Off and running at AWP15

The Writer's associate editor shares reflections from AWP 2015.

IMG_4160“Happy AWP!” I heard as I was walking to my third panel of the first day at AWP 2015 in Minneapolis. I looked to my left to see two people embracing, huge smiles on their faces. It is, in fact, a happy occasion.

As a first-time AWP-er, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Yes, I’d be behind The Writer‘s table. (#2047, come visit us!) Yes, I’d be attending panels. Yes, I’d be shaking lots of hands and connecting with lots of writers. What I didn’t anticipate was the scale of the event and the enthusiasm of attendees.

Of the five panel discussions I heard, two in particular stood out. The first was about flash nonfiction and whether it will replace long-form creative nonfiction and personal essays. Interestingly, the panelist’s opinions were split. Kelly Sundberg, editor at Brevity, cited flash as her favorite genre, while author Mai Neng Moua admitted to not understanding flash all that much. After reading her first flash  piece, she was left wondering, “Is that it?” Sundberg, though, drew the comparison between a sonnet and an epic poem. Does the former detract from the latter? She argued that it does not.

The other inspiring panel was one about the unique voice that biracial authors can give to a story. And indeed, the unique stories themselves. What began straightforwardly as “My name is X and this is my story” turned into a moving therapy-like session between a group of writers facing similar struggles.

Back at The Writer‘s table, my colleagues and I met many of our subscribers, in addition to other writers looking for a little more craft inspiration. We were happy to help them find some by giving out free copies of our magazine and steering them in the direction of the issues that best addressed their writing interests.

Join us today for day #2 of AWP15. We’ll be live tweeting.  And if you’re nearby table #2047 (wayyyy back in the corner), stop by. We promise to make the time worthwhile by talking craft and filling you in on how The Writer can support your work.


Read our overview of AWP15.

Originally Published

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