One of the most exciting events of the literary year is just around the corner—the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) annual conference. This year, representatives from New Rivers Press will be attending the massive event, held in the Los Angeles Convention Center in California from March 30th to April 2nd. This nationwide literary conference draws together some of the greatest established and up-and-coming writers, teachers, editors, artists, publishers, and other industry professionals from all areas of the country, and even some attendees from abroad. It is one of the greatest chances any lover of literature has to connect with other like-minded people, and offers a wealth of educational opportunities as well. In fact, the conference is sponsored by many different colleges and MFA Creative Writing programs from universities around the U.S. Across four days, from Wednesday to Saturday, visitors can attend hundreds of events, readings, and panels in every category imaginable.
After Wednesday’s opening events and registration, the real work (and fun) begins. Each day, there are more than 200 different events all around the convention center in ten different time slots from 9 am to 10 pm, as well as some events running all day or in the spaces between conferences. Typically there are 15 to 25 concurrent events that span 75 minutes each, making the choices nearly endless for visitors. To help attendees plan their events, AWP offers customizable schedules for all site visitors, as well as a mobile app. To create your own customized schedule, simply make a free AWP account on awpwriter.org and go to the conference schedule page. Here you can check events to add them to your digital schedule, which can later be printed out for day-of convenience. This is definitely helpful in a conference as large as this one, since each event lists its time, description, and location for easy accessibility.
The AWP Conference and Bookfair app for Apple devices offers basic information about the conference and its policies. It also features information about the bookfair connected to the conference, which is also held in the L.A. Convention Center. On the app you can get information about special services that run all-day such as lactation rooms, quiet rooms, etc. and how to request special accommodations that you may need in sessions, meetings, events, and elsewhere. It includes the complete schedule for each day of the conference, organized by the type of event taking place. It also has all registered off-site events listed within the app, a list of registered attendees, links to social media channels, and hotels near the conference. Perhaps most important, the app contains maps of the bookfair and exhibitor’s tables, different floors of the L.A. Convention Center, the floor plan of the JW Marriott (the AWP’s partner hotel), and even a map of downtown L.A. with the AWP Conference entrance clearly marked for convenience. My favorite parts of the app, however, are the customizable sections such as notes, to-do, my schedule, photo gallery, and more. These sections allow you to more efficiently prepare for, and navigate in, the conference itself to ensure that you get the most fulfilling experience and attend every event you set out to see.
To visit New Rivers Press at the AWP Conference, feel free to visit our table in the bookfair from 9 am to 5 pm every day, Thursday, March 31st through Saturday, April 2nd. We will be located at Spot 1408, just two rows over from the registration tables and close to the main seating area. We will be situated between the Prism Review table on the left and the Vandalia Press table on the right, both of which are also sponsored by universities. The bookfair is perhaps the largest-growing section of the conference, with exhibitors expanding from a handful when it was introduced in the 1980s to over 800 presenters at this year’s event. It offers a chance to buy books, network with authors and publishers, discuss publishing trends, check out new presses, investigate university writing programs, and even attend more events at the bookfair event stage.
The possibilities are endless at the AWP conference, so we wish the best of luck and a steady supply of caffeine for all of our fellow attendees and presenters. Look for more news soon about off-site events by New Rivers Press and table author visit and signing times not listed on the AWP website for a chance to connect with our New Rivers Press authors and staff in a unique way. We hope to see you there!