"AWP provides support, advocacy, resources, and community to nearly 50,000 writers, 500 college and university creative writing programs, and 125 writers' conferences and centers. Our mission is to foster literary achievement, advance the art of writing as essential to a good education, adn serve the makers, teachers, students, and readers of contemporary writing."
The mission statement of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs is fully realized in their annual conference and bookfair—more than 11,000 writers showed up at this year's conference in Boston, which was held March 6–9, and the bookfair consisted of over 650 exhibitors including journals, presses, and MFA programs. Students, professors, and editing professionals alike braved the swirling snow piling up around the city to enjoy the wide variety of opportunities available at the conference. The University of the South was very well represented this year, because the Sewanee Review shared a table with the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and we were right next to the table for the Sewanee School of Letters! We got to see some of our contributors there, including Dawn Potter and Michael Beeman!
The 2013 AWP Conference and Bookfair offered an incredible number of panels, lectures, readings, and informal gatherings—so many, in fact, that we all had to pull out our huge schedule booklets and make lists and backup lists, and then compare and coordinate them with each other! The topics ranged from how to write a good love story without it being cliched and sappy to the impact of female writers on contemporary fiction, from regional fiction and using place as a character to making the most of your internships. Whether an attendee was a high school teacher looking for a low-residency MFA program or a graduate student looking for a publishing job, everything was covered and several options were available in each subject. There were book signings and flash fiction contests, poetry slams and cocktail parties. In short, it was a literary smorgasbord!