The Best of Indie AWP: Thursday Edition

To help you get the most out of your AWP conference, we’ve compiled a daily (and nightly) guide for the best readings, panels, and parties from indie presses and lit mags.


Melville House 12th Anniversary Reading

9–10:15am in The Redwood Room
Melville House was founded in 2001 by co-publishers Dennis Johnson and Valerie Merians and is based in Brooklyn. Over the past decade, Melville House has published leftist political reportage, avant-garde fiction, titles in translation, poetry, and cookbooks, while launching the Art of the Novella series, the Neversink Library, and the Melville House International Crime series. The publishers will join authors to present brief readings.”

Stacking the Stacks: Getting Indie Lit Books and Journals into Libraries

9–10:15am in The Cedar Room
“Independent literary publishers want their books and magazines in libraries, and librarians want that, too. However, libraries increasingly build their collections based on patron demand and other economic factors. Librarians, learn how to best identify indie lit for your collections. Indie lit publishers, learn how to get noticed by librarians.”

Shouting in a Crowded Room: Challenges in Expanding Small Press Readership

10:30–11:45am in Room 606
“A publisher, publicist, and a small press librarian discuss the challenges of expanding the audience of independent literature. Often driven by love over profit, small press, and independent publishers are producing some of the most urgently interesting work on the market, but reaching new audiences is often challenging. In this panel, representatives from Red Lemonade, The Lit Pub, and Mellow Pages will discuss solutions to this problem while working with limited time and marketing budgets.”

Don’t Hate Your Life: Redesign Your Comp Class

10:30–11:45am in Rooms 613/614
“Experienced composition writing professors share strategies for how to design a course that will engage students and not overwhelm instructors with unending piles of grading or grammar instruction. Using course texts ranging from Didion to Real Housewives, we will share practical and useful approaches for syllabus design, student success, managing your grading workload, and juggling multiple employers.”

Creative Nonfiction’s 20th Anniversary Reading

12–1:15pm in Rooms 618/619/620
“A reading in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Creative Nonfiction magazine. Creative Nonfiction was the first literary magazine to publish nonfiction exclusively, and for two decades the magazine has featured prominent authors such as Gay Talese, Phillip Lopate, and Adrienne Rich while helping to launch the careers of some of the genre’s most exciting emerging writers. Help us celebrate and honor Creative Nonfiction’s dedication to this still-expanding genre.”

Literary Politics: White Guys and Everyone Else

12–1:15pm in Room 612
“Even when women writers lean in, they’re rarely afforded equal respect. This we know, post-VIDA counts and other depressing statistics. But race and sexual orientation can also brand you as an identity author constrained to talk about your people rather than the big questions of literature. Rather than the usual one-note focus on gender discrimination, this moderated panel of diverse writers discusses the challenges they’ve faced and why it’s still mostly a straight white men’s club.”

Fabulist Fiction for a Hot Planet

12–1:15pm in Room 400
“This panel of fabulists explores how eco-conscious fabulism is changing the literary landscape and public imagination. Panelists survey this trend in a collage of eco-fabulism from Kevin Brockmeier, Paolo Bacigalupi, Julia Slavin, Blake Butler, Alissa Nutting, and others. They dissect its writerly effects, pedagogical uses, and potential political and social reach in the world. Read it. Write it. Teach it. Eco-fabulism is the future and a way that writers can help save the world.”

Writing Rules I Break, Presented by The Southampton Review

1:30–2:45pm in Room 3B
“Writing workshop leaders often focus on the rules of narrative arc, point of view, characterization, and punctuation. But the rule breakers of today are the rule makers of the canon. How can we know when to stretch and bend literary principles? A craft talk by writers who know the rules and know when to circumvent them, this panel, which includes fiction writers, memoirists, literary review editors, and a poet, considers when and how rule breakers are able to create livelier, more exciting work.”

I’m Just Not That Into You: Unsympathetic Characters in Fiction

1:30–2:45pm in Room 612
“American readers, workshops, and editors are often partial to sympathetic characters, but where does that leave contemporary Humbert Humberts and Anna Kareninas? A panel consisting of writers, editors, and an agent will address likeability in fiction. Is it crucial that our characters be sympathetic? Do we expect more likeable characters in fiction written by female rather than male writers? How does an agent approach the submission process if the novel’s protagonist is deemed unsympathetic?”

Beef Jerky, Bras, and Car Parts: What We Write About When We Write for Money

1:30–2:25 in Room 303
“F. Scott Fitzgerald did it, Salman Rushdie did it, Don DeLillo did it — it is no surprise that many serious writers have earned their rent money by writing copy for advertisements. The poets and novelists on this panel discuss their anecdotal experiences of technical and review writing (including about lingerie, car parts, and porn) — and how the peculiarities of this work sustained, flattened, inspired, or challenged their own literary writing and sense of self. Sellouts? Or workhorses? You decide.”

How to Do It Now: New Trends in Literary Publishing

1:30–2:45pm Rooms 618/619/620
“Hear from some of America’s leading publishing experts on what’s new now and what’s likely to happen next for independent literary publishers.”

Let’s Avoid a Quick Death, Please: Starting and Sustaining a New Literary Publication
3:00–4:15pm in Room 301
“This panel explores the process of starting and sustaining a new literary publication. Countless small presses and journals launch every year only to die after a couple issues. Let’s talk with some people who avoided that fate. This panel will discuss how to choose the right publishing medium, secure funding, attract readers, and deal with unexpected hurdles.”

The Kenyon Review 75th Anniversary Reading

3:00–4:15pm in Room 304
“A reading from writers featured in the Winter 2014 issue of The Kenyon Review, our 75th anniversary issue. The Winter 2014 issue marks our ongoing commitment to publish the very best writing from established and emerging writers. Founded in 1939 at Kenyon College and first edited by poet-critic John Crowe Ransom, The Kenyon Review continues in its 75th year to celebrate writing that maps the spiritual, intellectual, and emotional tides of our contemporary culture.”

A Reading and Conversation with David Guterson and Erik Larson, Sponsored by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and Seattle Arts & Lectures

4:30–5:45pm in Ballroom ABC
“Authors David Guterson and Erik Larson read from recent books and engage in a discussion moderated by Peter Mountford on their work, genre overlap, and the literary arts in the Pacific Northwest.”

It Would Of Been A Good Panel If It Had Been Somebody There To Shoot It Every Minute Of Its Life: Contemporary Writers on Teaching Flannery O’Connor

4:30–5:45pm in Room 607
“Fifty years after Flannery O’Connor’s death, her distinctive style and unforgettable voice continue to haunt and intrigue writers and readers. She has also become a sort of patron saint of creative writing students and instructors alike, a grand irony in light of her declaration that “there is no such thing as The Writer” and her fierce suspicion of creative writing programs. Panelists will discuss how they reconcile these paradoxes and how and why they use O’Connor’s work in the classroom.”

The Literary Legacy of Nirvana and Kurt Cobain

4:30–5:45pm in Room 302
“’He saved us all,’ says fellow Washington native Sherman Alexie of Kurt Cobain. Though neither Cobain nor Nirvana created the “Seattle sound,” they did more than any other band to lionize and catapult it, resulting in a legacy that spread beyond music and into life, politics, and literature. On this, the 20th anniversary of Cobain’s death, panelists will reflect on the literary influence of Nirvana, as well as the impact and aftermath of Cobain’s life and death.”

AWP After Hours

*AWP Happy Hour*

6–8pm at Linda’s Tavern
“Join A Strange Object, Electric Literature, Guernica, and The Paris Review for the AWP Happy Hour, and toast with your literary internet friends in real life!
$3 ‘Strange Object’ cocktails from 6pm — 7pm.
$4 well drinks all evening.”

#RARECTRL: BOMB / Wonder / Futurepoem / and the William S. Burroughs Estate

6pm — 12am at Fred Wildlife Refuge
“A collision of BOMB / Wonder / Futurepoem / and the William S. Burroughs Estate, featuring BOMB / Wonder / Futurepoem guests: Alissa Nutting, Lucy Ives, Brenda Coultas, Wendy S. Walters, Frances Richard, Trisha Low, and Kate Durbin; plus Guests of the William S. Burroughs Estate: Chuck Palahniuk, Lidia Yuknavitch, Monica Drake, Alex Dimitrov, and Elissa Schappel”

APRIL/Gigantic/Magic Helicopter/Octopus/Poor Claudia AWP Offsite Reading

8pm — ? at Raygun Lounge
“Readings handpicked by APRIL, Gigantic Magazine, Magic Helicopter, Octopus Books and Poor Claudia. James Yeh, Mike Young, Adam Wilson, Melissa Broder, Carrie Lorig, Tyler Gobble, James Gendron, and Tyler Brewington. Gigantic, magic, poor octopus sighting improbable, but not entirely ruled out.”

AWP IRL Hosted by Tin House, Wave Books, and Tumblr

8pm — ? at Chop Suey
“Kick off your AWP with some fine words & exquisite dancing. Featuring readings by Dorothea Lasky, Peter Mountford, Bianca Stone, and Matthew Zapruder. Tunes provided by DJ Mas y Menos (Colombia) & New Dadz (Portland). Free admission and drinks (while they last).”

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