A Geek’s Guide to the 2015 Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference (AWP)

If you’re attending next week’s Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference—better known to the world as AWP—it’s already a given that you’re a writing geek. But AWP also has plenty of offerings for your more specific “geek” tendencies. Here are some of the best panels that might appeal to those interests.

Remember! If you don’t want to shell out for the full four-day registration ($255), you can buy a Saturday-only pass on-site for just $40. Considering the full day of awesome sessions that price covers, it’s a pretty great deal, especially since it’s not every year the conference comes to Minneapolis.

Pen and blank notebook

The Comics Geek

Comics Confessional: The Allure of the Graphic Memoir (R178)
This panel discusses what makes comics such a powerful tool for autobiography—Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis being two of the best-known examples.

Honorable mention: The Voyage of Graphic Literary Forms (R141)

The Fantasy Geek

Fascinated or Haunted: Why We Continue to Write & Rewrite Fairy Tales (S182)
The perennial appeal of fairy tales as a basis for new works. This panel previously listed U of M professor emeritus and fairy-tale authority Jack Zipes, but his name seems to have disappeared from the roster.

Honorable mention: Speculating Darkly: A Poetry Reading (S242)

The Sci Fi Geek

Nerd Novels: Exploring Worlds of Knowledge in Fiction (F144)
Bringing science to life in fiction writing. How can authors get the crucial parts of information across to their readers without getting bogged down by the details?

Honorable mention: YA and Middle Grade Speculative Fiction: What’s at Stake? (F151)

The Alternate History Geek

Historical Fiction and Fictional History (S149)
Writers of steampunk and other fictional takes on the past should enjoy hearing this panel talk about the opportunities and challenges of writing historically-based fiction and ways to deal with putting real people and events alongside the ones you invent.

The TV/Movie Geek

Teaching Fiction in a Golden Age of Television (S135)
Discussing how the visual storytelling of TV and films can improve fiction writing—and what elements are less than helpful.

The Music Geek

Literature and Hip Hop: An Investigation (F196)
An all-star panel—featuring Kevin Beacham, Dessa, POS, and Adrian Matejka—talks about the intersection of hip-hop and literature.

Honorable mention: Music Up Close, a Discussion with the Minnesota Orchestra: Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, and Lieberson’s Neruda Songs (F308 or S299)


Of course, these are far from the only amazing panels at AWP. Dive into the full list of programming here—and don’t forget to check out your favorite publishers on Twitter and Facebook for information on off-site events not listed on the conference website. AWP runs April 8 through April 11 at the Convention Center and the Minneapolis Hilton.

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