AWP is the associated writing programs organization -- for all the MFA / PhD programs in creative writing, etc. And they have a conference every year, and it rotates cities, and this year it's in Chicago. I'll be attending, and if you can swing the registration ($155 'til Jan 23rd, $190 at the door), it's well worth it, I think. It runs Wed - Sat, and you might even want to take a day or two off work if you can to attend more of the daytime panels. It's jam-packed with interesting panels on craft, business, etc. of writing -- you can look at their detailed schedule for more.
There are also a ton of readings by famous writers, and evening parties (mostly hosted by the various degree programs). There's also a huge book room, where many of the little literary magazines and small press publishers have tables, and you can spend hours just wandering around in there, talking to your future editors! :-)
I'll probably be stopping by every day, and I'm on one panel, Sat 9 - 10:15 a.m.
S105. Who Doesn�t Want to Be Popular?: Adventures in Teaching With, For, Around, and Through Commercial FictionHope to see some of you there! It can definitely be overwhelming, so if you do decide to attend, let me know, and maybe we can plan to meet up for coffees or lunches during the conference.
(Lori Rader Day, Scott Blackwood, Kat Falls, Tod Goldberg, Mary Anne Mohanraj)
Continental B, Hilton Chicago, Lobby Level
The writing is what matters�or is it? The longstanding argument between literary and genre writers proves that, sometimes, it�s about more than the words on the page. Writers and teachers of both commercial and literary fiction discuss how that battle plays out in the creative writing classroom. Should students be allowed to write whatever they want? How do we teach students who write in genres we don�t read? What lessons might come from genre-bending? What resources do we turn to?