Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Writers Conference Cancels 2009 Events

The Santa Barbara Writers Conference events scheduled for 2009 are the latest victims of the current economic crunch.

The SBWC’s executive director, Marcia Meier, has officially announced that the organization’s March Weekend of Poetry and the conference itself in June are “on hiatus this year due to a worsening economy. For a business dependent on discretionary income, like the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, a bad economy means fewer people are able to attend. And since most of the conference costs are fixed, this presents the prospect of operating at a loss. So, given the current conditions, and after long and difficult deliberation, we have decided to put our efforts into making the March and June 2010 conferences as successful as possible.”

The news is especially distressing in light of the fact that the 36-year-old SBWC is one of the most established and respected in the United States.

The announcement comes days after a similar one from the Halifax International Writers Festival. Quill & Quire broke the story last week:
In another dismaying sign of the times, this year’s Halifax International Writers Festival has been cancelled. The fest, which was scheduled to take place April 1-4, was preparing to celebrate its fifth anniversary.

Festival founder and organizer Heather Gibson says there were a number of factors in her decision to call off the spring event – some professional, some personal. “This recession has perhaps made audiences a little more cautious with their money, so there might have been a greater risk involved with ticket sales than in previous years,” she says. “[Also], I think that it was time for me to look at other priorities in my own life.”


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