2013 Conference: Lifestyles and the Writing Life

Hartford hosts columnists, bloggers June 27-30

Updates: Discount extended, now May 1. Speakers: Alan Zweibel and Steve Courtney added. Direct payment buttons added.

Hilton Hartford Hotel skyline postcard

‘Balloon’ points to conference site, Hartford Hilton

Want a seminar-packed weekend in a hothouse of fertile creativity? That’s right, Hartford, Conn., home of Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Wallace Stevens, to say nothing of a number of contemporary, popular authors.

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists is holding its 37th annual conference June 27-30 in Hartford, with a theme of “Lifestyles and the Writing Life”!

Columnists tell the story of everyday life in this crazy world — every day. We see, and understand, the way people live — at home or away, at work or at play, in good times and bad. We view the many styles of life from different perspectives, offering observations drawn from knowledge and experience, providing insight and inspiration for families and individuals to make decisions. We write with conviction but often with a lighthearted approach to share important lessons of life with our readers. We take satisfaction in helping to shape the way all of us lead our lives.

Except for specialties like sports and business, most newspaper columns are published on editorial or op-ed pages or in sections titled “lifestyle,” “living” or some variation thereof. Bloggers aren’t that classified but they tend to go in that direction.

Dave Barry

Dave Barry

The 2013 NSNC Conference focuses on this aspect of our profession and has an outstanding lineup of speakers:

The headliner is Dave Barry, the well-known humor writer, who will receive the 2013 Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award. It will be presented by Alan Zweibel, a founding writer of Saturday Night Live and co-author with Dave of the new novel Lunatics.



Two other stars in the lineup are syndicated columnist Heloise and celebrated speaker Gina Barreca.

Tracey O’Shaughnessy, associate features editor and lifestyle section columnist for Connecticut’s Waterbury Republican-American, will tell why the lifestyle section of a newspaper is a great place for your work. You’ll hear about lessons learned from two family lifestyles columnists, “Military Mom” Lisa Smith Molinari and “Boomer Dad” Jerry Zezima.

W. Bruce Cameron

Bruce Cameron

In keeping with NSNC’s commitment to professional development, the conference features five excellent sessions by experts on “the writing life.”

  • Dave Lieber, consultant-author-speaker
  • Mike Morin, specialist in promotion on radio
  • Rick Horowitz, professional writing instructor
  • Barreca; Joel Brinkley, who like Barry has received a Pulitzer; and Zweibel, a panel on public speaking
  • Tracy Beckerman, blogger-author, and W. Bruce Cameron, best-selling author, a panel on using social media
Mark Twain's Hartford house

Mark Twain’s Hartford house

You’ll meet CNN’s John Avlon, co-editor of the two Deadline Artists column anthologies.

Enjoy a special tour hosted by the Mark Twain House and Museum. An authority on the 19th-century humorist, Steve Courtney, will speak on Twain and Hartford’s other literary lights. The winners of NSNC’s annual column contest will be announced as well.

Who’s eligible? If you’re reading this, you are. Whether you write for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, trade journals or other periodicals or for radio or video … whether you’re on staff, a freelancer, syndicated, self-syndicated or independent. We heartily encourage online and multimedia columnists, bloggers and similar Web reporters, commentators, analysts, humorists and essayists. We welcome retired or former columnists, journalism scholars and collegian columnists. And all those who want to write columns or blogs. … And your guests!

Registration for the NSNC conference is once again among the least expensive in the nation for a writing-publishing-creativity workshop. The fee includes seven meals!

  • Member rate $349

  • Guest of member rate $299

  • Non-member rate
    $399 (click button below)

  • Join NSNC for $50, register right away and save! (click button below)

To sign up for the NSNC Hartford conference, please complete this online registration form.

We will be staying at the Hartford Hilton Hotel, which is offering us a special rate of $115 a night. If reserving a room other than by using the online link below, specify “Columnists Conference” to get the discount.

To make room reservations online, please click this special Hilton NSNC link.

More complete details, additional program participants and planned activities will be published in succeeding issues of The e-Columnist newsletter for NSNC members as well as the conference archive list at www.columnists.com.

All of this will be taking place in a setting that’s ideal for conventions — Hartford, Conn., a city of historic charm where Mark Twain did much of his writing — a location offering affordability, accessibility and many attractions.

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  3 comments for “2013 Conference: Lifestyles and the Writing Life

  1. February 21, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    I’m really looking forward to that writing session with Rick Horowitz — I’ve been reading his stuff for years!

  2. February 11, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Conference registration and hotel reservation was quick and easy. Thank you for this extra amenity.

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