The annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference is a wordsmith’s paradise. The largest event of its kind in North America, the AWP features more than 2,000 presenters and 550 readings, panels, and craft lectures centered on writing, editing and publishing, as well as a book fair hosting more than 800 presses, journals and literary organizations from around the world. The most recent conference, which was held in Tampa, Fla., drew more than 12,000 attendees, including several of Le Moyne’s creative writing students.
Over the course of five days, these burgeoning authors networked and spoke to experts about the professional and creative sides of the industry. They learned about overcoming writer’s block, revising their work, and submitting it for consideration for publication. They also had the opportunity to hear directly from some of the nation’s most influential writers, including National Book Award finalist George Saunders, who encouraged the students and others present to focus on their commonalities rather than their differences in order to be united as writers – and human beings.
“I learned a lot about the messy beauty of writing and editing, and how crucial research can be, even for a work of fiction,” said Amelia Mapstone ’18, an English major from Rochester, N.Y. “It’s inspired me to be more focused in my own novel-writing and research, and so I’ve honed in on that part of my craft since attending AWP.”
The students were accompanied by faculty mentors Linda Pennisi, Patrick Lawler and David Lloyd, who said that his aim following the conference was for the students to return to campus with specific information relevant to their work as writers, as well as a general sense of the vital ways creative writing serves the contemporary world.
“I hope that the students return to campus having felt a part of a true writer community: 12,000 or so individuals from around the world converging on Tampa because they are passionate about poems, stories, essays, scripts, novels – or new forms of writing that don’t yet have a name,” Lloyd said. “I also hope our students returned with useful information about the writing process, getting work published, and the publishing industry.”
Aspiring attorney Tim Murphy '18, an English major from Syracuse, N.Y., was particularly fascinated by a panel centered on the translation of written works into different languages, and the ways in which translators attempt to retain the intent of the author while also making the text relevant to readers of foreign languages. Meanwhile, Carly McMichael ’18, an English major from Haddonfield, N.J., who plans on a career in teaching, came away from the AWP even eager to expose her future students to various kinds of writing and to help them grow as writers themselves. Beyond that, she plans to continue to write throughout her personal and professional life.
“It is something I have always enjoyed,” she said.
Maptone echoed those sentiments. She recalled being especially moved by Saunders’ address, in which he said the relationship between a writer and a reader is a “brief joining of our best minds.”
Creative Writing at Le Moyne
Creative Writing Faculty