The AWP Conference & Bookfair is an essential annual destination for writers, teachers, students, editors, and publishers.This year, many of our fellow SFPA members and other speculative poets and publishers were participants at the gathering Washington DC.
Each year more than 12,000 attendees take part in four days of dialogue, networking, and unrivaled access to the organizations and opinion-makers that matter most in contemporary literature. Among confirmed speculative poets we know were there were F.J. Bergmann, Deborah Kolodji, Lawrence Schmiel, Joanne Merriam, E. Kristin Anderson, Mark Danowsky,Marlena Lynne, Danez Smith, Susan Elbe, and Stacey Balkun! If you were there, too, let us know what you thought of this year’s conference.
E. Kristin Anderson noted that in the future we need a booth and to visit and interact with other organizations like VIDA, various caucuses, and tmainstream mags and presses across the gamut to let them know about our prizes and contests. F.J. Bergmann identified several excellent candidates for the Elgin Awards, and many reported great conversations and readings throughout their time there, although, as one might imagine, it was at times exhausting and energizing.
Over 2,000 presenters and 550 readings, panels, and craft lectures were held, as well as a bookfair with over 800 presses, journals, and literary organizations from around the world. This time around we did not have an opportunity to survey how many of them actively published speculative poetry, but it is something to consider in the future.
AWP is now the largest literary conference in North America. They will be going to Tampa, FL, in 2018. Florida has a dozen SFPA members in good standing and six lapsed members Hopefully we’ll be able to see a strong SFPA presence that year for our 40th anniversary! If you’d like to be involved or have ideas on how to make this happen, let us know!