Thursday, July 4, 2013

NSNC '13 Lifestyles and the Writing Life

By Rose A. Valenta

The annual National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) Conference was held in Hartford, CT, last weekend. It was a remarkable and exciting event with stellar headliners.

Featured guests included Pulitzer Prize winner, Dave Barry, who has also served as the final judge in previous Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor Writing competitions; Emmy Award-winning TV writer, original SNL writer, Thurber Prize for American Humor winner and novelist, Alan Zweibel; women’s humorist, UConn professor of English and essayist, Gina Barreca; CNN contributor, John Avlon; bestselling author and previous Robert Benchley Society Humor Award winner, W. Bruce Cameron; Heloise; bestselling author, Tracy Beckerman; and popular radio personality, Mike Morin.

Among the highlights of the event: Dave Barry won the Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award; Mike Morin of WZID-FM in Manchester, NH, won the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award; the late film critic, Roger Ebert, posthumously won one of the column contests; Blake Seitz of the University of Georgia won the Jeff Zazlow scholarship award; and Bob Haught and Stacey Hatton won the exciting “Columnists’ Got Talent” contest on Saturday night.”

The NSNC comments about Dave Barry:

For more than two decades, Dave Barry was a syndicated newspaper columnist, based at The Miami Herald, whose work appeared in more than 500 newspapers in the United States and abroad. His career at the Herald brought him worldwide acclaim as a humorist with a distinctive style and a best-selling author of 31 books of humor and parody, as well as 13 novels and children’s books.

In 1988 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary “for his consistently effective use of humor as a device for presenting fresh insights into serious concerns.” He retired from the grueling demands of weekly column writing in 2005, but still contributes special projects.

The theme at NSNC ’13 was “Lifestyles and the Writing Life,” which was impeccably demonstrated in the various sessions and panel discussions. You can click here for the entire NSNC Conference Program.

Note: The grand tour of Mark Twain's home on Friday, unveiled the world's first "Man Cave" on the third floor of his house complete with pipe stands, pool table, bar and balcony. It was built in 1873. Legend has it that when uninvited guests arrived at the house, he would step out onto the balcony, so the person answering the door could truthfully say that he was "not in residence."

If you are on Facebook and Twitter, you can follow post-Conference discussions and photo sharing by searching the hashtag #NSNC13 on both social media sites. You can follow @NSNCGroup on Twitter and “like” the NSNC page on Facebook.

I must warn you that “What happens in the hospitality suite, stays in the hospitality suite.” I know, I was there - only I can’t seem to remember anything.

You just have to be there next year!

Photo source: Dave Barry, Gina Barreca and Alan Zweibel Photo copyright: Teri Rizvi, Director of the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop

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Robert Benchley Society

For more information about the Robert Benchley Society, local chapters near you, our annual Award for Humor, and our Annual Gathering, visit The RBS Website