The Rumpus Guide to AWP 2019


AWP is almost upon us!

Next week, over 12,000 attendees—writers, editors, publishers, teachers, students, and book lovers—will descend upon Portland, OR for four days of literary madness. The conference features presentations; readings; panel discussions; craft lectures; a bookfair with over eight hundred presses, journals, and literary organizations from around the globe; and numerous offsite events and readings in the nearby area.

This is wonderful, and terribly overwhelming. The best part of AWP is being surrounded by every writer you’ve ever followed on social media. This is also the worst part; us writers are known to be alternately social and reclusive, so make sure to find yourself some quiet time.

Below, we offer a selection of panels, readings, and events that we are especially excited for (including our birthday party, a special edition of our NYC-based Memoir Monday series, and an event to celebrate the Queer Syllabus series!). We suggest these as a starting point, along with remembering to drink a lot of water, tossing some granola bars in your tote of choice, getting some sleep, and stopping by The Rumpus bookfair table (T7022) for all your Rumpus merchandise needs, including our newest limited-edition Dear Sugar WLAMF mug AND our limited-run matriarchy mug designed by artist Rachael Schafer!


Wednesday, March 27

Offsite Event: Cave Canem Fellows
Literary Arts
925 SW Washington Street, Portland, OR 97205
7–9 p.m.

Experience our annual offsite reading at AWP Portland, hosted by Literary Arts! This year’s reading is headlined by Portland and Seattle-based Cave Canem fellows before an additional 15+ fellows share their work in a four-minute, rapid-fire intervals.

Readers include Quenton Baker, Ashaki M. Jackson, Bettina Judd, Anastacia-Renee, and Christopher Rose. Samiya Bashir will emcee.


Thursday, March 28

AWP Yoga
D129, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
9 a.m.–10 a.m. and 12 p.m.–1 p.m.

A gentle, one-hour yoga and meditation practice, appropriate for practitioners of all levels and abilities, focusing on stretching and mindfulness for writers. Please come wearing comfortable street clothes; mats and yoga apparel are not necessary. Alysia Sawchyn teaches the 9 a.m. classes, and Melissa Carroll teaches the 12 p.m. classes.

Behind the Curtain: The Editors Speak!
Portland Ballroom 253-254, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
10:30 a.m.–11:45 a.m.

The submission process can be daunting and mysterious. Most of us use an online submission system and them patiently wait—sometimes for more than a year—before receiving a canned rejection. So what can the average writer do to be a better submitter of their work, to catch an editor’s eye, to get past the slush pile? This diverse panel assembles some of the top literary magazine editors in the country to answer your questions about the submissions process and what goes on behind the scenes.

Panelists include Oscar Villalon, Allison Wright, Emily Nemens, Karissa Chen, and Christian Kiefer.

The Oh Shit Moment: Issues of Social Justice & Identity in the Writing Classroom
B110-112, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
10:30 a.m.–11:45 a.m.

What can you do in the moment a student shocks your class by introducing the language of racism, sexism, classism, colorism, cissexism, ableism, or victim blaming? This panel will offer practical steps to address the uncomfortable moment and ways to use it as an exercise in critical thinking. We will offer texts and assignments that will open a productive dialogue on the subjects of social justice regardless if you are in a majority white classroom, an HSBCU, or progressive liberal arts school.

Panelists include Rachel M. Simon, Olivia Worden, Seth Michelson, Melissa Febos, and Syreeta McFadden.

Chaotic Good: Genre Fiction as a Tool for Political Resistance
B117-119, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
10:30 a.m.–11:45 a.m.

This panel will explore how genre fiction, or fiction that uses genre elements, can address politics and even be an act of resistance. Genre allows writers to broach political topics, take chances, advocate change, and take stands that “straight” fiction sometimes can’t. Panelists will discuss how use of genre can be political; how writing genre fiction can free writers to #resist; what “genre” means and how to expand it; and craft advice in using the formal elements of genre in political ways.

Panelists include Gregory Howard, Porochista Khakpour, Rion Amilcar Scott, Daniel Jose Older, and Danielle Dutton.

The Poetics of Addiction
E145, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
10:30 a.m.–11:45 a.m.

Five writers answer how the lyric “I” is formed in reaction to and in observation of addiction. The writers will read from their work and discuss how the witness of addiction shows up, or does not, on the page.

Panelists include Katie Marya, Gregory Pardlo, Michael Schmeltzer, Airea D. Matthews, Katie Schmid.

Show Me the Money: Making Ends Meet in the Literary World
E141-142, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
12 p.m.–1:15 p.m.

Five writers with experience in developing literary magazines, small presses, reading series, and other literary endeavors will have an in-depth discussion about the financial realities of the literary community that too often remain hidden. We’ll consider how these financial realities differ across race and gender, how these disparities can be addressed within existing structures and outside of them, and the importance of transparency.

Panelists include Jennifer Baker, Michele Filgate, Emily Gould, Dennis Norris II, and Marisa Siegel.

A Reading with Maxine Hong Kingston, Marilyn Chin, and Carmen Gimenez Smith, Sponsored by Kundiman
Oregon Ballroom 201-202, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
12 p.m.–1:15 p.m.

Three prominent and essential writers take the stage to give readings of their work. A discussion follows on a variety of topics, ranging from craft to practice to activism, as we celebrate and further a discussion of Asian American and Latinx identity and solidarity. This event is moderated by CantoMundo cofounder Deborah Paredez.

Readers include Maxine Hong Kingston, Marilyn Chin, Carmen Gimenez Smith, and Deborah Paredez.

Let’s Talk About Race, Baby; Let’s Talk About You & Me
C123, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
12 p.m.–1:15 p.m.

This panel is for anyone, regardless of color, who wishes to improve the way they write about, teach or publish racially or ethnically charged issues in this complex time. How do we handle race and ethnicity with sensitivity, in real life and on the page? How can we overcome discrimination in workshops and the publishing world? May we write negatively about a character of a particular race? This panel of successful writers provides honesty and humor and suggests strategies for connection.

Panelists include Jean Kwok, Mira Jacob, Mitchell S. Jackson, Irina Reyn, and Devi Laskar.

What’s Missing: How Absence Can Drive Narrative
F149, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
12 p.m.–1:15 p.m.

A diverse group of fiction and memoir writers discuss the importance of what’s narratively not present—a missing parent, lost object, or unexpressed feeling—as a major theme in literature, and a creative spark in their own work, shaping plot, character, imagery, and dialogue. Panelists will offer examples from well-known books, share brief excerpts from their writing, and provide innovative craft techniques to illustrate how a focus on what’s missing can be transformative.

Panelists include Laurie Ann Doyle, Louise Nayer, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Eleanor Vincent, and Lyzette Wanzer.

A Woman’s Place
1:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m.
Zachary A. Doss Memorial Stage, Sponsored by USC, Exhibit Hall, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

What happens when you let your strong female characters step outside their boxes? Four writers talk about working with places and situations not often found in literature and the ways in which these energize and inform their storytelling. Also featuring Lydia Kiesling and Jenna Johnson.

Panelists include Katrina Carrasco, Madeline ffitch, Tessa Fontaine, Chia-Chia Lin, and Ling Ma.

Writing the Personal Through Fiction and Nonfiction, Sponsored by Grove/Atlantic, Hugo House, and Seattle Arts & Lectures
Oregon Ballroom 201-202, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
1:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m.

Join three highly acclaimed, award-winning writers as they discuss the rewards and challenges of depicting culture, landscape, trauma, and family across genres.

Panelists include Terese Marie Mailhot, Pam Houston, G. Willow Wilson, and Katie Raissian.

Wild Girl Poets: A Reading and Reckoning
E147-148, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
1:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m.

This reading and conversation features a new generation of Asian American women poets who declare themselves “wild girl poets,” a term Marilyn Chin used during a Kundiman gathering to signify the spirit of Asian American women who defy stereotypes. Being a wild girl poet is having a crew of wild girls fighting with you. It’s about resistance, about taking risks, about matrilineal and literary lineage, about laughter, about not being afraid of being too loud or too quiet.

Participants include Michelle Penaloza, Jennifer S. Cheng, Sally Wen Mao, Soham Patel, and Diana Khoi Nguyen.

A Reading & Conversation with Dawn Lundy Martin, Morgan Parker, and Evie Shockley, Sponsored by Cave Canem
Portland Ballroom 253-254, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
1:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m.

Three award-winning poets give brief readings, followed by a moderated conversation about poetry as a space for complex negotiations and radical reimaginings. While the meaning of diversity is being debated, these poets’ unique voices and varied strategies expand the discourse beyond considerations of race and ethnicity. Their views of the poet as artist and social being disrupt familiar tropes assigned to “the writer of color.”

Participants include Fatimah Asghar, Evie Shockley, Morgan Parker, and Dawn Lundy Martin.

Offsite Event: AWP 2019 Offsite Reading with Shenandoah, Superstition, and Hayden’s Ferry
The Jasmine Pearl Tea Company
724 NE 22nd Ave, Portland, Oregon 97232
1:30 p.m.–3 p.m.

Featuring readings from Lena Khalaf Tuffaha, Alicia Mountain, Alison Stine, Isaac Yuen, Shamala Gallagher, Kayleb Rae Candrilli, Paul Luikart, Allison Wilkins, and Brad Wetherell.

Offsite Panel: Triangle House Presents: Writing Women’s Bodies
Spartan Shop
1210 SE Grand Ave, Portland, OR 97209
3 p.m.–4 p.m.

Join ​Triangle House Review​ for a conversation around writing, bodies, and more. Free. Panelists include Alice Bolin, Leah Dieterich, Emily Gould, Irène Mathieu, and Khadijah Queen. Moderated by Monika Woods.

Anxiety, Envy, and Other Deadly Sins
E147-148, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
3 p.m.–4:15 p.m.

Anxiety and envy have always been part of writers’ lives, particularly when we compare our successes (and failures) to those of others. In the age of social media, where our peers’ accomplishments are constantly on display, it’s easy to feel insecure. But avoiding these powerful platforms for promotion and literary conversation isn’t always an option.

Panelists discuss how they navigate these uncertainties and strategies for remembering and maintaining the pleasures of the writing itself.

Panelists include Mark Neely, Beth Nguyen, R.O. Kwon, Marcus Wicker, and Nick White.

A Flash of Difference: Diversity and Inclusion in Flash Fiction
A103-104, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
3 p.m.–4:15 p.m.

Flash fiction is having a moment, but how diverse is the field? What is the state of flash in terms of race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual identity/orientation, and disability? Panelists will introduce underrepresented flash writers and resources that amplify traditionally marginalized voices. This panel is suitable for multiple audiences: educators who want to diversify their curricula, readers who want to broaden their reading lists, and publishers who want to enrich their author rosters.

Panelists include Tara Campbell, Marlena Chertock, Christopher Gonzalez, Erinrose Mager, and Megan Giddings.

Debut Authors: Navigating All the Seasons of Book Publication
B110-112, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
3 p.m.–4:15 p.m.

Navigating the time before and after book publication can be a daunting task, one that you’d do well by traversing with the support of your community. This panel of immigrant and working debut women authors who created an email thread six months before their book publications share lessons learned about navigating relationships with publicists, marketers, and editors, using connections to support each other, advocating for yourself, and asking for what you want.

Panelists include Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Crystal Hana Kim, Lillian Li, Lucy Tan, and Lydia Kiesling.

Un-Workshop: Towards an Expansive Critical Response For Writers
E143-144, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
3 p.m.–4:15 p.m.

In “MFA vs POC,” Junot Díaz writes: “When I think on it now what’s most clear to me is how easily ours could have been a dope workshop.” Given that the workshop almost always magnifies negative power structures, how do we get to this dope workshop? What do we do instead? Is there a way to recreate the transcendent moments of workshop without the tears? Five writer/educators share their Un-Workshop methods, what has worked, what hasn’t, what possibilities they’ve glimpsed along the way.

Panelists include Carson Beker, Nancy Au, Arisa White, Miah Jeffra, and Ploi Pirapokin.

Thirty-Five Years After How to Suppress Women’s Writing
A106, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
4:30 p.m.–5:45 p.m.

In 1983, the University of Texas Press published Joanna Russ’s landmark How to Suppress Women’s Writing, which enumerated and elaborated on the many ways women writers had been kept out of the canon. Almost forty years later, it remains distressingly true that, as Russ wrote, “If certain people are not supposed to have the ability to produce ‘great’ literature, and if this supposition is one of the means used to keep such people in their place, the ideal situation… is one in which such people is one in which such people are prevented from producing any literature at all.”

Panelists include Ann Garvin, Karen Karbo, and Reema Zaman.

Offsite Event: A Portland Reading by CCR, The Accomplices, and Storm Cellar
821 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97214
5 p.m.–7 p.m.

Cream City Review, The Accomplices, and Storm Cellar are excited to present this off-site AWP reading featuring the following fabulous writers: Lisa Low, Anni Liu, Haley Fedor, Soham Patel, John Gallaher, Mike Sonksen, Elaine Terranova, Matt Gavin Frank, traci kato-kiriyama, and Leah Noble Davidson.

Offsite Event: A Time You Changed Course: The Freya Project at AWP
Spartan Shop
1210 SE Grand Ave, Portland, OR 97209
5 p.m.–7 p.m.

Take a break from the AWP conference and recharge with the words of five women, all reading about a time they changed course. Inspiration for you and essential support for a nonprofit in need—a win/win!

Featuring readings from Chelsea Bieker, Aja Gabel, Genevieve Hudson, T Kira Madden, and Kimberly King Parsons.

Offsite Event: Forward: 21st Century Flash Fiction Anthology Release Party
Woody’s Coffee Tavern
1412 SE Morrison, Portland, OR 97214
5:45 p.m–8 p.m.

Featuring readings by SJ Sindu, C Pam Zhang, Tyrese Coleman, George Abraham, Dennis Norris II, Alicia Rodriguez, Gene Kwak, Alvin Park, Maggie Su, Yalie Kamara, Ruth Joffre, Marlin M. Jenkins, and Monterica Sade Neil.

Offsite Event: Words at the Mic
The Big Legrowlski
812 NW Couch St, Portland, OR 97209
6:30 p.m.–9 p.m.

Join ​The Boiler​, ​New Delta Review​, ​Redivider​, and ​Southeast Review​ for an evening of words for this year’s conference! Free.

Readers include Nabila Lovelace, Taneum Bambrick, Hai-Dang Phan, Ginger Ko, Kelly Grace Thomas, Jenny Molberg, Ángel Garcia, Diannely Antigua, Paul Tran, Dana Diehl, Irène Mathieu, and Angie Sijun Lou.

Offsite Event: 2nd Annual Theater of the Strange
Lucky Labrador Brewing Company
915 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214
6:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m.

Join us for a lively reading by writers who call the weird, magical, and surreal their stomping grounds. Some magical intermission events will be had (a raffle of signed books and other goodies) and books will also be available for purchase. Free appetizers while they last. Reading starts at 6:30 but come early and mingle. The event will be in a private room off of the main taproom.

Featuring Anne Valente, Micah Dean Hicks, Brenda Peynado, Joy Baglio, Lucas Church, Jennifer Pullen, Anca Szilagyi, Michelle Zamanian, Sakinah Hofler, Sequoia Nagamatsu, and C Pam Zhang.

Offsite Event: BreakBeat Poets Feature
Lucky Labrador Beer Hall
1945 NW Quimby St, Portland, OR 97209
7 p.m.–10 p.m.

Join us offsite during AWP 2019 for a BreakBeat Poets feature, with readings by Camonghne Felix, Britteney Black Rose Kapri, José Olivarez, Fatimah Asghar, Safia Elhillo, and other special guests.

Hosted by Nate Marshall. Sponsored by Haymarket Books.

Offsite Event: Center Justify: An Offsite Extravaganza
PSU Native American Student & Community Center
710 SW Jackson St, Portland, OR 97201
7 p.m.–10 p.m.

Come join us for readings, performances, food (dinner will be served!), camaraderie, and more. This event is co-sponsored by The Accomplices (Civil Coping Mechanisms, Entropy, Writ Large Press), De-Canon: A Visibility Project, Whitenoise Project, Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Indigenous Nations Studies at Portland State University, and The Operating System.

Readers include Melissa Bennett, Dao Strom, Aimee Phan, Thi Bui, Vi Khi Nao, Nina Sharma, Nastashia Minto, Douglas Kearney, No’u Revilla, Lawrence Ypil, Alfian Sa’at, Elæ [Lynne DeSilva-Johnson], Alex DiFrancesco, Erick Sáenz, Michaelsun Stonesweat Knapp, Joaquin Zihuatanejo, Jenifer Sang Eun Park, Marwa Helal, Casandra Lopez, Rocío Carlos, Trevino Brings Plenty, Theodore Van Alst, and Gabrielle Civil.

Offsite Event: A Night of Literature: AWP Portland
The Slide Inn
2348 SE Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97214
7 p.m.–10 p.m.

Join 32 Poems, AGNI, Gulf Coast, Pleiades, and Quarterly West at for readings by many talented contributors to our journals. Food and drink will be provided free of charge. We look forward to seeing you there!

Readers include Malachi Black, Traci Brimhall, Leila Chatti, Randall Mann, Marcus Wicker, William Archila, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, Edgar Kunz, Natalie Shapero, Maggie Smith, Gabrielle Bates, Tiana Clark, Amorak Huey, Diane Seuss, Justin Wymer, Destiny Birdsong, F Douglas Brown, Tyler Mills, Susannah Nevison, David Welch, Kaveh Akbar, Dorothy Chan, Brandon Courtney, Luiza Flynn-Goodlett, and Carlos Price-Sanchez.

Offsite Event: AWP Offsite from the Edges
Corporeal Writing
510 SW 3rd Ave., Portland, OR 97204
7 p.m.–9 p.m.

Join the Corporeal Writing Center for an unforgettable lineup including Garth Greenwell, Carmen Maria Machado, Terese Mailhot, Alexander Chee, and Lidia Yuknavitch.

Offsite Event: Tin House AWP Party
Holocene Portland
1001 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214
8 p.m.–12:30 a.m.

Join us as we celebrate our twentieth anniversary and welcome the AWP literary conference to Rip City with an evening of poetry and dancing. Tin House Books authors Hanif Abdurraqib, Erica Dawson, Morgan Parker, and Tommy Pico will be reading from their latest collections, with DJ Mami Miami providing the after-reading dance party.

There will be a $5 cover fee, with proceeds going to the Tin House Workshop scholarship fund. These awards include targeted scholarships for writers who identify as single parents, immigrants, “still-emerging” writers over forty years old, formerly incarcerated writers, and/or graphic artists of color.

Friday, March 29

AWP Yoga
D129, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
9 a.m.–10 a.m. and 12 p.m.–1 p.m.

A gentle, one-hour yoga and meditation practice, appropriate for practitioners of all levels and abilities, focusing on stretching and mindfulness for writers. Please come wearing comfortable street clothes; mats and yoga apparel are not necessary. Alysia Sawchyn teaches the 9 a.m. classes, and Melissa Carroll teaches the 12 p.m. classes.

Having It All: Writing and Solo Parenting
B115, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
9 a.m.–10:15 a.m.

Whether a solo parent by choice or by chance, writing while solo parenting can be isolating, which means that questions about how to serve both passions well—our writing and our children—are difficult to ask, share, and explore. These panel members will discuss how to overcome the biggest challenges to productivity; how our lives as solo parents affect what we write, and the ethical questions that arise as we write about our lives, which often means writing about our children.

Panelists include Debra Monroe, Sophia Shalmiyev, Alison Stine, Emily Withnall, and Melissa Stephenson.

Who’s Got the Power? Enacting Advocacy for Oneself & Others
D137-138, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
9 a.m.–10:15 a.m.

Gender, race, class, and ability in professional literary spaces—from K12 to nonprofits, academia to publishing and beyond—undeniably affect how authority is perceived and performed in those spaces. This panel considers how humanities teachers, writers, and scholars can promote greater inclusivity, equity, and professionalism in public and private when it comes to encountering, wielding, and envisioning authority in institutional spaces, with a focus on practical and implementable solutions.

Panelists include Khadijah Queen, Prageeta Sharma, TC Tolbert, Michelle Whitaker, and Christina Olivares.

Ten Years of Feminist Lit: Moving Beyond Representation
F151, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
9 a.m.–10:15 a.m.

Paper Darts began ten years ago in Minneapolis. As one of the only women-run lit magazines in the country, Paper Darts represents a unique, independent model in the publishing industry. While always implicitly political with majority women writers, over the years PD has shifted its mission to be explicitly intersectionally feminist. The panel discusses the importance of moving beyond representation by curating content that challenges sexist and racist tropes often perpetuated in indie lit.

Panelists include Sagirah Shahid, Lizzy Shramko, Meghan Murphy, Maya Beck, and Jessica Eckerstorfer.

The Sexuality of Textuality
Portland Ballroom 253-254, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
10:30 a.m.–11:45 a.m.

What are narrative strategies that animate the body rather than disappear the body under cover of character, action, and plot? How might sexuality be written as a territory where narrative and the body generate new meanings? Whose body story counts and for what? How is desire endlessly rewriting us? Four writers whose work in multiple genres moves from the body under endless revision address how desire, power, and sexuality write us alive or dead.

Panelists include Lidia Yuknavitch, Garth Greenwell, Carmen Maria Machado, and Alexander Chee.

Real Women Talk Dirty: Feminisms of Sex in Fiction
Portland Ballroom 251, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
12 p.m.–1:15 p.m.

One way to define dirt is as “matter out of place.” Is “dirty” literature labeled as such because of its content, or because of its irreverent treatment of such matter? What would advocates of heteroglossia or mixed discourses think of “dirty fiction”—that its determined blending makes it the sharpest edge of realism? Is the depiction of sex crucial to the goals of feminisms, and how? This all-woman panel discusses craft hazards and opportunities of rendering the sexually explicit.

Panelists include Debra Monroe, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Nalo Hopkinson, Claire Vaye Watkins, and Merritt Tierce.

Writing What We Know: Mining Personal Experience in YA Fiction
A103-104, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
12 p.m.–1:15 p.m.

How can we use our own lives, experiences, communities, and identities as inspiration for our fiction? What possibilities does this open up, and what potential problems does it create? How do we set boundaries for how much of our personal lives we share with our readers? Are we always, more or less, telling our own stories through our writing? These diverse authors will answer these questions and more as they discuss how they use their own lives as a source for their fiction.

Panelists include Amy Reed, Lilliam Rivera, Ryan Douglass, Emily X.R. Pan, and Anica Mrose Rissi.

All Your Faves Are Problematic: #MeToo and the Ethics of Public Call-Outs
Portland Ballroom 256, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
12 p.m.–1:15 p.m.

With courts that convict just two percent of rapists, calling out predators publicly has become a vital tool in promoting the safety of vulnerable individuals. The members of this panel discuss candidly how they worked to call out prominent sexual predators, offering concrete tools for healing and advocacy. Their bold, ambitious aim: to end victim-shaming and silencing, foster protection of assault and harassment victims, and encourage greater professionalization in literary workplaces.

Panelists include Bettina Judd, Ashaki Jackson, Lynn Melnick, and Khadijah Queen.

Immortalizing Our Beloveds: The Risks and Rewards of Writing about Family
C124, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
1:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m.

Acclaimed memoirists discuss the fraught yet thrilling adventure of writing about love and marriage, parenthood, sex, family history, and other deeply, dangerously personal stories. What are the boundaries? What’s safe to expose, and what’s off limits? (As one writer’s wife put it: “We do not have sex in this book.”) How should a writer honor their loved ones, negotiate with a partne, parent, or child, yet remain loyal to the story? And how can memoir, according to Mary Karr, “immortalize our beloveds”?

Panelists include Adrienne Brodeur, Neal Thompson, Cinelle Barnes, Nicole Chung, and Claire Dederer.

Spectral Geographies: Writing About Visible and Invisible Communities
F151, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
3 p.m.–4:15 p.m.

Five authors discuss writing about communities both visible and invisible, and what it means for places and people to be seen: from migrants and borders to ghosts, to enclave inhabitants and anonymous city dwellers. How do we write about what’s too visible, as well as what’s not visible enough? How do our own imaginings and the received views of others influence our approaches to trammeled ground, and what effect do our writings have on the ways in which others view these places and peoples?

Panelists include Robin Hemley, Justin Clark, Stephanie Elizondo Griest, Colin Dickey, and Ada Calhoun.

I Keep My Eyes Open and Have to See: The Poetry of Laura Jensen
A105, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
4:30 p.m.–5:45 p.m.

“I keep my eyes open and have to see / if something is terribly wrong here,” writes Laura Jensen in “The Creature from the Black Lagoon.” Jensen’s plain-spoken, psychologically dense poetry is a poetry of perception, liminality, wonder, terror, dailiness, unpredictability, surrealism, and interiors literal and figurative. Join five poets as they discuss the singularity of Jensen’s voice, her place in the poetry of the late twentieth century, and why her work deserves a wider audience today.

Panelists include Sharon Bryan, Joy Maniseotis, Miguel Murphy, and Kevin Prufer, and Molly Spencer.

Creative Self-Care: Balancing Your Own Writing with Support for Your Students
C124, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
4:30 p.m.–5:45 p.m.

Many creative writers also teach in a variety of settings as they pursue their own writing goals. Writer-teachers support a broad range of students, from new to vulnerable to highly accomplished. Working in MFA programs, four-year and community colleges, K-12 settings, or in youth or community programs, the panelists show how to retain focus on their own work as they guide the journeys of students who need instruction, mentoring, and sometimes just a safe, supportive creative space to write.

Panelists include Allison Deegan, Keren Taylor, Toni Jensen, Ashaki Jackson, and Christina Lynch.

Offsite Event: AWP Small Press Showcase
Broadway Books
1714 NE Broadway, Portland, OR 97232
5 p.m.

The AWP Small Press Showcase, organized by Forest Avenue Press, features authors Alex DiFrancesco, Tom DeMarchi, Wendy Fox, Casandra Lopez, D. Keali’i MacKenzie, Ron Maclean, Angela Mitchell, Rheea Mukherjee, Liz Prato, and Michael Shou-Yung Shum.

Offsite Event: Beyond Resilience! Lambda Literary & Nat. Brut
Orí Gallery
4038 N Mississippi Ave, Portland OR 97217
6 p.m.–8:30 p.m.

Come and enjoy a dynamic reading, hosted by Kay Ulanday Barrett and sponsored by Lambda Literary and Nat. Brut, that centers the work for/by Sick, Disabled, Chronic Pain, and Mad Queer writers!  We recognize that writing on disability and ability are not mutually exclusive of other trappings of oppression and experience. Here, we want to honor and celebrate writing where Disabled and Sick people take the charge, spoon out, seek solace, amplify craft, and care! This reading uplifts Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Queer perspectives so please honor and celebrate this nuance and brilliance.

Featured writers include Natalie Sharp, Cyree Jarelle Johnsoon, Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes, Zahra Noorbakhsh, Aurielle Marie, and Rachel McKibbens.

Offsite Event: Portland Professional/Emerging Writers’ Partnered Reading Event
openHAUS coworking
5020 NE Martin Luther King Junior Blvd., Portland, OR 97211
6 p.m.–9:30 p.m.

This is a partnered reading where publishing and book marketing professionals create work in response to, and inspired by, pieces from emerging authors. The readers have paired up and created together over the past couple months and each pair will read on stage at the OpenHaus.

Readers include

Elyana Ren, Alice Lavender Love, Julia Lee Barclay-Morton, Rebecca Smolen, Doug Hawley, Sherri Schultz, Crystal Stone, Gina DeVries, Claire Bateman, Dorothy Place, Sibylla Nash, Cati Porter, Mary Pan, Vannessa McClelland, Sione Aeschliman, Scott Parker, Sean Cearley, Huda Al-Marashi, Kelly Thompson, Robert Egan, J. Dorroh, Shahe Mankerian, Leah Griesmann, Mindy Ohringer, Jasmin Johnson, and more.

Offsite Event: It’s My Party, I’ll Cry If I Want To: Celebrating Ten Years of Electric Lit and the Rumpus
White Owl Social Club
1305 SE 8th Ave, Portland, OR 97214
6:30 p.m.– 9 p.m.

Two of your favorite online literary sites are turning ten this year, which is basically a hundred in Internet years. Help Electric Literature and The Rumpus move into double-digits and celebrate ten years of championing new voices and creating a home for literature online. Free drinks and birthday cake (while supplies last)! Sponsored by Aevitas Creative Management.

Readers include Kaveh Akbar, Marie-Helene Bertino, Ryan Chapman, Bonnie Chau, R.O. Kwon, and Talin Tahajian.

Offsite Event: IR x Split Lip After Dark
Produce Row Café
204 SE Oak St, Portland, OR 97214
7 p.m.–11 p.m.

Readings by: Gabriela Garcia, Cortney Lamar Charleston, Jung Yun, Megan Giddings, Tyrese L Coleman, Krys Malcom Belc, Chris Drangle, Elisa Gabbert, Alison C. Rollins, Brian Sneeden, Ariel Francisco, Migeultzinta C Solis, and Jessica Lanay.

Offsite Event: A Night of Literature
The Slide Inn
2342 SE Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97214
7 p.m.–10 p.m.

Join us at The Slide Inn for a marvelous reading featuring contributors from Adroit, Denver Quarterly, Salt Hill Journal, Quarterly West, and Western Humanities Review! Food and drink will be provided free of charge.

Readers include Sarah Rose Etter, Megan Giddings, C Pam Zhang, Janalyn Guo, Nora Jean Lange, Sandra Meek, Bevin O’Connor, Rebecca Bedell, Saddiq M. Dzukogi, Kwabena Foli, Elana Lev Friedland, Emily O’Neill, Emily Flouton, Amina Gautier, Brooke Larson, Ryan Ridge, Kelly Dulaney, John James, Jenna Le, Vi Khi Nao, and Aimee Parkison.

Offsite Event: Cheers! Gertrude Turns 21
Crush Bar
1400 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214
7 p.m.–8:30 p.m.

Gertrude doesn’t look a day over twenty! Join Gertrude literary journal in celebrating twenty-one years bringing queer lit and art into your lives, with readings. In between the words, records will spin and strange, free raffle items will be given away. Free.

Readers include Jericho Brown, Wayne Bund, Arisa White, Joe Jimenez, Wendy Oleson, and Malcolm Tariq.

Offsite Event: LIT in PDX: AWP Off-site Dance Party
1737 NW 26th Ave, Portland, OR 97210
7 p.m.–10 p.m.

Bennington Writing Seminars, Catapult, PEN America, Stony Brook Southampton, and The Southampton Review present an Association of Writers & Writing Programs off-site dance party. Join us for snacks, a signature cocktail, cash bar, and the musical stylings of your favorite writers! RSVPs strongly encouraged.

Featuring literary guest DJs Hanif Abdurraqib, Eloisa Amezcua, Alexander Chee, and Melissa Febos. Emceed by Patrick Boyle.

Offsite Event: Boulevard and Willow Springs
600 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214
7 p.m.–9 p.m.

Readers for Boulevard are David Naimon, Robbie Maakestad, and Gabe Montesanti. Most details TBD.

Offsite Event: Switchback Books and Counterpath Book Launch Party
Strum Guitar Bar
1415 SE Stark St #C, Portland, OR 97214
7 p.m.–9 p.m.

Switchback Books and Counterpath invite you to celebrate the launch of three new books: The Body in Language: An Anthology​, edited by Edwin Torres, from Counterpath; Kristen Case’s ​Principles of Economics​ from Switchback; and Irène Mathieu’s ​Grand Marronage from Switchback. Join us at Strum Guitar Bar for drinks and readings.

Readers include Rae Armantrout, Cynthia Arrieu-King, Kristen Case, Brandon Downing, Stefania Heim, Jen Hofer, Irène Mathieu, Tracie Morris, Urayoán Noel, Jenn Marie Nunes, and Edwin Torres.

Offsite Event: Chris Kraus, Sophia Shalmiyev, and Veronica Gonzalez Peña
Mother Foucault’s Bookshop
523 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214
8:30 p.m.–10 p.m.

Three writers will read whatever they feel like and talk about all the tough stuff and blow your house down. Wolf on!

Offsite Event: Memoir Monday AWP Offsite Event: Chee, Johnson, Zaman, Korbel
Powell’s Books
1005 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209
8:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m.

Memoir Monday is a collaboration between Narratively, Catapult, Tin House, The Rumpus, Granta, Guernica, and Longreads to bring the very best first-person writing together in a weekly newsletter and a monthly reading series! Usually based at Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn, Memoir Monday is very excited to visit Portland for the AWP conference, where Powell’s City of Books will graciously host our special offsite reading.

Featuring Alexander Chee, Lacy M. Johnson, Marissa Korbel, and Reema Zaman, with host Lilly Dancyger.

Offsite Event: Another Vision: A Night of Lit + Art 
1733 SE 9th Ave, Portland, OR 97214
8:30 p.m.–11:30 p.m.

Join Paper Darts and FSG Originals at Another Vision, a night of art and storytelling with writers who will define our literary futures. Featuring Flash readings and small talks with Fernando Flores, Laura Adamczyk, Lydia Kiesling, Chia-Chia Lin, Jac Jemc, A. E. Osworth, Eshani Surya, S. Erin Batiste, Margaret Malone, and C Pam Zhang. Hosted by Adam R. Garcia.

Plus: DJ Ines Paulina Ramirez (Noche Libre Collective), live Music by Indira Valey, GIF artwork by Adam R. Garcia, live drawings by artist Pace Taylor, drinks, donuts, dancing, and free books!


Saturday, March 30

AWP Yoga
D129, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
9 a.m.–10 a.m. and 12 p.m.–1 p.m.

A gentle, one-hour yoga and meditation practice, appropriate for practitioners of all levels and abilities, focusing on stretching and mindfulness for writers. Please come wearing comfortable street clothes; mats and yoga apparel are not necessary. Alysia Sawchyn teaches the 9 a.m. classes, and Melissa Carroll teaches the 12 p.m. classes.

Native American Voices: A Reading from Recent Works in Native Letters
B116, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
9 a.m.­–10:15 a.m.

The proposed reading would include all Native American writers in attendance at AWP 2019 with books out in the year prior to the conference. This reading would give space for Native American writing across genres and styles. It would highlight the work of those who are part of the surge of new, exciting Native American writing, while still celebrating those in the field who continue to publish powerful works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

Participants include Shauna Osborn, Tommy Orange, Crisosto Apache, Rebecca Roanhorse, Cassandra Lopez, and more.

Embodying Writing / Performing Translation, Sponsored by ALTA
F149, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
9 a.m.–10:15 a.m.

Beyond merely transferring text from one language to another, translation invites a recognition and practice of embodiment. This can connect to performance in compelling ways. Here, diaspora translators discuss performing translation, embodying writing (in and as translation), and translating performance. Engaging Haiti, Japan, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, they reckon with race, gender, sexuality, nationality, power, and language justice—in representation and lived experience.

Panelists include Gabrielle Civil, Madhu Kaza, Sawako Nakayasu, Urayoán Noel, and John Pluecker.

Surviving the Writing Life: Whither, Life Balance?
E143-144, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
10:30 a.m.–11:45 a.m.

We’re consumed by looking for work, working, responding to students, attending meetings, attending conferences, networking, getting published, getting an agent, trying to get the agent to respond to emails, trying to get to the doctor, trying to get to a therapist, trying to remember family, trying to get tenure, trying to promote our work, trying to read more, and even trying to write. Can we be anything other than Sisyphean? Is the writer’s life really different than anyone else’s?

Panelists include John King, David James Poissant, Chelsey Clammer, Rion Amilcar Scott, and Benjamin Hertwig.

What a Heroine Can Do: Female Protagonists Take Back the Narrative
Oregon Ballroom 203, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
12 p.m.–1:15 p.m.

Cora, Offred, Katniss. To ignore the female protagonist is to slight a necessary and integral character in literature, denying not only her past achievements but also her future potential to be an agent of her own change. In this panel, five established and emerging fiction writers give voice to the dynamically resonant women at the centers of their novels. Through individual readings of their potent protagonists, these writers challenge the patriarchal view that a woman cannot be a hero.

Panelists include Alexander Lumans, Kirstin Chen, Marie-Helene Bertino, Mira Jacob, and Katherine Hill.

Editing into Negative Capability: Methods & Impacts of Manuscript Revision
Portland Ballroom 252, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
1:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m.

This panel will consider multiple possibilities of editing including refashioning, opening, reframing, collapsing multiple manuscripts into one. This is not always an enjoyable process—it rarely is. There can be grieving for cut material and reckoning with demands to make narratives/manuscripts more economical, palatable, or “relatable.” Who decides on the final shape of a manuscript and how? How does editing open up the potential of a work? Where does power emerge?

Panelists include Diana Arterian, Gabrielle Civil, Aisha Sabatini Sloan, and Sarah Vap.

Crossovers: Writing for Both Teens and Adults
C125-126, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
1:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m.

YA crossover is an appealing idea: a book sold to both teens and adults, read more widely because its meaning shape shifts across age groups. This panel brings together writers who write for both teens and adults within the same project; for a YA audience sometimes and for adults at others; and writers who don’t think about age at all when they write. The panel asks what lessons we learn as early readers and explores why writers should never underestimate their readers, no matter their ages.

Panelists include Sarah Blakley-Cartwright, Lilliam Rivera, Patrick Ryan, Megan Cummins, and Sarah Nicole Smetana.

The Other Side of the Story: The Trouble with Writing About Real People
C123, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
3 p.m.–4:15 p.m.

Joan Didion claimed that “writers are always selling somebody out” even as they strive for honesty and self-scrutiny. As a writer crafts each sentence to best articulate their point of view, they inevitably face a conflict with the subjects of their stories, which may inhibit the process, spur retaliation, and threaten relationships. We will explore the personal, artistic, and legal implications of choosing to write about family, friends, lovers and public figures, and offer strategies for coping.

Panelists include Chris Kraus, Melissa Febos, Lacy M. Johnson, Kiese Laymon, and Sophia Shalmiyev.

Jack Jones Literary Arts Presents Natalie Diaz and Nikky Finney
Oregon Ballroom 201-202, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
3 p.m.–4:15 p.m.

Arts for Justice: Join Natalie Diaz and Nikky Finney as they discuss mass incarceration, civil rights, and poetics.

Panelists include Nikky Finney and Natalie Diaz.

Post-MFA vs. POC: Five Poets Speak About and Read from First Books
D137-138 Oregon Convention Center Level 1
3 p.m.–4:15 p.m.

In his essay “MFA vs. POC,” Junot Díaz sparked an important conversation about MFA programs, lack of representation in workshops, and meeting the needs of writers of color. In this panel, four poets extend this discourse to talk about writing after the MFA. They will discuss what resources helped them publish first books, including writing communities and conferences, PhD programs, and finding editors who value their work. Each panelist will also read from their recently published collection.

Panelists include Michelle Brittan Rosado, Ángel García, Ife-Chudeni Oputa, Steven Sanchez, and Douglas Manuel.

Women Writing the Forbidden Narrative: From Inception to After Life
A106, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
4:30 p.m.–5:45 p.m.

Many writers are drawn to material in forbidden territory, from stories of abuse to mental illness. When writing about taboo, how do we find the universal story in our specific experience? What artistic choices do we make in terms of genre, voice, structure, character? How do we prepare for reactions? A diverse, multigenerational panel of women discuss why and how they wrote their taboo stories, how they prepared for public reception, and whether writing the taboo affected their future projects.

Panelists include Leigh Stein, Eileen Cronin, Sue William Silverman, Wendy C. Ortiz, and Esmé Weijun Wang.

Offsite Event: AWP Portland: Awst, Future Tense, & SEMO Press Present
Dig a Pony
736 SE Grand Ave, Portland, OR 97214
5 p.m.–7 p.m.

Join us for a three-press reading to close out your AWP weekend. Featuring Tara Atkinson, Ron A. Austin, Karissa Chen, Susanna Childress, Jenny Yang Cropp, Dylan Loring, Dennis Norris II, Alicia Jo Rabins, and Elissa Washuta.

Offsite Event: Corporeal Writing Offsite Happy Hour
Corporeal Writing
510 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97204
5 p.m.–8 p.m.

Please join Lidia Yuknavitch and the Corporeal Writing crew for HAPPY HOUR! We will have libations, lit, and laughter queued up and ready to spin you down from three days of go, go, go! For your literary listening pleasure, we welcome writers Teow Lim Goh, Nastashia Minto, Valarie Newman, Joe Nasta, and Rios de la Luz.

Offsite Event: The Bookseller’s Ball
Star Theater
13 NW 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97209
5 p.m.–2 a.m.

Mother Foucault’s Presents The Bookseller’s Ball! A raucous party featuring visiting writers with new books from national independent presses (McSweeney’s, Third Man Books, Wave Poetry, and others), along with beloved local authors and popular NW bands (Power of County, The Savage Family Band, Ex-Kids, Morgan and the Organ Donors, and Bergerette). Come celebrate the last night of AWP 2019 at Portland’s historic Star Theater, and dance the night away with DJ Cecilia after our roster of readers, rock, and shenanigans have properly entertained you.

For the complete list of performers, sponsors, and stage times, head here. This event is free and open to the public. $5 cover for late-night band and dance party is at 10 p.m.

Offsite Event: Intersections: Street Roots, Kimbilio Fiction, and Barrelhouse
Floyd’s Old Town Coffee Shop
118 NW Couch Street, Portland, OR 97209
6:30 p.m.–8 p.m.

Readings, plus a raffle to benefit Street Roots! Readers include Kate Haake, K.B. Carle, Lucas Church, Amina Gautier, Melanie Hatter, Denise Campbell Laidler, Lori Lematta, Jeni McFarland, Aileen McPherson, Leo Rhodes, Rion Amilcar Scott, Nicole Steinberg, and Chris Tonelli.

And, throughout your time in Portland, consider purchasing Street Roots newspapers from local vendors to help those experiencing homelessness and poverty.

Offsite Event: Be About It Press and Yes, Poetry: An AWP Offsite Reading Party
853 N Prescott St, Portland OR 97217
7 p.m.–11 p.m.

Be About It Press and Yes, Poetry present an offsite reading and party featuring performances by Alexandra Naughton, Amy Saul-Zerby, Cassandra Dallett, Jesse Prado, Joanna C. Valente, Kenning JP Garcia, Elæ Elæ, Laurin DeChae, E. Kristin Anderson, Ian Kappos, and Shy Watson.

Offsite Event: Queer Syllabus: A Celebration with Foglifter and The Rumpus
Local Lounge
3536 NE M L King Blvd, Portland, OR 97212
7 p.m.–9 p.m.

Join Foglifter and The Rumpus for an offsite event celebrating the Queer Syllabus! The Queer Syllabus is an act of community and education, but it’s also an act of resistance: When we identify our roots and point to the work that shaped us as writers and as people, we demonstrate that our stories are timeless, essential, and important—and so are we.

Featuring readings from Chen Chen, Melissa Febos, Claire Rudy Foster, T Kira Madden, Alicia Mountain, and Dennis Norris II. Emceed by Baruch Porras-Hernandez. Bring a new or used copy of your favorite queer book for our gay book swap! This event is free and open to the public. Original event artwork by Luna Adler.

To view the first “semester” of Queer Syllabus entries, head here.