On Friday and Saturday, I had the privilege of attending the American Writers Program's annual conference, which this year was held in Seattle, near where I live. My parents were both on a panel, so I got to come along, both as a blogger and as a reader. Unlike ALA and BEA, AWP is more focused towards smaller journals and presses, although plenty of larger publishers had tables and booths as well. I had a lot of fun, though it can get quite overwhelming; the book fair was held in a giant, noisy room, and there are so many tables and so many publishers vying for your attention.
There was also a lot of free paraphernalia, designed to attract people to booths. I picked up a great deal of it, including....
And, of course, chocolate, mainly dark...:
They sure know the way to attract people...
Also, here are a few of the pens and pencils I found particularly amusing or nice:
But of course the main things of interest are the books. Oh, so many books, of all different kinds, poetry and fiction. I saw many books that looked interesting, but I only ended up buying three (though I wrote down the titles of many more).
1. The 13 Clocks, James Thurber (published by the New York Review of Books!)
2. Momo, Michael Ende: Ende's Neverending Story is quite well-known, but I'd never heard of this one before; it sounds intriguing.
3. Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor, Brad Gooch
I also was fortunate enough to receive many more books from various publishers (Archipelago, New Directions, Spuyten Duyvil). Hopefully I'll be reviewing some of them very soon.
Here are the titles:
Conversations, Cesar Aire
Elsa, Tsipi Keller
The Ivory Hour, Laynie Browne
Selected Tales of the Brothers Grimm (featuring illustrations by Haitian artists, this one looks amazing).
Plants Don't Drink Coffee, Unai Elorriaga
A Treatise on Shelling Beans, Wieslaw Mysliwski
Spring Tides, Jacques Poulin
The Chukchi Bible, Yuri Rytkheu
Just as my shelf of books that I need to read was thinning out, more books came pouring in. But I'm not complaining...
Overall, I enjoyed the conference very much, although I would have liked to have been able to go to more panels (E. Lockhart was on several, and I missed it!) Despite the disapproval of many and the fact that it is rather chaotic and uncivilized, I think the conference is a great way for small publishers and journals to promote their work to a good audience, and for people to find out about less popular (and probably better) fiction and poetry. It's no BEA, but AWP probably has more books of merit.