Electric Literature’s Guide to AWP ‘17

We’ll see you at booth 543-T in Washington, D.C.!

This is the Library of Congress in Washington DC. The AWP conference will be held in a harshly lit conference hall somewhere nearby. Photo: Dren Pozhegu on Flickr.

In just two short days, the 2017 AWP Conference and Bookfair will be underway in Washington D.C. All the the cool-kid writers, teachers, students, editors, and publishers will be there, including Electric Literature. For our readers who are among the estimated 12,000 attendees, we’d love to see you! EL’s editors will be participating several panels and off-site readings, listed below. (Information about writers protesting Trump is here.) We’ll also be tabling Thursday through Saturday at booth 543-T. Make sure to stop by to play AWP bingo and high-five a hungover editor.

EL Executive Director Halimah Marcus and Catapult Contributing Editor Jonathan Lee at some other AWP

You also won’t want to miss the chance to buy Papercuts at a discounted price of $20 (they’re expected to sell out fast)!

Thursday, February 9th

From Writing Student to Editor: Preparing Yourself for the Editorial Job Market

Electric Literature’s interim Social Media Editor, Kyle Lucia Wu, joins Prairie Schooner’s Ashley Strosnider, Southern Humanities Review’s Aaron Alford, and Sarabande’s Ariel Lewiton to discuss editorial careers for writers.

Event Description: Not all graduate students in creative writing seek teaching jobs after graduation. How might you prepare for the editorial job market while earning your creative writing degree? The editors on this panel share how they landed editorial positions soon after — or even during — their graduate studies.

Time: 9:00 am to 10:15 am

Location: Room 202A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two

A Field Guide for the Craft of Fiction: Finding Structure

Featuring EL’s Contributing Editor, Kelly Luce, along with other panelists: Michael Noll, Manuel Gonzales, Daniel José Older, and LaShonda Barnett

Event Description: When talking about narrative structure, we often focus on the macro: three acts, plot points, beginnings, and endings. But there are micro ways to think about structure while working with character, dialogue, the movement through time and space, and shifts between interiority and exterior action. Authors of literary, fantasy, and YA fiction featured in the forthcoming Field Guide for the Craft of Fiction will discuss how they developed (and stumbled upon) structure in their novels and stories.

Time: 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Location: Virginia Barber Middleton Stage, Sponsored by USC, Exhibit Halls D & E, Convention Center, Level Two

Writers To Protest Trump at AWP 2017

In the Box/Out of the Box: Writing With/Against Your Gender/Race/Ethnicity/Etc.

Featuring EL’s Contributing Editor, Kelly Luce, along with other panelists: Bich Minh Nguyen Nguyen, Rob Spillman, Christian Kiefer, and Derek Palacio

Event Description:As fiction writers, we often feel pressure to write inside the confines our own experience, as defined by our ethnic identity, gender, sexual orientation, economic class, and so on. This panel explores the edges and interstices of that pressure. In what contexts is it acceptable to write outside such confines? In what contexts is it not? What does “diversity” mean when creating a fictional world? As writers, who has cultural permission to press past the confines of one’s own identity?

Time: 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Location: Room 202A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two

The Willow Springs, Okey-Panky, Pacifica Tent Show Revival Reading to Save America

Event Description: Our weekly magazine of literary oddities, Okey-Panky is co-hosting with off site event with readings by Okey Panky’s Editor-in-Chief, Robert Lennon along with Okey-Panky contributors Dinty W. Moore, Su-Yee Lin, Elissa Washuta, Swati Prasad, and Samuel Ligon, Electric Literature contributors Kim Addonizio, Margaret Malone, and Kaj Tanaka, along with future-EL contributors Robert Lopez and Gary Lilley.

Time: 6:00 pm

Location: The Boundary Stone, 116 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington DC, 20001 (This is an offsite event!)

Friday, February 10th

Years of Soft Skull: Nonfiction from the Next Generation

Electric Literature Founder Andy Hunter joins Steven Church, Joe Bonomo, Jill Talbot as they read from their work and discuss the reboot of venerable indie-press Soft Skull. (Andy is stepping in for Dan Semeka.)

Event Description: Four writers representing a wide range of styles, interests, and subjects, while still embodying the Soft Skull spirit, will read from their latest nonfiction books and discuss their experiences writing, editing, and publishing their work with one of the country’s more unique and influential small presses. Their subjects include music and pop culture, savagery, love, loss, and family dynamics; and their forms vary from collections of essays to memoir to the book-length essay.

Time: 10:30 am to 11:45 am

Location: Room 206, Washington Convention Center, Level Two

MFA or Bust?

Featuring Recommended Reading’s Assistant Editor, Brandon Taylor, along with Nancy Hightower, Amber Sparks, Stephanie Feldman, and Mitchell Jackson

Event Description: For increasing numbers of writers, MFA programs are an entry to the publishing world. How does this trend affect writers without the degree? What kinds of nonacademic credentials can help all writers in their careers? How does one become part of a literary community? What are the attitudes towards writers who do not teach? This diverse panel discusses the increasing cross-pollination between writers with MFAs and writers with other academic degrees that create a stronger literary community.

Time: 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Location: Liberty Salon N, O, & P, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four

Going to AWP? Play Electric Lit’s AWP Bingo

Saturday, February 11th

The Thin Place: A Tribute to Kathryn Davis

J. Robert Lennon, Editor-in-Chief of Okey-Panky, will join Alice Sola Kim and Kate Bernheimer in a discussion moderated by Anton DiSclafani. (J. Robert Lennon is stepping in for Michael Taeckens, who can no longer attend. )

Event Description: Kathryn Davis is widely considered by critics to be one of the most important women writers of the 20th and 21st centuries. Across seven stylistically breathtaking novels she has challenged and inspired a generation of readers, and ignited a movement of diverse, fabulist, posthuman, feminist authors. Her books constantly and electrifyingly ask the question of what is possible on the page. Students and colleagues of Davis speak about her work, ending with a reading from Davis herself.

Time: 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Location: Room 209ABC, Washington Convention Center, Level Two

Andy Hunter is the Chief Operating Officer of Catapult and the Publisher of Lit Hub. He is also a founder of Electric Literature and serves on its Board of Directors.

J. Robert Lennon is the author of two story collections and seven novels. He teaches writing at Cornell University and is the Editor-in-Chief of Okey Panky.

Kelly Luce is the author of Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail and the novel Pull Me Under. A contributing editor at Electric Literature, she is a 2016–17 Radcliffe Institute fellow.

Brandon Taylor is a PhD candidate in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He was a 2015 Lambda Literary Fiction Fellow, and is the Assistant Editor of Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading. His writing has appeared in Chicago Literati, Wildness, and Out Magazine Online.

Kyle Lucia Wu is the managing editor of Joyland and a PEN prison writing mentor. She has an MFA in fiction from The New School.

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