Tuesday, February 25, 2014

On the way to AWP

I'm on the way to Seattle tomorrow to attend the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) annual conference - the largest literary conference in North America. There are 650 exhibitors at the bookfair this year, including the brand-new Bay Path College  No-Residency MFA in Creative Nonfiction, the only program of its kind in the country.  We'll have a table with our faculty books and program materials, where I will be joined by gifted writers and fellow MFA faculty Susan Ito, Audrey Ferber, and Jan Freeman for book signings, talks, and outreach.  Our goal?  Make contact with as many of the 12,000 conference attendees as we can and spread the word about what we think is the most exciting new MFA in the literary landscape.   

Goal #2 is, frankly, to revel in the abundance of creative inspiration: brilliant writers like Annie Proux, Sherman Alexie, Tobias Woolf, and Amy Tan, who will be there to give readings and participate in talks about writing and books.  Panels on everything from publishing in the 21st century to social media for writers to the broadening horizons for creative nonfiction (the magazine Creative Nonfiction is hosting a can't-miss 20th anniversary reading).  Social events including a "Tweet-up" for writers and a literary bash on Saturday night. 

This event, for writers and teachers, is a dizzying celebration of all things literary, a four-day bacchanalia of books and conversation, where lovers of language and writing can binge on the pleasures of lit-talk 24/7.   Think of it as a writers' nirvana (albeit in a corporate convention center), where we can learn from another, make new discoveries, and remind ourselves why we do what we do.  To say I'm excited is a profound understatement.  I going to take as much as I can to bring back with me, fill my rucksack with rubies and diamonds, as it were, and return to share them with you.  So get ready.  Literary riches are coming your way.

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