In late 2013 I received an email from Roy Scranton, whom I didn’t know at the time, inviting me to join him on a vet-writing panel at the 2014 Association of Writers and Writing Program conference in Seattle. I had never heard of “AWP,” as it’s called, but I soon learned it was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, conferences in America for authors of creative literature—memoir, fiction, and poetry. I did not think of myself as a writer in that way, but I also didn’t say no to Scranton.
That began a streak of five years where I attended AWP, each after the first in the capacity as organizer of panels dedicated to giving voice to war-and-mil writers. Each conference brought a slew of memories and new friendships, acquaintances, and contacts, as well a handful of titles purchased from the tables at AWP’s mammoth book-fair. Also, beginning with Minneapolis, and continuing with LA, DC, and Tampa, I organized a war-writers’ social so we could all meet and have a few, which was fun for me and seemed to be appreciated by others.
A reflection-essay about the highlights and the connective strands awaits, while here I only list the writers with whom I presented and repost my Time Now write-ups of each event.
Seattle 2014: Phil Klay, Hillary Plum, Roy Scranton
Here’s my blog post about the conference:
I wrote another blog entry about AWP 2014 that was later posted on the WWrite World War 1 Centennial Commission Blog:
Minnesota 2015: Ron Capps, Colin Halloran, Kayla Williams
LA 2016: #1: Matt Gallagher, Jessie Goolsby, Andria Williams (Elliot Ackerman unfortunately had to cancel); #2: Ron Capps, Kayla Williams, Colby Buzzell, Maurice Decaul
DC 2017: Benjamin Busch, Jay Moad (replacing Maurice Decaul at the last minute), Jenny Pacanowski, Brian Turner
Tampa 2018: Benjamin Busch, Jehanne Dubrow, Dunya Mikhail, Brian Turner
I wasn’t able to attend AWP 2019 in Portland or AWP 2020 in San Antonio, and now I won’t be attending the online AWP 2021. I understand AWP 2022 will be in Philadelphia, which is an easy drive for me and hopefully will be in-person. Maybe time for a return?