AWP Conference & Bookfair Comes to Boston
Big-time writers are coming to town this week. What to expect and who to look for at one of the country's biggest book fairs.
Andre Dubus III is one of many featured readers at this week’s AWP Conference and Bookfair. (Photo via American Library Association/Flickr)
From Wednesday through Saturday, the literary world will descend on Bostonâ€™s Hynes Convention Center for the Association of Writers & Writing Programâ€™s (AWP) annual Conference and Bookfair.Â Now more than 40 years old, the AWP conference has become a renowned national tradition.Â And it continues to growâ€”about 9,700 people preregistered for this yearâ€™s event, and more than 11,000 people are expected to attend in all.
Conference attendees have a smorgasbord of events and speakers to choose fromâ€”550 unique events were selected for inclusion at the conference, out of more than 1,300 submissions, according to conference organizerÂ Christian Teresi.Â This year’s attendees include Nobel laureate keynote speakers Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott, as well as featured readers that run the gamut from Augusten Burroughs to Don DeLillo to ZZ Packer.
Helene Atwan, a member of Bostonâ€™s AWP planning team and director of Boston-based Beacon Press, has helped organize the conference for the past year and a half. Though she looks forward to a wide variety of AWPâ€™s events, Atwan has noticed that this yearâ€™s conference has especially strong focuses on memoir writing, poetry, and environmental writing.
Memoir writing and poetry have long been gaining popularity at the conference, but Atwan says she is intrigued by the activism people are able to achieve through their environmental writing.
â€ś[The environmental writing] isnâ€™t just for beauty; itâ€™s because itâ€™s endangered. People are celebrating nature, and trying to protect it,â€ť she said.
That in mind, Atwan recommends attending Thursday’s sessions â€śThe Artist as Activist: On Seeing and Saving the Natural Worldâ€ť and â€śThe Art of Healing: Writing Illness from Both Sides of the Curtain.â€ť She also recommends â€śIn Sickness and In Health: Literature at the Intersection of Medicine, Science, and the Artsâ€ť for Friday.
On Saturday, Atwan herself Â will speak on the panel for â€śLiterary Nonfiction and Social Activism,â€ť and she also recommends â€śWrite Where You Knowâ€ť with Jennifer Haigh and Richard Russo.
In addition, check out Rosanna Warren, Andre Dubus III, Edith Pearlman, and Rosanna Warrenâ€”all of whom hail from the Greater Boston area.
Though publishers, writers, and fans alike are drawn to the AWP conference, at the end of the day, the conference is much more than an amalgamation of lectures and bookfairs.Â â€”Melissa MacEwen
The 2013 AWP Conference & Bookfair starts Wednesday at Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston St. On-site registration is available, members $190, non-members $285, students $60. For more informationâ€”including the full schedule of speakers and eventsâ€”go to awpwriter.org.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/arts-entertainment/blog/2013/03/05/awp-book-conference-boston/