The Association of Writers and Writing Program conference in Seattle felt like a return to normal. It was a blast—lots of new and familiar faces, great panels, and exciting books and presses popping up all over the bookfair. After skipping last year for Covid’s sake, it was great to connect with so many amazing writers, publishers, and other movers and shakers in the book world.
Here’s a quick snapshot of the PGP table in the Seattle Convention Center, which had the highest ceilings I can remember seeing. The florescent lights I put out paper and crayons so people could draw—a little moment of refreshment in the sometimes overwhelming room.
I found it inspiring to talk to people about what they’re working on—not just the manuscripts in progress, but also to hear from publishers like Mountaineers Press about how they’ve figured out how to bring their gorgeous books into readers’ homes and hearts. How unique to see a vital small press with so many employees (dozens), doing it the old fashioned way with big print runs and active sales teams. And to talk to the ones just starting new presses, too—Dan Hoyt from American Buffalo Preess was the nicest person I met, I think. Of course I was happy to pick up a copy of their first book, by Aaron Burch, the Hobart legend.
I got to see Timothy Willis Sanders read from Modern Massacres, which was hilarious. Tim never fails to amaze me.
And being on a panel with Leah Angstman from Alternating Currents, Kurt Baumeister from 7:13 Books, and David Byron Queen from Word West was informative and motivating. A big THANK YOU to Dustin M. Hoffman for organizing and moderating the discussion. I got a keen sense that the small press world is Big On Love and publishers and editors like those of us on the panel are driven to please the writers we work with because of their great writing. I’m always happy to champion great books! I was delighted that so many people came to our discussion.
Also at PGP table I brought along my iPad and headphones to showcase the exhibit at WNDR Museum. Click here to listen to the whole project!
It was a great time, but I was thrilled to get home to these two kids. We ate some macarons in bed, then got back to work.
More About AWP
The AWP conference is an annual event that brings together writers, publishers, literary agents, editors, and educators to discuss various aspects of the writing industry. Here are some of the best things about the conference that are often highlighted by attendees:
Networking: The AWP conference provides an excellent opportunity to meet and network with other writers, publishers, and industry professionals. Many attendees have found agents or publishers for their work at the conference, made important contacts, or found collaborators for future projects.
Learning: The conference offers a wide range of panels, lectures, and workshops on various topics related to writing, publishing, and the literary world. Attendees can learn about new writing techniques, industry trends, and marketing strategies.
Inspiration: The conference can be a source of inspiration for writers, especially those who may feel isolated in their writing practice. Hearing from successful writers and connecting with other writers can reignite a passion for writing and offer new ideas.
Bookfair: The conference hosts a massive bookfair with hundreds of publishers, literary magazines, and writing programs displaying their wares. Attendees can browse the fair, discover new books and literary journals, and meet with representatives from publishing houses.
Community: The AWP conference provides an opportunity for writers to connect with a larger community of writers and industry professionals. Many attendees find the conference to be a welcoming and supportive environment, where they can meet like-minded individuals and make lasting connections.