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BIO International Conference

MAY 19, 2018 | 8:00 AM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue


May 19, 2018: 8:00 AM


Leon Levy Center for Biography



BIO welcomes biographers, editors, agents, publishers, and publicity professionals from across the nation and around the world to the Ninth Annual Biographers International Conference. BIO is honored to partner with the Leon Levy Center for Biography for this year’s conference.

During the conference weekend, biographers have the opportunity to network, compare notes with fellow biographers, and deepen their knowledge of and commitment to the craft of biography.

On Friday, May 18, BIO will offer four tours of New York City’s most prominent libraries (three in the morning and one in the afternoon): the New York Public Library (you will have a choice of visiting either the principal library on Fifth Avenue or the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center), the New-York Historical Society Museum and Library, and the Morgan Library and Museum. More information on these tours and optional, unguided museum visits is available on the Agenda page of the conference registration form.

In the late afternoon, the roster of conference events will also feature our highly anticipated three-minute readings by biographers of their new work. The readings and the Friday evening’s opening reception will be held in the magnificent library of the Fabbri Mansion at 7 East 95th Street, New York, NY 10128. The library was originally housed in a fifteenth-century Italian castle and was brought to America and installed in the Mansion during the first World War. The evening’s events there will include the presentation of the inaugural Robert and Ina Caro Research/Travel Fellowships to Natalie Dykstra and Marina Harss.

On Saturday, May 19, the conference kicks off with a breakfast plenary session featuring Edmund Morris and his wife Sylvia Jukes Morris sharing their views about the craft of biography as it pertains to writing about the living and the dead. They have titled their plenary talk: “Dead Is Easier.” Other featured speakers include Griffin Dunne, the actor and filmmaker, in conversation with Stacy Schiff; Kitty Kelley and Joe Hagan discussing their experiences with difficult subjects; and James Atlas in conversation with biographer Richard Holmes, winner of the 2018 BIO Award for his contribution to the art and craft of biography.

The day continues with lively panels and roundtables featuring such moderators and panelists as  Patricia Bell-Scott, Max Boot, Megan Marshall, John Matteson, William Taubman, and Amanda Vaill. Topics presented include: Resurrecting Forgotten Figures; Writing About Vietnam; What Four Top Editors Look For In a Book Proposal; and Telling Life Stories: What Biographers Can Learn from Narrative Nonfiction. Books by conference participants will be available for purchase throughout the day, thanks to our partnership with independent bookseller Merritt Bookstore of Millbrook, New York.

At lunch, Richard Holmes will give the keynote address.

BIO also offers a coaching program featuring half-hour sessions with accomplished biographers, and sessions with agents who will read and discuss one-page proposals. See the Agenda page of the conference registration form for more details.

Saturday’s events will conclude with a reception and the presentation of the Plutarch Award for the best biography of 2017, as chosen by BIO members.

On Sunday morning, May 20, attendees can choose from four optional workshops on various aspects of the biographer’s craft; the Agenda page on the conference registration form has details.

The cost to attend the conference is $250 for BIO members and $340 for non-members.