2017 awp conference & Bookfair February 8 —11, 2017 • Washington, dc



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2017 AWP Conference & Bookfair

February 8 —11, 2017 • Washington, DC

Washington Convention Center & Washington Marriott Marquis

Celebrating AWP’s 50th Anniversary!



Tentative List of Accepted Events for #AWP17


This list of accepted events for the 2017 AWP Conference & Bookfair in Washington, DC is tentative as we wait to receive confirmation from all event organizers and participants. It does not contain the featured events, which will be announced in late August. We are also working to ensure that each participant does not sit on more than two events, only one of which may be a reading. The final conference schedule will be posted in October to awpwriter.org.
The list is separated by panel discussions (pg. 2), pedagogy events (pg. 78), and readings (pg. 89). Within these categories, events are alphabetized by title. Event titles and descriptions have not been edited for grammar or content. AWP believes in freedom of expression and open debate, and the views and opinions expressed in these event titles and descriptions may not necessarily reflect the views of AWP’s staff, board of trustees, or members. For an explanation of the scoring and selection process, visit the How Events Are Selected page on our website.
AWP’s Conference Subcommittee worked hard to shape an inclusive schedule for #AWP17, creating the best possible balance among genres, presenters, and topics. Every year there are a number of high quality events that have to be left off the schedule due to space considerations. Although the pool of submissions was highly competitive, we did our best to ensure that the conference belongs to AWP’s numerous and varied constituencies. From 1,465 proposals, we tentatively accepted 522 events involving more than 2,000 panelists.
Contact us at events@awpwriter.org with any questions you may have about this list. For more information about the 2017 AWP Conference & Bookfair, including information about registration, hotels and travel, featured presenters, and the bookfair, please visit our website.

Panel Discussions




21st Century Troubadours. (Laura Minor, Keith Kopka, Robert Pinsky, Yusuf Komunyakaa, Rita Dove)

American contemporary poetics is traced back to the western European troubadour tradition. Music and poetry are inexorably linked throughout history, both demonstrating the pleasures of aurality, instrumentation, qualities of voice, and storytelling, Here, poet-musicians will discuss how music has informed their formal and thematic awareness of their work over time, as well how poetry has informed their musicianship.


A Celebration of Michael Collier. (Jennifer Grotz, Tom Sleigh, C. Dale Young, Alan Shapiro, Natasha Trethewey)

On the 30th anniversary of his appointment to the University of Maryland faculty, and in recognition of his twenty years as director of the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, this panel celebrates the writing, teaching, and literary citizenship of Michael Collier. In his many roles, he has sought to recognize, develop and provide opportunity for the pluralism of American writing to flourish. Panelists will discuss Collier's contributions to literary culture and read from his acclaimed body of work.


A Celebration of the Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation. (Aliki Barnstone, Dennis Maloney, James Kates, Carolyn Tipton)

Cliff Becker (1964-2005) was the National Endowment for the Arts Literature Director. Believing "translation is the medium through which American readers gain greater access to the world,” he expanded NEA support for translation. His widow, Leila, and daughter, Sahara, established the Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation, now administered through ALTA. The series editors will discuss how this unique publication prize fulfills Becker’s vision and the translators will read from their books.


A Chorus, a Community, a Welcome: 25 Years of DC Poetry Anthologies. (Grace Cavalieri, Joel Dias-Porter, Sarah Browning, Carlos Parada Ayala, Kim Roberts)

Anthologies can be powerful tools for place-making and community building. The editors of five landmark books speak to DC’s experience. The WPFW-FM Anthology, 25 years old this year, emerged from a popular radio show. The Black Rooster Collective, 20 years old, arose from a workshop. DC Poets Against the War was a group working for political change. Full Moon on K Street came out on the 10th anniversary of Beltway Poetry Quarterly. Al pie de la Casa Blanca gathers DC poets writing in Spanish.


A Novelist’s Job: the Realities, Joys, and Challenges. (Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Julia Fierro, Victor LaValle, Celeste Ng)

A novelist’s most important job is writing a great book. But say that’s done, and the book sold; what’s next? How does one master social media and the promotional partnership with a publisher? What are the financial realities of signing a book deal, or leading a “successful” novelist’s life? What are the pros and cons of teaching, starting a writing-adjacent business, or making ends meet on words alone? Our award-winning panelists offer hard-earned advice on building a sustainable career.


A Perfect Marriage: Literary Center and Independent Publisher Partnerships as Community Hubs. (Kyle Semmel, Chad Post, Marisa Atkinson, Chris Fischbach, Britt Udesen)

Independent literary centers provide an outlet for many writers and readers throughout the United States, often serving as the community's hotspot for literature. Although many literary centers are the main organ of a literary community, some are lucky enough to be close to one or more world-class independent publishers. This panel discusses how literary centers and independent publishers of all sizes and budgets can work together to create, develop, and expand their literary communities.


A Ph.D. Program in an MFA World. (Christine Lasek-White, Ed Pavlić, Mark Halliday, Derek Nikitas, Michael Mejia)

32 universities in the US have creative writing PhD programs. While different, most offer a 4-5 year course of study with creative dissertation. But what is the creative writing PhD and how is it different from the MFA? This panel will seek to answer that question by bringing together 4 universities offering this degree. Ohio U. (Midwest), U. of Utah (West), U. of Georgia (South), and the U. of Rhode Island (East) will discuss their programs specifically and the creative writing PhD in general.


A Poet and a Cartoonist Walk into a Bar: Collaboration Across Genres. (Autumn Stephens, Denise Duhamel, Kevin Killian, Chris Gavaler, Jonah Mixon-Webster)

Writing in collaboration with others leads to fresh creative ideas and thoroughly original work. As writers who have teamed up with painters, sound artists, cartoonists, actors, and musicians, these boundary-pushing panelists will share tips and techniques for productive, enjoyable collaborations. They will also address the common pitfalls of cross-disciplinary collaborations, and the philosophical and political implications of work that belongs to more than one creator.


A Tribute to Bill Knott (1940-2014). (Thomas Lux, Denise Duhamel, Jonathan Galassi, Heather McHugh, John Skoyles)

Knott was a highly original American poet, sometimes controversial, often reclusive. The panelists (Knott’s students, colleagues, publishers) will read his poems and comment on his life and work. The poems will be selected from *I Am Flying Into Myself: The Selected Poems of Bill Knott* (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Winter 2017). This book includes poems from his earliest volumes, when he wrote under the name of St. Geraud (1940-1966), through unpublished poems from the last decade of his life.


A Tribute to Edmund White. (Tom Cardamone, Alden Jones, Alexander Chee, Alysia Abbott, Patrick Ryan)

This panel celebrates the enduring and groundbreaking career of Edmund White, one of the most influential living gay writers. His provocative works of fiction, biography, memoir and criticism have sparked dialogues on the nature of the self in society for decades. Five writers—peers, colleagues, and those he has mentored—come together to discuss his work, life, and his influence on American letters. Edmund White will speak following the tribute.


A Tribute to Marie Ponsot. (Alice Quinn, Marilyn Hacker, Kevin Young, Marie Howe, Jonathan Wells)

This tribute reading holds aloft the work of Marie Ponsot, award-winning American poet, essayist, teacher, and translator, whose books include The Bird Catcher, winner of National Book Critics Circle Award, and the new Collected Poems, both from Alfred A. Knopf. Poets and writers will celebrate her unique place in contemporary letters, sharing and discussing their favorite poems, and addressing the impact Marie has had. Marie Ponsot will read as well.


A Tribute to the Great Grace Paley. (Marie Howe, Askold Melnyczyck, Nora Paley, Marilyn Young, AJ Verdelle)

As FSG publishes "The Grace Paley Reader," we will be reflecting on the life work of Grace Paley as poet, fiction writer, essayist, activist, teacher, and friend. Our panelist will read brief selections from Grace Paley's work and reflect on aspects of Grace's great gifts, reflecting as well on what her work might mean for a new generation of writers and activists. We hope that many of Grace Paley's friends and admirers will be present to join in the discussion and share stories.


ADAPTATION IN THREE ACTS: Adventures in Adapting Material for Scripts. (Elizabeth Searle, David Shields, Suzanne Strempek Shea, Danny Eaton)

Authors of multiple books who have segued into professionally produced script projects share samples of their adapted works and discuss with a playwright different forms of 'adaptation,' including adapting a book for film or stage, and adapting another author's work. Adaptation is an adventure. From collaborating on a successful 2016 Indie feature film to premiering work at a local theater, the authors will cover a range of stories and strategies and offer film clips plus mini 'performances.'


Advice to Nonprofit Organizations Seeking Funding from the NEA. (Jessica Flynn, Mohamed Sheriff, Amy Stolls)

Staff members from the Literature Division of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will address your questions and provide a status update on a range of topics, including grant opportunities, eligibility, the review process, tips for an effective proposal, policy trends, funding levels, and the future outlook for the agency and the field of literature. Both publishers and presenters are welcome.


African Diaspora Caucus. (Alyss Dixson, Jacqueline Jones LaMon, Sanderia Faye)

Uniting attendees from across disciplines, the African Diaspora Caucus will provide a forum for discussions of careers, best practices for teaching creative writing and obtaining the MFA/PhD. We will work with AWP’s affinity caucuses to develop national diversity benchmarks for creative writing programs, and will collaborate with board and staff to ensure that AWP programs meet the needs of diaspora writers. This Caucus will be an inclusive space that reflects the pluralities in our community.


Agents and Editors and Publishers, Oh my!: demystifying the business side of writing and publishing. (Whitney Davis, Tarfia Faizullah, Paula Munier, Joshua Shenk, Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum)

We've all been there: you've written the next great novel or collection but have no idea where to go from there. You've queried hundreds of agents and have submitted to book prizes and presses, but all you're hearing is crickets. You’d like to hire an editor but aren't sure who to trust or what services you need. You need more time away from everyday life to write, but you can't seem to score that writers' residency. Panelists will share their experiences and knowhow in the industry.


Agents of Change: Social Justice and Activism in the Literary Community. (Ashaki Jackson, Elmaz Abinader, Tony Valenzuela, Leigh Stein, Nicole Sealey)

How do we, as writers and literary arts organizers, bring about change in the greater literary community? And how do we move from intention and discussion about race, gender, and inequality to action? This panel brings together literary organizations to discuss their roles as social justice activists in the writing community. These prominent members of national literary organizations examine the current issues and challenges facing the community and the steps necessary to move forward.


American Smooth: A Tribute to Rita Dove. (Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Jericho Brown, Robin Coste Lewis, Natasha Tretheway, Rita Dove)

For over forty years, Rita Dove’s storied career earned her a Pulitzer Prize, the position of U.S. Poet Laureate, a National Humanities Medal, and a National Medal of Art. Among Dove’s many contributions to American letters is the vast and lasting impact on poets all over the nation. This diverse panel of poets will celebrate and pay homage to Rita Dove’s continued legacy and influence as poet, teacher, and trailblazer. Rita Dove herself will finish the session with a brief reading/speech.


Amplifying Unheard Voices: Dave Eggers, Mimi Lok, Vini Bhansali, Jennifer Lentfer. (Dave Eggers, Jennifer Lentfer, Rajasvini Bhansali, Mimi Lok)

In a world of 24-hour news cycles and soundbites, whose stories get heard, and whose don't? How can we challenge the single story portrayal of human rights issues, and of marginalized communities? A lively conversation about the power of the story in human rights, and the roles of two organizations (Voice of Witness, a literary and human rights nonprofit, and Idex, an international development organization) in amplifying unheard voices in the United States and around the world.


An Unfinished Conversation: Gender and Creative Writing. (Lisa Lewis, Aimee Parkison, Lisa Lee, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs)

This panel brings together women writers across generations to explore how gender continues to shape women's experiences of creative writing today from learning in or teaching the workshop to publishing work to administering a creative writing program. In relation to race, class, and sexuality, how has the position of women writers changed over time and where are we today with regard to our access to publication and positions of power within our communities or academic institutions?


Applying for an Individual NEA Creative Writing Fellowship. (Mohamed Sheriff, Jessica Flynn, Amy Stolls)

Want to know what the National Endowment for the Arts fellowships are all about? Staff members from the NEA’s Literature Division will discuss and advise on all aspects of the program, from submitting an application to how winning poets and prose writers are selected, as well as the impact the fellowships have had on the literary landscape. Plenty of time will be allotted for questions.


Arsenic Icing: Sentiment as Threat in Contemporary American Women's Poetry. (Cate Marvin, Jennifer Knox, Erin Belieu, Brenda Shaughnessy, Vievee Francis)

Five contemporary female American poets explore how sentimentality is deployed in 21st century women’s poetry, with regard to both content and rhetoric, as a means to counter traditional assumptions regarding female desire and identity. What personal and political

alchemies occur when the affectionate address verges on acerbic? What transformations are sought when a female speaker, once familiar as mother, daughter, sister, wife, or lover, employs sentiment to reveal herself as Other?
Art School Writing Faculty Caucus Meeting. (Monica Drake, Norman Leonard, Monica Bilson, Tonya M. Foster, Amy Lemmon)

Annual meeting of writers who work and teach in art and design environments to discuss pedagogy, programming, administration, and best practices particular to their writing classes and programs.


Asian American Caucus. (Ken Chen, Cathy Linh Che, Lawrence-Minh Davis, Sunyoung Lee)

What literary resources are available for Asian American writers? What does it mean to be an Asian writer in the 21st century? This 2nd Asian American caucus is not a panel or a reading, but an open town-hall-style hang out and community space. Come meet other Asian American writers and discuss fellowships, publication opportunities, and resources available for Asian American writers. Organized by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Kaya, Asian American Literary Review, and Kundiman.


Asian-American Poetics and Politics in the South: Self-Articulation and Solidarity. (Shamala Gallagher, Ching-In Chen, Sarah Gambito, Vidhu Aggarwal, Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello)

Perhaps more than any other American region, the South is constituted by its racial history, a harrowing black-and-white tale of subjugation—one in which Asian-American stories go largely untold. In this formally hybrid panel—half performance, half critical dialogue—five multi-genre writers from diverse Asian-American backgrounds, each of us tied to a Southern locale, insert ourselves as rogue elements into this dominant story, asking: what might it mean to be Asian American writing the South?


Ask An Indie! Bookstore Secrets Writers Need To Know. (Julia Callahan, Scott Abel, Benn Ray, Rachel Cass, Bradley Graham)

In February 2016, the NYT reported that indie bookstores are thriving, “registering a growth of over 30% since 2009” according to the ABA. This panel of indie bookstore managers, booksellers, buyers, and event staff will offer advice to writers who want to know more about store stock, placement, promotion, and how to book a reading event. In addition, our panelists will discuss the independent bookstore’s vital place in any community and how literary citizens can support them.


Assaying “Our Hybrid Thing”: The Cross-Pollination of Nonfiction Studies and Pedagogy. (Karen Babine, Ned Stuckey-French, Jenny Spinner, Taylor Brorby, Crystal Fodrey)

What is the place and purpose of nonfiction studies? How do nonfiction scholarship and pedagogy serve the larger community of writers and teachers? Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies aims to make the theoretical and practical conversations of nonfiction more accessible to writers, readers, students, teachers, and scholars. Assay’s editors and authors discuss the state of nonfiction studies and the role it can play in creative writing classrooms and programs.


Attempting the Impossible: Strategies for Writing Creative Biography. (Kathleen Rooney, Kelcey Ervick, Anthony Michael Morena, Sarah Domet, Sarah Blake)

Traditional biographers aspire to get out of the way of their subjects in order to render objective portraits. These panelists take the opposite approach, emphasizing the impossibility of ever creating such a portrait and using this not as a failure but as an opportunity for imagination and interactivity. They will present examples, research and writing methods, and mixed media techniques for adapting history into literature, offering new modes of presenting the past and the people in it.


Audio Drama and Podcasting: the Future is Now 2.0. (Lance Dann, Fred Greenhalgh, Ann Heppermann, Kc Wayland, Bryan Wade)

At AWP LA this panel had standing room only. The audio dramatic writing landscape has been transformed in the last decade by the exponential growth of podcasting. Audiences are no longer locked in the traditional appointment-listening model, but can tune in when they want. As in LA professional writers and producers will further discuss the craft of writing for this unique medium of the imagination. Learn how to engage audiences in our saturated media universe. Come early, if you want a seat.


Award-Winning Professional Publications with Preprofessional Staff: Mentorship and Applied Learning in Literary Publishi. (Holms Troelstrup, Steve Halle, Emily Louise Smith, Meg Reid, Kate A. McMullen)

The Publishing Laboratory at UNC Wilmington and the Publications Unit at Illinois State University have years of experience teaching the editing, design, production, and marketing of literary books and magazines. Panelists, including faculty, students, and alumni, detail the apprenticeship experience, best practices in applied learning, and the value of mentorship in the culture of literary publishing through creating professional materials for Ecotone, Lookout Books, SRPR, Obsidian, and FC2.


Back to the Future: 1923. (John Bradley, Curtis Crisler, George Kalamaras, Patrick Lawler, Susan Azar Porterfield)

D. H. Lawrence’s Birds, Beasts, and Flowers; Mina Loy’s Lunar Baedecker, Jean Toomer’s Cane; Wallace Stevens’ Harmonium, and W.C. Williams’ Spring & All. These five foundational books were all published in 1923. This panel will discuss the ways each book broke new ground, how they were received at the time, and what we can learn from them now.


Beautiful Mysteries: Science in Fiction and Poetry. (Robin Schaer, Amy Brill, Catherine Chung, Martha Southgate, Naomi Williams)

Einstein said: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” In search of those mysteries, poets and fiction writers mine the revelations and riddles of science to better understand the human condition. This panel will explore why botanists, astronauts, and climatologists populate the pages of modern literature; how writing advances ecological awareness; and how science is a metaphor and a lens to decode our beautiful universe.


Being the Change You Want to See: The New Literary Leadership. (Lisa Lucas, Ken Chen, Jennifer Benka, Britt Udesen, Andrew Proctor)

What will a new generation of literary leadership look like? While many literaryinstitutions have a reputation for being stodgy or slow-moving with regards to change, here are five directors who bring unique experience and fresh perspective to literary non-profits, national and local. We will discuss how youth, technology, and diversity can bring traditional literary institutions into the modern landscape and create a bold, more inclusive future for readers.



Believe It Or Not: On Portraying Religious Faith in Young Adult Literature. (Francisco X. Stork, Phoebe North, Kaye M., Christine Heppermann, Megan Atwood)

Religion and spirituality play a vital role in the lives of many teenagers, but few young adult novels meaningfully explore what that role is. Representing a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives, panelists will speak to the unique challenges of examining religious belief in books aimed at teens, give a detailed picture of how faith is currently depicted in young adult fiction and poetry, and suggest ways in which different types of religious expression can be more fully represented.


Best Behavior: Writers Negotiating Cultural Differences. (Gretchen Legler, Nancy Lord, Stephanie Elizondo Griest, Matteo Pistono)

Writers who experience cultures “foreign” to them face many challenges in portraying with both truth and sensitivity the places and lives they learn about. This is especially true when they’re welcomed into homes and intimate settings, and where realities may not match up to what has been mythologized or romanticized.

Nonfiction writers who’ve lived in or traveled among diverse cultures will discuss how they’ve balanced honesty with respect and served both readers and hosts with their writing.

Best Reading Ever: Crafting Literary Events in Non-Traditional Spaces. (Timothy Denevi, Andre Perry, Sarah Baline, Chris Maier, Emma Snyder)

Is there a secret to pulling off a successful literary event? Why do so many well-planned readings fall flat? How can we rethink traditional assumptions of structure and venue in fresh, invigorating ways? Panelists will share their extensive professional experiences and provide practical advice. Topics of discussion include cultural salons, writing festivals, literary-outreach at nonprofit foundations, and event-planning for independent booksellers.



Beyond “Show, Don’t Tell”: How to Give (and Get) Truly Dynamic Feedback. (Neil Connelly, Cheryl Klein, Jill Santopolo, Shawn K. Stout)

From workshop to marketplace, everyone agrees that constructive criticism is crucial. But what are the secrets to more meaningful feedback? Editors from two major publishing houses join with three of their writers to share the approaches and winning techniques that have worked best for them—in the industry and in the classroom. Whatever your experience or preferred genre, you'll hear specific strategies for offering criticism with a keener eye and listening with a more receptive ear.



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