Welcome to Biographers International Organization (BIO), a literary organization devoted to biographers and biography. BIO informs, supports, promotes, defends and advocates for its members.
BIO activities include informing biographers on the craft of biography, by providing guidance on matters related to the researching, writing, and publishing of biography; helping them deal effectively with resources, subjects, technology, agents, editors, and publishers; encouraging public interest in and appreciation for biography; and conducting conferences, public discussion groups, and mentoring.
Addressing the second annual BIO conference in Washington, DC, then-president Nigel Hamilton stated:
Biography faces many challenges today, from a reduced attention span and ever-growing celebrity worship among readers to an obsession with self rather than others…. By confronting these challenges together, rather than singly, we can ensure the survival of biography as seriously researched, articulately composed, and well-produced work chronicling the lives of real individuals: a craft that has been in existence since Greek and Roman times. This is our commitment, then, each and every one of us: to make a unique contribution to human knowledge and understanding through our work.
A Message from James McGrath Morris, co-founder
If you write biographies, or are thinking of writing one; if you make biopics, or are thinking of making one; if you produce radio documentaries on people’s lives, or are thinking of producing one; or, if you simply are a devoted reader of biographies, Biographers International Organization is the place for you. It is the only organization of its kind, completely devoted to all aspects of the art and craft of biography. With your membership you will receive our popular monthly newsletter, The Biographer’s Craft, you will be linked to others who share your interest around the world as well as in your town, and you will get a discount to our well-attended annual conference, where you will meet the best practitioners, network with editors and agents, and—best of all—get together with other biographers. Joining is easy; you can do it with a few clicks of your mouse and a major credit card. If you have any question, please don’t hesitate to contact Lori Izykowski, our Membership Coordinator.
A Brief History of Biographers International Organization
Biographers International Organization (BIO), a non-profit organization, was founded in May of 2010 to promote the art and craft of biography, and to further the professional interests of its practitioners. BIO grew out of the vision of James McGrath Morris, the creator and editor of The Biographer’s Craft newsletter. In the July 2008 issue of the newsletter, Morris wrote an “open letter to biographers” expressing his vision. From that letter a grass-roots organization of practicing and apprentice biographers began to emerge. On March 26, 2009, the first formal organizing meeting took place in a classroom at the Leon Levy Center for Biography at CUNY and a temporary 15-member founding committee was formed to function as an Interim Board of Directors.
In February 2010, the Interim Board announced the formation of an advisory council, composed of noted biographers. On May 15, 2010, the first Compleat Biographer Conference was held in Boston, MA. At the conference, Nigel Hamilton was chosen to assume the presidency, and Charles J. Shields was elected vice president. Eleven others were selected to serve one-to-two year terms on the Board of Directors. One of the first actions of the board was to select James McGrath Morris to serve as executive director.
The second annual Compleat Biographer Conference was held in Washington D.C. on May 21, 2011, and the third annual Compleat Biographer Conference was held May 19, 2012, at the University of Southern California Campus in Los Angeles, CA. An election for president and new members of the board was held in April 2012, and at the 2012 conference Nigel Hamilton stepped down as president and James McGrath Morris took over. Brian Jay Jones took on the role of vice president.