AWP Nugget: What You Missed at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference

I’ve returned from snowy Boston and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference. It was a mixed bag for me. There were a couple of sessions that were really solid, and I met a handful of interesting editors on the Bookfair floor that I may follow up with at some point. I also attended …

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AWP Nugget: The Bubbling Debate over Self-Publishing

BOSTON — The fireworks didn’t come during the panel session, which is a good thing, because every square inch of the floor was covered by attendees. Pyrotechnics in rooms violating fire codes never end well. But the figurative fireworks came that night, assisted with alcohol. I refer here to the third rail of our modern …

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AWP Nugget: Takeaways from Nobel Laureates Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott

BOSTON — If you’re given an hour to sit down and listen to two Nobel-Prize-winning writers, you do so. I am still in my infancy when it comes to my understanding and appreciation of poetry and poets, but I made a point to attend the Thursday evening 8:30 pm keynote with Seamus Heaney and Derek …

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AWP Nugget: Tips for Writers Looking for the Tenure-Track Teaching Job

BOSTON — You love to write. You need to earn a living. Why not teach what you love? You’re not the first person to think of that. Every person with an MFA has entertained that fantasy, and many more writers beyond that. Here at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs 2013 conference, four writing …

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AWP Nugget: Hey Writers, Let’s Meet Up in Person in Seattle in 2014!

BOSTON — One emotion I have always felt at the AWP creative writers conference is jealousy. Jealousy of the talent and success of the panelists and readers. Jealousy of the way so many writer attendees approach literary editors on the Bookfair floor without fear. But, mostly, jealousy of how so many attendees have made the …

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AWP Nugget: Left-Brain Planning for a Right-Brain Conference

The process of creating art fires neurons in the right side of our brains. Planning and organization processes in the left side. Planning the most creative use of one’s time at North America’s largest literary conference requires whole-brain thinking. Every artist I interviewed  on my cross-country U.S. road trip understood the role of planning in …

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AWP Nugget: 9 Tips for a Successful AWP

I’m back from Chicago and in recovery mode from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference. I posted every day from the conference; now I’m wrapping up the series with a list of tips I’ll remember for next year’s AWP in Boston: Favor the Bookfair: It’s tempting to attend panel after panel. But …

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AWP Nugget: Finding the RIGHT Voice(s)

AWP, CHICAGO: “As a beginning writer I was told to find my voice,” as if it were something lost, Sue William Silverman said at a Friday AWP panel titled “Containing Multitudes: Shifting Voices in Fiction and Creative Nonfiction.” “Was it under the bed?” Then Sue–author of the best-selling memoirs Because I Remember Terror, Father, I …

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AWP Nugget: Immersion Writing

AWP, CHICAGO: Egads. I’m here to learn, but I wasn’t expecting to find myself facing fundamental questions about my work-in-progress. I do live a life open to possibility, however, and you can’t always control how possibility will manifest. Allow me to back up a bit. I attended a Friday morning AWP panel titled “The Writer …

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AWP Nugget: Margaret Atwood on Art and Craft

AWP, CHICAGO: Margaret Atwood’s books are works of art built though painstaking craft. The same can be said of the remarkable Auditorium Theatre at Chicago’s Roosevelt University, the setting for her keynote address here at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference Thursday night. The Auditorium Theatre is from another age, a gilded …

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