I’ve never seen Sleepless in Seattle, but I’m going to be living it in a few days, when the Association of Writers and Writing Program’s annual conference takes the city in a fever. I already know the plot: twenty-something writer spends too much money on journals and suffers awful totebag handburn while sprinting between readings—that manic, desperate running typically seen in romantic comedies. Also: not sleeping. If you’ll be at the conference, here are a list of things you should probably check out.
The bookfair: The pulse of the conference, the bookfair is home to hundreds of booths and tables showcasing journals and small presses. Chat with editors, browse magazines, be given a lot of neat pins, lose hundreds of dollars purchasing back issues. That free bag you get at registration? It’s dangerous. Map out your gameplan like a normal person totally would using this floorplan. And visit Indiana Review’s table. We’re at table S5. We have great swag (broadsides, beer koozies, chapbooks, and maybe a live hawk) and we are mostly nice. Wear blue and pretend to be interested in us!
Outside of the bookfair, you’ll find (nearly) more readings than graduate students. For instance, we’ll be co-hosting a basketball game, RUN-AWP. We’re not saying it’s probably the best thing happening, but it’s probably the best thing happening. Be there. And keep an eye out for featured readings by such literary lights as Sherman Alexie, Rachel Kushner, Annie Proulx, Mary Ruefle, and others. Kind of a big deal.
Need to do real work in Seattle? Bummer. We’re sad for you. But here’s a list of seven great cafes in which to do your work.
And looking for a list of offsite events? Oh, hey. Look at this.
Set aside the fact that I’m not totally clear what the Space Needle is or does, or that I’ll likely be consumed with a set of neuroses specific to this conference (Is my favorite writer nearby? Have I spoken with this editor before? Is there too much product in my hair?). I’ll lose sleep for AWP, and you should too!