Thursday, February 21, 2013

AWP 2013 Boston: What’s New This Year

The 2013 conference of the Associated Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) takes place from March 6 to 9 in Boston, Massachusetts. AWP is the largest gathering of writers, teachers of creative writing, and literary publishers in the United States. Eleven thousand attendees are expected at AWP. This year’s event is the fortieth anniversary of the conference, which was first held at the Library of Congress in Washington DC in 1973.

The 2013 conference promises to be the biggest to date, with 11,000 attendees, 1,900 presenters, and 700 exhibitors at the bookfair. Among the literary superstars appearing are Nobel laureates Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott, and the popular English novelist Jeanette Winterson. Renowned U.S. poets at the event include Galway Kinnell, Sharon Olds, Yusef Komunyakaa, Robert Pinsky, Patricia Smith, and many more.

In response to a question about what's new at AWP this year, Conference Director Christian Teresi remarks, "What's special about the conference in any given year is its ability to bring together writers of all ages, races, genders, and genre interests. The diversity of the writers, journals, and presses represented is always the thing that's most special to me."

Associate Conference Director Cynthia Sherman adds that "AWP is debuting Bookfair Stages this year." Bookfair Stages offers two reading venues within the bookfair space, one on each level. Some excellent literary presses and writing programs are sponsoring readings, including Red Hen Press, Mayapple Press, Salmon Poetry, Cleveland State University Press, Kattywompus Press, Marsh Hawk Press, Ploughshares magazine, and more. See the schedule for details. 

Each year AWP is held in a different city. Many of the events showcase the writers and literary institutions of the host region. This year there are quite a few New England events, including a panel on Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter; readings by writers from Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont; and a panel on Boston’s literary history. There are also many events related to the United Kingdom and Ireland, including a panel on why the two sides of the Atlantic are so rarely aware of one another.

I feel that AWP is most useful to a writer if you go with a specific goal in mind. Think about your current needs as a writer. Do you have several pieces you’re ready to send to magazines? Have you got a manuscript for a new book that you’re hoping to find a publisher for? Do you have a new book just published that you want to publicize? Are you looking for a job or internship with a literary organization? Are you hoping to book readings at series? Do you want to get re-energized to go home and write? Pick a goal and stick to it.

For more information on how best to network at AWP, please see my blog from last year.

Zack Rogow will be reading at an offsite event at AWP on Wednesday, March 6 at 7:00 p.m. as part of the launch of Cornelius Eady's new chapbook/CD in the community room of Cambridge Cohousing, 175 Richdale Avenue in Cambridge MA. He'll also be speaking on two panels at AWP on Friday, March 8: Things We Know We Love: The Poems and Influence of Nazim Hikmet, from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m., room 305, Level 3; and  What Poets Learn When They Translate, from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m., room 204, level 2. He'll be signing copies of his latest book of poems, My Mother and the Ceiling Dancers, on Saturday, March 9, from noon to 1:15 at the Kattywompus Press table, booth 1111.

Other recent posts about writing topics: 

How to Get Published: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4 

How Not to Become a Literary Dropout, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10
Putting Together a Book Manuscript, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7
Working with a Writing Mentor: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
Getting the Most from Your Writing Workshop: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6
Does the Muse Have a Cell Phone?: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
Why Write Poetry? Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4
Using Poetic Forms, Part 1: Introduction; Part 2: The Sonnet; Part 3, The Sestina;
Part 4, The Ghazal; Part 5, The Tanka
How to Deliver Your Message: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 

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