Thursday, February 5, 2009

Everything You Need To Know About the AWP Conference

We're lucky at Roosevelt. Next week, the 2009 AWP Conference will descend upon the Chicago Hilton, and we'll be in the midst of it all.

Here's just a little preview of what to expect:

(In case you don't know, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference and bookfair is an annual gathering of authors, publishers, MFA programs, and publications. It's like a Comic-Con for Lit Buffs, packed full of seminars, readings, speeches by people you'd never get a chance to see anywhere else, and SWAG, of course.)

From noon to 7:00pm, you can pick up your registration badges on the lower level of the Chicago Hilton, which grants you access to all the fun. Even if you haven't pre-registered, there will be badges for sale.

Let slip the dogs of war. The labyrinthine bookfair opens at 8:30am (check out this massive list of exhibitors and try not to drool), including our very own Roosevelt MFA booth.

Starting at 9:00am, there will be over 100 seminars on everything you could possibly ask for: memoirs, Jewish poetry, getting published, the influence of hip-hop on literature, writing your first novel, you name it. Click here for the day's full schedule.

Featured Presenters
At 10:30am, Charles Baxter talks about writing in multiple genres (event R132).

At noon, Stuart Dybek and Aleksandar Hemon speak on urban settings (event R142), while Dorothy Allison discusses gay regionalism (event R143).

At 1:30pm, Charles Baxter, CJ Hribal, Wang Ping, Scott Russell Sanders, Sun Yung Shin, Luis Urrea, and Barrie Jean Borich will be part of the Loft Mentor Series Reading (event R160),

At 3:00pm, CJ Hribal talks about landscape in narrative (event R187), while Tyehimba Jess, Roger Sedarat, and Achy Obejas discuss writing outside of American culture (event R180).

At 4:30pm, catch a reading by Eric Bogosian (event R199) or Tyehimba Jess (event R209), or hear Haki Madhubuti talk about founding his own press.

After Dark
At 7:30pm, head over to Roosevelt's glorious Auditorium Theatre for the conference's keynote address by none other than Art Spiegelman, author of the Pulitzer-winning graphic novel Maus.

If that's not enough, head back over to the Hilton's third-floor Waldorf room around 10:00pm for the AWP Public Reception and Dance Party, where you'll find DJ Neza and free beer and wine. Read that again; it isn't a typo.

The bookfair's back, as are the hundred-something seminars ranging from contract advice, working with editors, teaching creative writing, gay and lesbian lit, writing historical fiction, and comics. Click here for Friday's sched.

Featured Presenters
At 10:30am, editor Kim Addonizio talks about compiling anthologies (event F120).

At noon, Major Jackson and Paul Muldoon talk about a writer's role in society (event F138).

At 1:30pm, Kwame Dawes, Valzhyna Mort, Brian Turner, and Katja Esson speak on traumatic poetry (event F156). Scott Blackwood will also preview his new novel, We Agreed To Meet Just Here (event F167).

At 3:00pm, catch a reading by Frank Bidart and Mary Jo Bang (event F175), or head to the National Book Award reading featuring Aleksandar Hemon, Marilynne Robinson, Bharati Mukherjee (event F174).

At 4:30pm, catch a reading with Kim AddonizioDavid Yezzi, Molly Peacock, David Mason, and Andrew Hudgins (event F193).

After Dark
After you grab dinner, head north on Michigan Ave to Roosevelt's Gage Gallery, where program director and author Scott Blackwood will celebrate the release of his AWP award-winning novel, We Agreed To Meet Just Here, at 8:30pm with a reading, jazz, and adult beverages.

Then, if you didn't get enough dancing and free drinks on Thursday, head back to the Hilton for round two.

Make your last run through the bookfair, and sit in on topics like writing young adult fiction, breaking genre boundaries, online lit mags, bad poems by great writers, translations, and writing in the Windy City. Here's Saturday's full schedule.

Featured Presenters
At 10:30am, Wang Ping discusses writing about mothers (event S124), while Haki Madhubuti talks about African Diaspora writers (event S136).

At noon, Haki Madhubuti speaks on Black Literature (event S139), while Kwame Dawes speaks on his cultural responsibilities as a poet (event S149), and Barrie Jean Borich discusses writing in the Midwest (event S143). Dorothy Allison also speaks on writing as a woman (event S140).

At 1:30pm, Honor Moore, Nick Flynn, Donald Hall, and Carolyn Forche talk about writing memoirs as a poet (event S158).

At 3:00pm, catch a reading by Paul Muldoon and a conversation with Alice Quinn (event S177), or a reading by Major Jackson (event S180), or Stuart Dybek (event S176). Frank Bidart will also read from the work of Elizabeth Bishop (event S173).

At 4:30pm, catch a reading by Naeem Murr (event S194), Charles Baxter (event S195), or Andrew Hudgins (event S193).

After Dark
AWP ends with a blast: celebrated actors B.D. Wong, Rita Wolf, and Isaiah Sheffer lend their talents to the reading of new short fiction. And don't forget DJ Neza and the free drinks again.


Jamie Winger said...

This is going to be an awesome week! I am so excited!

Alexander said...

free beer?!