AWP – The Experience

Boston has just survived an invasion – an invasion of authors, writers, and writing programs.  AWP, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, descended on Boston on Wednesday, March 6th and left a trail of knowledge in its wake.  The conference ran from Wednesday through Saturday and offered hundreds of panels, workshops, speakers, and networking events.  Thousands of people from all over New England, the U.S., and the world came to Boston to discuss their stories, read their poems, and bask in Boston’s literary ambiance. Despite a reminder that winter was still here on Friday, conference-goers were not deterred from meeting their literary heroes and making career connections.

As a first-time AWP attendee, I was overwhelmed by the number of panels, readings, and workshops offered by the conference. There were so many offerings that I often found myself slipping out of one room and into another (panel-hopping).  The bulk of the conference was held in the Hynes Convention Center on Boylston Street.  This was a fitting venue as visitors to the conference had easy access to public transportation, restaurants, and shops.

The crown jewel of the conference was the Book Fair.  Held on two floors, the Book Fair was filled to the brim with literary magazines, journals, and presses.  I never knew so many literary magazines and journals existed.  I found myself picking up pamphlets, packets, and business cards from various tables.  Many colleges and universities were also in attendance showcasing their schools’ MFA and other writing programs.

In addition, this was an opportunity to purchase anthologies, books, and magazines of veteran and up and coming writers and poets.  The book fair was a marketplace where everyone jostled for my time and attention.  I had never felt so wanted!  As a nonfiction writer and aspiring poet, it was encouraging to find so many listings for my work.  In addition, I had the chance to hear valuable information on releasing my writing muse (music helps) and also helping my high school students become better writers. 

AWP, I was sad to see you go.  I learned so much and hopefully I can journey to Seattle when you go there in 2014!


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