AWP: Day One

Setting up & already networking at earth’s biggest writers’ confab.

Actually I took this photo—accidentally—in Europe. But it fits my image of AWP.

Actually I took this photo—accidentally—in Europe. But it fits my fond memory of my last AWP: busy & kinda blurry . . . Richard

Guest Post by Janice Gary

I arrived in Boston a day earlier than the start of the conference courtesy of Winter Storm Sandy. With time on my hands, I was able to help Goucher MFA Director Patsy Sims set up her table and get an inside look at the Expo Center. So what happens early? Folks drag their posters and brochures and books into the halls, greet old friends, and the registration madness begins. You also get a sense of absolutely massive an operation this is.

While I sat at the Goucher table waiting for Patsy to come back with a stapler for the already fallen signage, Andrew Keating, the managing editor of Cobalt stopped by and before I knew it, we were discussing the state of publishing, the importance of e-books on print, his experience after publishing his first book, and how great it was to be here.

Although the sessions had yet to begin and most of the Expo Hall was still empty, the conference had begun. For me, discussions like the one Andrew and I had are the heart of what this conference is about: a chance for writers to gather together and talk shop. It’s a rare and wonderful thing.

So on to the main event. So much to choose from. Just flipping through the 322 page program can make you dizzy. My plan: to concentrate on nonfiction panels, allow time to catch up with old friends, make new ones, not get too exhausted or too overwhelmed and to write a little for Narrative about some of the sessions and hear from other Narrative readers attending the conference.

There are some great panels to attend on the REAL Day One: The Unreliable Narrator in Creative Nonfiction, Bending Genre, Thoreau’s Granddaughter’s Women Writing the Wild. And of course, four huge ballrooms worth of expo. Let the games begin.

Janice Gary

Janice Gary lives and writes in Annapolis, Maryland, on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Her book, Short Leash: A Memoir of Dog Walking and Deliverance, is due out from Michigan State University Press in 2013.


Filed under creative nonfiction, MFA, teaching, education

7 responses to “AWP: Day One

  1. Thanks for the upate, Janice. I couldn’t make it but have lots of friends there. Enjoy!

    • Hope you can make next year’s event in Seattle. Here’s a tip: book the conference hotel early– really early. I swear it fills up the minute they release the room.

  2. Looking forward to your reporting live from AWP, Jan.

  3. Thanks, Janice! I look forward to reading many AWP posts now that I’m home. After I digest everything that I took in, it will be good to see what others thought about the conference and what they got out of it.

    This was my first AWP and I was a little nervous and anxious. But I got some good advice before I went. I think I found a good balance of attending panels, wandering the book fair, and socializing with friends. I had a couple of goals before I went and I think I met them. Still have to finish digesting!

  4. Yes, it can be overwhelming. I’m spending the day digesting (OK– maybe two days). Despite everything, it is wonderful to be with so many other writers and have the luxury to be with those who love it as much as we do. Sounds like you did great for your first time. Now you’re no longer an AWP virgin!

    • Your last line will probably be the title of my next blog post 🙂

      I would love to go to Seattle next year, but I’m not sure I’ll have the funds to do so. In 2015 it’s in Minneapolis (an hour from my home), so it will be nice to not have to buy a plane ticket!