Prairie Schooner at AWP

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Prairie Schooner is going to the AWP Conference in Chicago from February 29–March 3!

The Annual AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) Conference and Bookfair is the largest annual Creative Writing marquee event in the country, featuring panel discussions and readings by many of the biggest names in literature today. Margaret Atwood will deliver the 2012 Keynote Address. Prairie Schooner Editor-in-Chief Kwame Dawes says, “AWP is always a tremendous gathering—it is one place where a writer feels as if writing is the most important thing in the world. We should get to feel that way at least once a year.” The 2012 conference in Chicago has sold out, meaning the number of registered attendees has exceeded 9,500, an all-time high for AWP.

To match the energy sparked by Prairie Schooner’s brand-new website and web initiatives—such as “Air Schooner,” a literary podcast series, and “Fusion,” an online collaborative series between Prairie Schooner and other innovative online entities—Prairie Schooner will be an important presence at this year’s AWP Conference. On Thursday, March 1, past Prairie Schooner Book-Prize-Winning authors will read at the Prairie Schooner Tenth Anniversary Book Prize Series Reading. Many of these authors will hold a book signing on Friday, March 2, at Prairie Schooner’s table in the Bookfair. Afterward, Glenna Luschei will be one of the presenters on the panel “Under New Management: The Literary Journal in the Changing World.” Friday evening, Prairie Schooner will host a private reception with over 100 guests planning to attend.

One of Prairie Schooner’s most important tasks at AWP is interacting with subscribers, readers, and submitting writers to receive feedback, especially this year with our new cover design, website, web initiatives, and online submission system. Professor Dawes says, “This year we are going to spend a lot of time listening to our subscribers and potential subscribers about what they think of our new look, new initiatives and where they see us going in the future. We hope to take advantage of the record attendance this year and try to excite people about taking out subscriptions to the journal.”

Roughly two-dozen staff members and UNL English faculty will be present as well. Managing Editor Marianne Kunkel says, “We work hard to have a big presence at this conference by offering travel stipends to graduate students willing to work at our bookfair table, encouraging students and faculty members to distribute flyers about the journal on-site, asking everyone to pack cameras and laptops to report about the conference online, and offering many Prairie Schooner-related conference events. This time of year, when the Prairie Schooner community prepares to join a much larger community of national and international creative writers, is exciting. I’m confident that our staff will be great ambassadors for the journal at this conference.”