Blogging My Way Through the AWP Conference

Photo attribution Daniel Schwen (

This morning I hop on a train to the AWP Conference and Book Fair in Chicago! It’s time to put my iPad blogging skills (and Blogsy app) to use by “blogging” the conference; I’ll be posting updates on sessions, the book fair, and anything else of interest (WiFi access permitting).

Here is my tentative list of sessions to attend on Thursday:

9 a.m.: Flash Points: Publishing Flash Fiction in an Evolving Landscape

(Glenn Shaheen, Roxane Gay, Nancy Stebbins, Edward Mullany, Adam Peterson)

Editors from PANK, NANO Fiction, matchbook, SmokeLong Quarterly, and the Cupboard discuss trends they see in the flash fiction submitted to their journals. What are some tropes they’re tired of?  Things they wish they’d see more often? Are prose poems and flash fiction pieces scrutinized differently when submitted? Join the editors as they attempt to (briefly, of course) characterize the landscape of contemporary flash fiction and give advice to those who are submitting their shortest work.

10:30 a.m.: Purloining the Letter: Using the Correspondence of Others in Our Prose and Fiction

(Diane Simmons, Rachel Hall, Louise Steinman, Tyrone Williams, Douglas Dechow)

The Manhattan Project, the French Resistance and the War of the Pacific, masculinity in the Midwest, and bigamy on the West Coast: fiction writers, memoirists, and poets discuss their engagement with topics both momentous and intimate through the medium of personal correspondence. To be explored: the letter as window on history; as revealing physical artifact; as intimate source of character, voice, and plot; as extension of professional communication; as site of ethically dubious snooping; and more.

Noon: A Reading from the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop Instructors

(David Lynn, David Baker, Nancy Zafris, Rebecca McClanahan, Geeta Kothari)

Held annually in the month of June, the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop is a week-long residential writing experience that focuses on the generation of new material in an intimate, creative, and productive setting. This reading by recent faculty offers the opportunity to hear the work of returning instructors and will include an audience guided Q&A about Kenyon’s process-oriented approach.

1:30 p.m.: The Tech-Empowered Writer: Embrace New Media, Experiment, and Earn

(Christina Katz, Jane Friedman, Seth Harwood, Robert Lee Brewer)

What can a professor, a journalist, a novelist, and a poet teach you about new media? Using real-life examples from our own experience and that of other tech-savvy writers, we’ll construct a composite of how working writers use technology to invest in their careers, experiment and launch new works, and grow their income opportunities. Whether you need a day job, a part-time job, or just enough gigs to pay a few bills, there have never been so many ways for tech-savvy writers to earn.

3:00 p.m.: What about Blog?: How Blogging Can Propel Your Career and Polish Your Craft

(Sarah Klenakis, Turi Fesler, Claire Bidwell Smith, Rachel Vogel, Caitlin Leffel)

Sure, lots of writers blog, but what can you do to actually capitalize from your daily posts? A writer, editor, literary agent, and blog sponsor come together to discuss what appeals to them when reading online, how you can better attract followers, make money from your blogging, and possibly even find a job. From sharing success stories to blogging “don’ts,” this panel will clarify the murky waters that surround online writing.

Will you be there? What do you want to know from the conference? 

11 thoughts on “Blogging My Way Through the AWP Conference

    • Frances, please do let me know if you’ll be there, even if only to catch a quick cup of coffee and finally meet in person! (I hope the things that have up are good and not worrisome).

  1. Your blogging schedule is more ambitious than mine! I plan to post one “AWP Nugget” each day, and I’m also doing a guest AWP post for Brevity. I am still deciding which panels to go to (there are multiple ones I like at different times), but I really want to make time for the trade show floor, that’s where I’ve really enjoyed myself at these (this is my 4th in a row). I’ll count on your blog to fill me in on what I’m missing!

    • Patrick, methinks my ambitions may need to be scaled back a bit, but I’ll see what I can do! (I just downloaded the WordPress app for iPhone).

      I’m also doing a Brevity post, but I’m not sure how that works–mine is on Friday, so I’ll follow the lead of you and others. 🙂 It would be terrific if we could bump into each other at some point.

  2. Hi Lisa,

    I hope you’ll take a moment and swing by the Typecast Publishing booth in the exhibition hall. It’s a wonderful independent press dedicated to beautiful, quality work. My dear friend Jen Woods runs it – she’s so full of amazing ideas and incredible energy; it’s a gift to be in the same room with her. They are also the publisher of my husband’s book, but I just make the referral because they do such good work. Please tell her I sent you!

  3. I’ll second Gwyn’s recommendation of Typecast. Jen is an amazing editor and advocate for writers. They’re in the Table X section, sharing a table with Hangman and Forklift, Ohio. All good people who are worth knowing. I really wish I could be at AWP this year.

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