Registration for the fifth annual Compleat Biographer conference opens this month. All BIO members will be notified by email when the registration site is open for business. Active BIO members will also receive information on using their member’s discount as well as how to obtain the early-bird registration rate.
The 2014 conference will be held May 16 to 18 at the University of Massachusetts Boston, the site of the first conference and the founding of BIO. Unlike the first, simpler conference, this fifth gathering will include a full day of research workshops in the Boston area on May 16, followed by an evening reception; twenty panel sessions on May 17 along with a luncheon address by the 2014 BIO Award winner (who will be announced in January); our popular networking reception at which the Plutarch Award winner will be revealed; and four master classes on May 18.
“As in past years, our panels deal with the entire process of writing a biography: research, writing, publishing and marketing,” Cathy Curtis, chair of the Program Committee, told TBC. “What’s new is a special emphasis on what my committee likes to call the ‘core curriculum’—the information beginning biographers need as they contemplate choosing a subject and embarking on years of research and writing.”
In addition, conference organizers continue to broaden BIO’s reach to embrace nontraditional forms and subject matter, including group biographies and biographies of marginalized gay subjects. “And because we are convening in Boston,” added Curtis, “we’re devoting a panel to a discussion of biographical subjects whose lives were inseparable from the city of their greatest triumphs.”
A preliminary description of the panels may be seen here.
The Program and Site Committees have begun their work on putting together the 2014 Compleat Biographer Conference that will be held in Boston on May 16-18. Returning to the campus of the University of Massachusetts Boston will be special, said James McGrath Morris, BIO President. “This will mark our fifth conference and the fifth anniversary of the formal establishment of Biographers International Organization. All of which took place on the campus.”
As with past conferences, Friday, May 16, will be devoted to research workshops at archives, libraries, and historical societies around the Boston area, with a reception in the evening. The actual conference will take place on Saturday, May 17, and a series of master classes will be offered on Sunday, May 18.
Hosting the event, which means dealing with endless and complicated logistics, will be members of the Boston Biographers Group who have agreed to serve on the Compleat Biographer Conference Site Committee. Already they secured the conference site as well as a place for the popular conference eve function, according to Ray A. Shepard, the committee’s chair.
The conference will also witness the fourth transition of leadership. In 2010, when BIO was established, Debby Applegate served as its first president. Her term was followed by that of Nigel Hamilton who served as president from 2010-2012. Morris was elected in 2012 and his term ends in 2014.
“I’m planning on taking a year away from BIO, remaining an active member, and running in 2015 for a position on the board,” Morris said.
Awards to be bestowed during the conference include the Biblio Award, the BIO Award, and the Plutarch. In addition the conference will witness the first awarding of the Hazel Rowley Prize for Best Proposal for a First Biography.
In the meantime, past conference attendees should watch their mail for a survey that will help guide the Compleat Biographer 2014 Program Committee members in planning this year’s conference. The committee members are:
- Cathy Curtis, chair
- Kate Buford
- Greg Daugherty
- Deirdre David
- Beverly Gray
- Anne Heller
- Brian Jay Jones
- Josh Kendall
- Mark Leepson
- Ray A. Shepard
- Bill Souder
- Will Swift