• Robin Martin
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AWP writing conference

In advance of The Association of Writers and Writing Program’s annual conference and bookfair, you can find serious tips and tricks for surviving it, and humorous explorations, such as this field guide. During it, you can follow literally thousands of attendees and exhibitors on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Even I did a bit of #awp16 @undergumtree tweeting this year.

And following the conference, of course, you can find everyone’s rundown of the panels they attended, the hands they shook, the swag they carried home and the colds they caught.

It is a very exciting industry event and everyone has something to say about it. It inspires. It disappoints. It overwhelms. It builds. It agitates. It connects a bunch of the diverse people who are in this writing biz. This year, over 12,000 of us.
This, my fifth AWP Conference, involved no air travel, fewer expenses, time in my comfortable (hybrid) vehicle with audio books, and lovely weather. The Under the Gum Tree/Fourth Genre event was a tremendous success by all accounts. While at the book fair, I was able to meet many writers that Gum Tree has published, prospective contributors and potential editorial assistants for Gum Tree, as well as current and former clients of Two Songbirds Press, colleagues from the Editorial Freelancers Association, and editors of other presses who have inspired me.

Even though there is no shortage of media posts surrounding this event, I feel compelled to add one.

I thought I’d change it up a bit and instead of writing about my experiences (although I did have a great time and am writing —inspired by a panel I attended), I asked some questions of two colleagues who attended the event for the first time this year.

Gary: Gary is a long-time psychotherapist in private practice. He has two graduate degrees, one of them in literature, but has never formally studied creative writing until he became my client. He writes linked and unlinked fiction, and had never heard of AWP until I suggested he attend the bookfair this year. So far, he only writes privately.
Jen is an emerging young creative nonfiction writer, who has a MA in Creative Writing and three children under 6 at home. Her work has been published in a number of places whose names you would recognize. Jen has a website where you can learn more about her: https://jenpalmaresmeadows.com

I am looking forward to receiving their responses and sharing them here!

Author: Robin Martin
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