Because we have the experience of one Roanoke Regional Writers Conference behind us, I fully expected that of the 25 writers we recruited to talk at this Jan. 23-24 conference at Hollins University, almost all would make it. There would be one or two losses, as there were last year, but no more. Everybody gets pumped for these things.
But today, I got word that keynote speaker and Southern Living Editor Cassandra Vanhooser has been laid off and her status with is was uncertain. Sure it is. I'll bet Cassandra thinks more than her status with us is uncertain. It's scary to lose a good job in mid-career and I don't imagine she's given a lot of thought to writers conferences.
We have some good alternatives for substitutes, but as I noted to my friend Catherine Mosley--Cassandra's old pal and the person who relayed the news to me--Cassandra might be a better keynote speaker now than she was before. It's an uncertain market for writers (hell, it's always an uncertain market for writers, especially freelancers) and tell me who would be better to talk about that uncertainty than somebody who lost her job?
I'll propose it. Hope she accepts.
Here's the connection for the conference:
Register just above Sharyn McCrumb's picture.