editor Helen Atsma, and biographers Gayle Feldman and Megan Marshall (The Peabody Sisters) discuss the future of biography — and, at times, publishing in general:
Next , here’s Harriet Reisen (Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women), editor Carole Deboer-Langworthy, Beatrice Mousli (Virginia Woolf), and Steve Weinberg (Armand Hammer: The Untold Story) discussing one of the most surprisingly difficult parts of writing a biography, Selecting A Subject:
Now it’s the keynote speech by Jean Strouse, winner of the first BIO Award (there’s a bit of organizational housekeeping to take care of before Ms. Strouse speaks — her keynote begins at about 17 minutes in):
Next up, biographers Debby Applegate, James Bradley (Flags of Our Fathers), Anne C. Heller (Ayn Rand and the World She Made), and editors Yen Cheong and Lissa Warren head up a lively discussion on Marketing Your Biography. It’s one thing to write it; now how do you ensure it finds readers?
Finally, here’s a fun session — courtesy of Melissa Nathanson (who’s working on a bio of Justice Blackmun), Charles J. Shields (Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee), Will Swift (The Roosevelts and the Royals), Nancy Kriplen (The Eccentric Billionaire: John D. MacArthur–Empire Builder, Reluctant Philanthropist, Relentless Adversary), and Kitty Kelley (Oprah) — on Dealing With The Family of your chosen subject:
Like what you see? C’mon, how could you not? If you’re not a member already, think about joining BIO. Go here.
I signed up for that nwlteetser after your recommendation a few months ago. Through it, I was able to join up with an informal group of Boston area biographers a sort of support group to make sure we can actually finish our projects. Speaking of which, I’m still dying to learn about your secret project!