Association of Writers & Writing Programs

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Association of Writers & Writing Programs
Formation 1967
Type Professional/Academic literary organization

The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) provides support, advocacy, resources, and community to nearly 50,000 writers, 500 college and university creative writing programs, and 125 writers’ conferences and centers. Founded in 1967 by R. V. Cassill and George Garrett, their mission is to foster literary achievement, advance the art of writing as essential to a good education, and serve the makers, teachers, students, and readers of contemporary writing.


AWP was established as a nonprofit organization in 1967 by fifteen writers representing thirteen creative writing programs. The new association sought to support the growing presence of literary writers in higher education. At that time, Departments of English were mainly conservatories of the great literature of the past, and scholars fiercely resisted the establishment of creative writing programs. AWP was created to overcome this resistance, to encourage and advocate for new programs, and to provide publishing opportunities for young writers.

Originally named the Associated Writing Programs, the new association accommodated both institutional and individual members. Since institutions are empty places without the individuals to animate them, AWP’s dual membership was an asset in its vitality as an organization. Its dual membership of prestigious universities and accomplished authors persuaded academe that the study of literature should be prospective as well as retrospective—that it should include the play of creation as well as the work of conservation.

More than any other nonprofit literary organization, AWP has helped North America to develop a literature as diverse as its peoples. This, of course, is not a boast for AWP alone; it is also a boast for the virtues of higher education in the democratic countries. Their member programs have provided literary education to students and aspiring writers from all backgrounds, economic classes, races, and ethnic origins.

AWP has also supported the development of hundreds of educational programs, conferences, reading series, and literary magazines, as well as thousands of jobs for writers and new audiences for contemporary literature. Academic programs have mustered hundreds of millions of dollars to support the study, making, and enjoyment of literature. The advent of creative writing programs has created the world’s largest network of literary patronage.

AWP Conference & Bookfair[edit]

The AWP Conference & Bookfair is the largest literary conference in North America. AWP hosts an annual conference in a different region of North America, featuring over 1900 presenters and 550 presentations, readings, lectures, panel discussions, book signings, and receptions. The conference attracts more than 10,000 attendees, 600 bookfair exhibitors.[1]

AWP’s first conference was held in 1972 at the Library of Congress, and it hosted six events and sixteen presenters. George Garrett, one of AWP’s founders, planned the first gathering with help from the National Endowment for the Arts. Presenters included Elliott Coleman, founder of the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, Paul Engle, founder of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, poets Josephine Jacobsen and Miller Williams, and novelists Ralph Ellison and Wallace Stegner, among others.

Most conference events are organized by their participants and selected in a competitive submission process by AWP’s conference committee. Featured events are organized and sponsored by member institutions, affiliated literary organizations, or AWP.

Future Conferences Sites:

2015 Minneapolis, Minnesota April 8–11, 2015 Minneapolis Convention Center & Hilton Minneapolis

2016 Los Angeles, California March 30-April 2, 2016 Los Angeles Convention Center & JW Marriott L.A.

2017 Washington, D.C. February 8–11, 2017 Washington Convention Center & Washington Marriott Marquis


the Writer's Chronicle
Frequency 6 Issues per Year
Circulation 40,000
Publisher AWP
Country United States
Language English
Website [1]

For over four decades, the Writer’s Chronicle has served as a leading source of articles, news, and information for writers, editors, students, and teachers of writing. Published six times a year, the Chronicle provides diverse insights into the art of writing that are accessible, pragmatic, and idealistic. Each issue features in-depth essays on the craft of writing, as well as extensive interviews with accomplished authors. Readers can also find news on publishing trends and literary controversies; a listing of grants, awards, and publication opportunities available to writers; and a list of upcoming conferences for writers, including AWP’s Annual Conference & Bookfair. The Chronicle's pages are for those who love reading and writing.

Awards sponsored[edit]

AWP sponsors six contests, and also provides an extensive listing of literary grants, awards, and publication opportunities available from organizations and publishers throughout North America. Their contests include the AWP Award Series, the George Garrett Award, the Small Press Publisher Award, the Intro Journals Project, the WC&C Scholarship Competition, and the National Program Directors’ Prize.

AWP Award Series[edit]

AWP sponsors the Award Series, an annual competition for the publication of excellent new book-length works. The competition is open to all authors writing in English regardless of nationality or residence, and is available to published and unpublished authors alike. The Donald Hall Prize for Poetry is an award of $5,500 and publication. The Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction is an award of $5,500 and publication. The AWP Prize for Creative Nonfiction is an award of $2,500 and publication. The AWP Prize for the Novel is an award of $2,500 and publication.

AWP George Garrett Award[edit]

The annual AWP George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature recognized a few of those individuals who have made notable donations of care, time, labor, and money to support writers and their literary accomplishments.

The award is named for George Garrett (1929-2008), who made exceptional contributions to his fellow writers as a teacher, mentor, editor, friend, board member, and good spirit.

The award includes a $2,000 honorarium, in addition to travel, accommodations, and registration to attend AWP's annual conference, where the award is publicly announced and conferred.

Small Press Publisher Award[edit]

AWP’s Small Press Publisher Award is an annual prize for nonprofit presses and literary journals that recognizes the important role such organizations play in publishing creative works and introducing new authors to the reading public. The award acknowledges the hard work, creativity, and innovation of these presses and journals, and honors their contributions to the literary landscape through their publication of consistently excellent work.

The award includes a $2,000 honorarium and a complimentary exhibit booth, including two complimentary conference registrations, at AWP’s Annual Conference & Bookfair in the year following the recipient’s recognition. In even years, the award is given to a journal, and, in odd years, to a press.

WC&C Scholarship Competition[edit]

AWP offers two annual scholarships of $500 each to emerging writers who wish to attend a writers’ conference, center, retreat, festival, or residency. The scholarships are applied to fees for winners who attend one of the member programs in AWP’s Directory of Conferences & Centers. Winners and four finalists also receive a one-year individual membership in AWP.

Intro Journals Project[edit]

The Intro Journals Project is a literary competition for the discovery and publication of the best new works by students currently enrolled in AWP member programs. Program directors are invited to nominate students works, which are selected for publication in participating literary journals, including Artful Dodge, Colorado Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Mid-American Review, Puerto del Sol, Quarterly West, and Tampa Review.

National Program Directors’ Prize[edit]

Instituted by the directors of AWP’s member programs, two National Program Directors' Prizes for undergraduate literary magazines are awarded annually to outstanding journals in the categories of content and design. Each winning magazine receives a $500 cash award. Winners are announced in the Writer's Chronicle and in other media, and the winning magazines are acknowledged at AWP's Annual Conference & Bookfair the following year. Prize honoraria are sent directly to the winning magazines. The final judges for content and design are announced at the conclusion of the competition.

External links[edit]


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