I joined the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) last year after subscribing to its magazine, The Writer’s Chronicle, for a year or two. On February 29 I took the train down to Chicago from Milwaukee to attend my first-ever AWP conference, which ran March 1-3. Wow, was it fantastic! The conference locations were on the Loop at the Palmer House and Chicago Hilton, about six blocks apart, a really vibrant part of town. Among the panels I attended: “Selling Out Everyone You Love: The Ethics of Writing Nonfiction”; “The Place at the Heart of Story”; and “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (But Some of Us Will Be Fine),” which covered all the tools writers use to create buzz about their works. Last night I started going through the pile of literary journals, magazines, books, catalogs, bookmarks, and business cards I brought home that have been stacked on our coffee table since I got back, and I haven’t even begun reading through my thirty-some pages of notes. For now I will say that the 2012 AWP Annual Conference & Bookfair was most impressive, and I will be back to post about I learned there. Already looking forward to next year, when the conference will be in Boston. And Seattle after that. And LA after that. The 2012 photos aren’t posted yet but you’ll find shots from past conferences at http://www.awpwriter.org/conference/

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