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Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop Roundup


Speakers Lisa Scottoline and Phil Donahue helped pay tribute to Erma Bombeck

Last week I was in renowned beauty spot Dayton, Ohio, for the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop. The EBWW is a bi-annual conference held at Erma’s alma mater, the University of Dayton.

For two and a half days, writers attended sessions about improving the art of writing, as well as learning the latest information on the business of publishing.

One of the things that makes the conference so special is the attendance of Erma’s family. It’s routine to run into Erma’s kids in the hallways and at meals, even if they see you first.


This year’s first keynote speaker at Thursday’s dinner was Phil Donahue. Yes, he’s still alive. He looks great and sounds as vibrant as ever. The Donahue family lived across the street from the Bombecks in the 60s while he was on local radio and she wrote a column published in the local newspaper.

Mr. Donahue made the audience laugh with clips of Erma from his television show, and cry with a reading of the eulogy he gave at her funeral in 1996. Afterward, Donahue was such a good sport taking pictures with attendees and even trying on one woman’s signature bunny slippers and not pressing charges.

The educational sessions and panel discussions over the next two days were excellent. The speakers did more that teach technique, they took time to answer questions in depth, even if you buttonhooked them in the bar hallway afterward.

The spirit of Erma Bombeck’s wit is alive and well today. I was impressed by the quality of the writers present. Also, I noticed a new wave of younger women as young as 18. Now writers born the same year Erma passed away are still laughing at her humor and learning from her legacy.


Me with Kim Dalferes, Tracy Beckerman, and Robin O’Bryant.

I saw so many good friends and met great new ones in Dayton. Enjoy these recaps from other attendees.

Lucia Paul of Dysfunctional Scrapbooking gives a recap from the Future Oldest Freshman at the University of Dayton.

Kim Dalferes from The Middle-Aged Cheap Seats updates from The Erma Zone.

Lois Alter Mark of Midlife at the Oasis says Thank You, Erma Bombeck.

Barbara Younger writes on Hen and Inkblots about Keepin’ ‘Em Laughin’ at the 2014 EBWW.

Marcia Kester Doyle of Menopausal Mother has some Funny Things…Learned ay a Weekend Conference.

Elaine Ambrose tells tales of the Midlife Cabaret, old chum.

Gianetta Palmer (one of my first Erma friends!) from Reflections on a Middle-Aged Fat Woman saw some memorable sights in Dayton. Swear it wasn’t me!

Marci Rich writes on The Midlife Second Wife a beautiful summary and tells of her connection to keynote speaker, Phil Donahue.

Helene Cohen Bludman of Books is Wonderful gives her top ten takeaways from the conference. She calls the experience a “bramance”!

Me and Helene Bludman

Me and Helene Bludman

Anne Parris

Anne Parris is a managing partner Midlife Boulevard. Her personal blog, Not A Supermom, is your typical mommy blog that her kids say used to be funnier. Anne has a business degree and a dusty résumé from a top accounting firm and a Fortune 500 company, which she reminds herself of every time she is washing underpants. She lives with her family in Virginia and blogs mostly to support her coffee habit.

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Barb Best

Tuesday 22nd of April 2014

"It’s routine to run into Erma’s kids in the hallways and at meals, even if they see you first." -- LOL! Great to see you in the flesh, Anne! EBWW: So many friends, so little time :-)

Anne Parris

Wednesday 23rd of April 2014

You too, Barb! Never enough time to talk to everyone you want to.

Linda Roy

Monday 21st of April 2014

What an amazing experience! I'm already looking forward to 2016. I had a great time hanging with you, lady!

Anne Parris

Wednesday 23rd of April 2014

It's always a treat to talk to you, even if you are a master of disguise. Apparently, just putting your hair back is enough to confuse me.

Jenny From the Blog

Monday 21st of April 2014

Wish I were there to enjoy with you!!! Sounds amazing!

Anne Parris

Monday 21st of April 2014

It's my priority conference for 2016. Just a great vibe and lots of great education and networking for writers. I think with your style of humor, you'd fit right in.

Raquel @ Organized Island

Monday 21st of April 2014

How wonderful to know that Erma Bombeck's legacy lives on. She was so funny and have enjoyed many of her articles. Looks like it was a fabulous and inspiring conference.

Anne Parris

Monday 21st of April 2014

It was wonderful. Refreshing in so many ways!

Lucia Paul

Friday 18th of April 2014

Thanks for including my recap! I am having fun reading the other contributions too. What a wonderful time we had. Almost a week since we got home? What on earth? Two years better fly, or else! Here's to EBWW 2016!

Anne Parris

Saturday 19th of April 2014

I really wish it were annual. Two years is too long.

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