This is my first AWP. I arrived in Minneapolis yesterday (with the good fortune of bumping into Quaint’s new fiction co-editor Katie Oldaker, who made navigating the blue line from the airport to downtown much more pleasant and bearable) and am already completely overwhelmed. It’s my understanding that even if you’re old hat at this sort of thing, even if you draw vitality from large groups of rabid writers like some kind of conference-attending psychic vampire, AWP can still be incredibly overwhelming. Scrolling through the list of panels, readings, parties, and events today (both on the official site, and on social media), I found myself sincerely wishing I had either a) Hermione Granger’s time turner or b) a nice blanket fort to curl up in with a handful of Xanax and a bottle of Jack Daniels. Possibly both.
If, like me, you’re hiding in your hotel room already exhausted before you’ve even begun, I have good news! Quaint has compiled a simple list of the AWP15 off-site events you can’t afford to miss. Here’s Part 1: Wednesday & Thursday. Allow us to simplify the process for you, lest we all succumb to panic attacks and latent alcoholism. Onward– !
WEDNESDAY APRIL 8th
Where: Bryant-Lake Bowl (810 W. Lake St, Minneapolis)
When: 7:00pm (doors at 6:oo)
Why: AROHO do amazing work providing support to women writers in the form of awards, fellowships, grants, and other incredible opportunities. They work tireless to support women, and also run a kickass retreat & conference. Also, don’t lie: you read Janet Finch’s White Oleander when you were a teenage girl, and it made you cry and want to cut off all your hair in the bathroom to symbolize your inner pain and turmoil.
What: Sexy Motherf***er
Why: This reading is a collab between Kundiman, Kore Press, & KAYA press, all of whom support writers from diverse backgrounds (with a particular focus on Asian & Asian American writers, & of course women). We’re all about the work these organizations do, not to mention the fact that they put out some seriously awesome books (have we sung the praises of Carolyn Hembree’s Skinny? Because it’s pretty great). Plus, this reading is Prince themed. Yeah, you heard us. Get your butt there.
Where: The Record Room (701 1st Ave N., Minneapolis)
Why: Maybe one Prince-themed reading is not enough for you. Maybe you fucking love Prince. Maybe you also fucking love diversity, & celebrating kickass writers like Saeed Jones, whose recent article Self-Portrait of the Artist as Ungrateful Black Writer went a little bit viral last week. The lineup at this event is a huge draw card, and we like the sound of a party that’s going to take us into the wee hours with DJ Shannon Blowtorch. Need we say more? (Wear something purple).
THURSDAY APRIL 9th
Why: We at Quaint are very fond of Weird Sister. We love their retro 90s aesthetic. We love their guts-and-gore feminism. We love the thought provoking articles they post. We love that they have a picture of troll dolls on their about page. We’re also big fans of their co-conspirators for this event, The Atlas Review, Gazing Grain Press, & Switchback Books. Mostly, though, we feel compelled to urge your attendance on account of our very own Soleil Ho, Quaint’s co-founder and CNF editor, who’ll be reading along with a whole host of other amazing folks. Not to be missed.
What: The 2015 VIDA Awards
Why: With the 2014 count just released, you might be feeling a little despondent–particularly considering VIDA’s new endeavor, the Women of Color Count, where the numbers are, frankly, downright depressing. But fret not, and lift those spirits with a night devoted to celebrating the achievements of women writers. The awards kick off at 9:00pm, followed by MOTIONPOEMS, and, later, a dance party. What better way to spend the evening?
Where: Pangea World Theater (711 W. Lake St. #101, Minneaoplis)
Why: The racialized & gendered body was brought sharply into focus in 2014 by a number of events both in and out of the literary community. In contemplating the body as space and place (to be used, to be colonized, to be occupied, to be conquered), what can we learn? Three diverse writers will read from work that explores these concepts. Well worth a look-see.
That’s it for now! Check back for our Friday, Saturday, Sunday round-up. And as ever, if you have an event or reading you think we should know about, tweet at us (@quaintmagazine). We can’t wait to hang with you at AWP!