For lack of an original term – I remain a bit shell shocked from my visit to AWP in Boston this past week. This was my first return to AWP since 2007 when I went while still in a MFA program.
My, how AWP has grown. More than 10,000 people, three massive convention halls for the book fair and hundreds of panels. I brought 36 pounds of No Red Pen: Writers, Writing Groups & Critique with me, and returned with 37 pounds of books picked up at the conference. Almost 100 writing programs received a free print copy of No Red Pen – hopefully they will find it useful for their students. “Did I mention the Ebook is free?” was my refrain when speaking with the “Influencers” about the book.
Highlights of my time in Boston – lunch with Andi Cumbo (God’s Whisper Manifesto: The Makings of a Dream) and friends P and Meghan K. Barnes (For the Love of God), visiting with Eloise Healy and a serendipitous encounter walking the book fair, moments with Katherine V. Forrest – Trailblazer and one of my personal literary heros, meeting Annie Rachele Lanzillotto when I walked by the SUNY publishing booth whose book, L is for Lion I just turned in a review for before flying off to AWP, the takeover of the Westin lobby for Kore Press‘s author readings, an intimate dinner discussing writing and life with two other authors, an invitation to send in an essay to Sinister Wisdom, and another author suggesting I write her agent using her name as reference, catching up with Charles Flowers and Bloom… and I did get to a few panels too.
If thinking about studying for the MFA – attend AWP first and check out the programs, hundreds of MFA and writing programs had representatives present. Looking for markets for your work – thousands of journals, many with free editions to hand out, had editors and volunteers at the book fair. Of course panels across a spectrum of subjects, numerous off site readings and if you are young enough to last that long, a dance party every night till midnight.