What I’m Looking Forward to at AWP…

The AWP Conference & Bookfair is upon us! This year, the event will be held in Minneapolis from April 8 – 11th. I’m excited since this will be my first time in the Star of the North state and my first time attending the conference. Past editor and author attendees have written that AWP is overwhelming and advise everyone to have specific goals in mind when they attend. Consequently, I wanted to take a minute to share what I’m looking forward to and what I hope to accomplish while I’m there.

Let’s get the fun stuff out of the way first:

  • Author signings: Three of my favorite fabulist writers will be there for book signings. I can’t wait to meet Kate Bernheimer, Kelly Link, and Karen Russell and get books signed.
  • The bookfair: I’ve heard incredible things about the bookfair and have to check out other literary magazines and small presses, talk shop with editors, and discover new authors.
  • Panels: While not all panels will live up to their promise, I’m excited to hear what authors have to say about creating literary magazines, writing “unlikable” characters, conducting research for fiction, creating dark fiction, and finding their voices. I’m especially eager to hear Roxane Gay, Kate Bernheimer, and Karen Russell discuss their writing processes.
  • Camaraderie: I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that I’m pumped to spend time outside of Rosemont with my peers and the program directors. After two years, I’m still settling into Philadelphia (by way of Brooklyn) and feel as if I’m finally starting to make friends…thanks to Rosemont. This event will give me a chance to connect with this lovely like-minded group outside of the classroom.

Now lets get serious. I’m kidding, because my goals for AWP aren’t insufferable (unlike doing my taxes, which I should get done before I board the plane!):

  • Represent Rosemont: Naturally, I’ll be “womanning” the booth for part of the time. I’m happy to talk to AWP attendees, authors, editors, and potential students about Rosemont’s Master’s in Creative Writing and Master’s in Publishing, not to mention the Rathalla Review.
  • Recon: Next year, I’ll be the managing editor of the Rathalla Review, which means I should explore what other literary magazines are publishing and what design elements they have that make them stand out. I want to observe the mind blowing and the not so amazing so I have clear ideas what the lit mag staff should strive for and what we should avoid.
  • Networking: Since I run my own writing, editorial, and creative services company, I figured I would introduce myself to publishers of all sizes to offer my services in the future. I can’t wait to connect with those who are making good books and literary magazines happen.
  • Observe: Like any conference, I’m sure I will learn what works at a conference of this size and what doesn’t. I’m also sure I will learn a lot about my peers, the industry, and how to plan for next year’s conference. Of course, I hope to have some fun as I pay attention to what’s happening.

That’s all for now. If you are attending AWP, visit us at Booth #1600.

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