AWP Nugget: What You Missed at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference

I’ve returned from snowy Boston and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference. It was a mixed bag for me. There were a couple of sessions that were really solid, and I met a handful of interesting editors on the Bookfair floor that I may follow up with at some point. I also attended a couple of panels in which the speakers were disorganized and more focused on self-promotion, and too many panels were either overcrowded or flat-out closed off to some due to lack of room. Still, I’m glad I went, particularly because I was able to connect face-to-face with other writers I know and care about. I still expect to go to AWP 2014 in Seattle, so personal connections may be my top agenda item for that conference.

After two full days of relentless snow, the weather finally cleared in Boston Friday night. Here, two young men take advantage of a snowbank outside the Hynes Convention Center by building themselves a female companion. (They probably could have won over half of the female attendees at the conference with a well-crafted poem.)

After two full days of relentless snow, the weather finally cleared in Boston Friday night. Here, two young men take advantage of a snowbank outside the Hynes Convention Center by building themselves a female companion. (They probably could have won over any one of half of the female attendees at the conference with a well-crafted poem.)

In case you weren’t following this blog daily during my time in Boston, I’ve gathered up my posts here:

After last year’s AWP in Chicago, I wrote a post offering nine tips for surviving the conference. I will add a tenth that I learned this year. Should you choose to carry a banana with you (who wouldn’t like a potassium burst after hours of wandering through 600+ Bookfair exhibitors) do not put it in the bottom of your backpack and place on top a 200-page program and a laptop, and then forget about the banana for two days. It turns out the peel of a banana lacks the structural integrity necessary to support that much weight. Who knew? (Well, probably everyone.)

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About Patrick Ross

I'm the author of Committed: A Memoir of the Artist's Road.

5 Responses to “AWP Nugget: What You Missed at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference”

  1. Thanks for your honesty, Patrick. I’m considering going to Seattle next year, but I’m glad to have a better understanding of what I’m getting myself into!

    • You’re welcome, Anjali. If there are others in your MFA program attending (you’re doing an MFA now, right?) I think it would be a really rewarding experience for you to both see them and experience the Bookfair and sessions. I think my problem may have been that I’ve been going so many years in a row. My classmates who attended for the first time all loved it.

  2. charlotterainsdixon Reply March 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    You bring up a good point in the comments, Patrick–and that is that AWP is a great place to meet fellow MFA students. I attended regularly while I earned my MFA and for a few years after, but felt less driven to attend as I got further away from school. It really is a school-related program at heart, no surprise given that AWP stands for Associated Writer’s Programs. I think it becomes a bit less compelling when you’re away from the academic environment. Still and all, I always enjoyed it and I WILL be in Seattle next year for sure!

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    […] at AWP in Boston in March 2013 I heard a literary agent speak who outlined a hypothetical scenario similar to mine. She said the […]

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