AWP Approaches

The annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference is next week in Washington D.C. I’m glad that it is so close (in proximity) this year; I went to the conference two years ago, when the conference was in Chicago and I was finishing up undergrad in Indiana, and I enjoyed it immensely. I didn’t get to go last year because it was in Denver and I was in Baltimore. But now I get to go again, and this time, I get to represent my M.F.A. program at the book fair. I’ll be doing that from noon to 2:00 p.m. on Friday. The rest of the time – with the exception of Thursday evening, since I have to be back in Baltimore for class, and maybe Saturday, since I don’t have an easy way to D.C. on the weekends – I’ll be attending panels and readings.

I plan to attend the following on Thursday:

  • Short Story to Novel, 9:00–10:15 a.m.
  • Memoir and Latinidad (featuring Dr. Joy Castro, my former English/creative writing professor and wonderful mentor at Wabash College), 10:30–11:45 a.m.
  • To Wave or Not to Wave: Writing the Female Body Across Generations, 12:00–1:15 p.m.
  • Representing the Erotic in Literary Fiction, 1:30–2:45 p.m.

For Friday, I’m looking at these:

  • Balancing Professional Writing with Your Creative Side, 9:00–10:15 a.m.
  • The Art of Rejection: Giving and Receiving, 10:30–11:45 a.m.
  • University of Baltimore’s M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts table at the book fair, 12:00–2:00 p.m.
  • Ask Not What the Internet Can Do for You: Shifting Our Perspective on Internet Publishing As an Alternative to Major Market Publishing, 3:00–4:15 p.m.
  • Building the Literary Robot: The Lit Journal As New Media, 4:30–5:45 p.m.
  • Various receptions being held, 5:45–8:15 p.m.
  • A Reading by Junot Díaz, 8:30–10:00 p.m.

I haven’t even looked at the Saturday schedule yet because I probably won’t be going on Saturday. A friend of mine is still deciding whether or not she is going at all – and what day(s) – and if she goes on Saturday, I may or may not tag along, for company. If that happens, I’ll have to make a quick scan through the Saturday list, but I’ll play it by ear because of my friend. She can choose.

By the way, if you haven’t the foggiest what you’re going to do and see when you go to AWP, I recommend going to the website and checking out the schedule. At least try to narrow it down to a few panels for each session. There are many, many panels taking place during each timeslot, so unfortunately, you will have to miss a lot. But don’t get me wrong; you will also get to see a lot of great things in those three days.

Happy conferencing! Maybe I’ll see you there.

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