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) is a nonprofit literary organization that 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, originally named the Associated Writing Programs, 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. It accepted both institutional and individual members, and it aimed to persuade the academic community that the creation of literature had a place in the academy as important as the study of literature did.

AWP has helped North America to develop a literature as diverse as its peoples. 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. Creative writing programs today constitute the world’s largest network of literary patronage. [source?]

AWP Conference & Bookfair[edit]

The AWP Conference & Bookfair is the largest and most inclusive literary conference in North America. AWP hosts an annual conference in a different region of North America, featuring over 2,000 presenters and 550 presentations, readings, lectures, panel discussions, book signings, and receptions. The conference attracts more than 12,000 attendees, 800 bookfair exhibitors.[1]

AWP’s first conference was held in 1973 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 subcommittee. Featured events are organized and sponsored by member institutions, affiliated literary organizations, or AWP.

Past conference sites:

2004 - Chicago, Illinois (March 24 - 27, 2004), Palmer House Hilton
4,000 Attendees / 300 Exhibitors / 200 Events

2005 - Vancouver, British Columbia (March 30 - April 2, 2005), Hyatt Regency Hotel & Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
3,000 Attendees / 300 Exhibitors / 200 Events

2006 - Austin, Texas (March 8-11, 2006), Hilton Austin & Austin Convention Center
4,500 Attendees / 350 Exhibitors / 230 Events

2007 - Atlanta, Georgia (February 28 - March 3, 2007), Atlanta Hilton
5,200 Attendees / 400 Exhibitors / 300 Events

2008 - New York, New York (January 30-February 2, 2008), Hilton New York & Sheraton New York
8,000 Attendees / 400 Exhibitors / 350 Events

2009 - Chicago, Illinois (February 11-14, 2009), Hilton Chicago
8,500 Attendees / 450 Exhibitors / 375 Events

2010 - Denver, Colorado (April 7-10, 2010) Hyatt Regency Denver & Colorado Convention Center
7,500 Attendees / 450 Exhibitors / 400 Events

2011 - Washington, DC (February 2-5, 2011) Marriott Wardman Park & Omni Shoreham
9,400 Attendees / 500 Exhibitors / 400 Events

2012 - Chicago, Illinois (February 29-March 3, 2012) Hilton Chicago & Palmer House Hilton
10,700 Attendees / 600 Exhibitors / 430 Events

2013 - Boston, Massachusetts (March 6 - 9, 2013), Hynes Convention Center & Sheraton Boston
12,000+ Attendees / 700+ Exhibitors / 600+ Events

2014 - Seattle, Washington (February 26 - March 1, 2014) Washington State Convention Center & Sheraton Seattle
13,000+ Attendees / 700+ Exhibitors / 500+ Events

2015 - Minneapolis, Minnesota (April 8 - 11, 2015) Minneapolis Convention Center & Hilton Minneapolis
12,000+ Attendees / 800+ Exhibitors / 550+ Events

2016 - Los Angeles, California (March 30-April 2, 2016) Los Angeles Convention Center & JW Marriott L.A.
12,000+ Attendees / 800+ Exhibitors / 550+ Events

2017 - Washington, DC (February 8–11, 2017) Washington Convention Center
12,000+ Attendees / 800+ Exhibitors / 550+ Events

Future conferences sites:

2018 Tampa, Florida
March 7 - 10, 2018
Tampa Convention Center

2019 Portland, Oregon
March 27 - 31, 2019
Oregon Convention Center

2020 San Antonio, Texas
March 4 - 7, 2020
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center

2021 Kansas City, Missouri
March 3 - 6, 2021
Kansas City Convention Center

2022 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
March 23 - 26, 2022
Pennsylvania Convention Center


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 Kurt Brown Prizes, 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.

Kurt Brown Prizes[edit]

AWP offers three annual prizes of $500 each to emerging writers who wish to attend a writers’ conference, center, retreat, festival, or residency. The prize money is applied to fees for winners who attend one of the member programs in AWP’s Directory of Conferences & Centers. Winners and finalists also receive a one-year individual membership in AWP. This was formerly known as the WC&C Scholarship Competition and was renamed in 2017 after the founder of the writers' conferences & centers membership program at AWP.[2]

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.


Vanessa Place was removed from the 2016 Los Angeles Subcommittee to satisfy concerns of the AWP membership after Place received criticism for a Twitter art project where she retyped the entire text from the 1936 novel Gone with the Wind in an effort to call attention the the novel's inherent racism.[3] While some have argued the Twitter account was meant to scrutinize and call attention to stereotyping and racism in Gone With the Wind, others accused it of being racist or insensitive itself, which resulted in not only the removal of Place from the subcommittee, but also a number of other literary organizations canceling appearances by Place.

In 2015, a petition started due to the lack of inclusion of people with disabilities from the conference.[4] The petition included facts about the 2016 planning committee rejecting every proposal related to disability[4] wherein actuality, AWP had accepted one panel, a disability networking event, where individuals with disabilities could discuss "common challenges."[4] In 2015, several disability related events were held at the conference, so attendees were expecting disability related events at the 2016 conference, however an extremely small number were proposed.[4] To address accessibility, AWP implemented changes for the 2016 event, including a desk where attendees could report accessibility issues, extra seating in the conference area, and accessibility information on their website.[5][4][6][7] This addition to the conference did not fully address the needs of conference attendees or presenters.[8]

The 2017 AWP conference failed to address disability in actuality. The accessibility desk at the 2017 conference was inaccessible by people with disabilities for half of the event, some of the stages for presenters were only equipped with stairs, and the planned events and venue chosen had inaccessible features. Attendees reported incidents where facilities were inaccessible and did not follow the Americans with Disabilities Act compliance guidelines.[8][9] At each conference, AWP provides accessibility services including ASL interpretation, cued speech transliteration, computer assisted real time captioning, assistive listening devices, braille programs, quiet spaces, and much more to attendees who request these services. [10]

External links[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Update Regarding the AWP Los Angeles 2016 Subcommittee"
  4. ^ a b c d e Logue, Josh. "Disabilities and Writing". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Morgan Teicher, Craig. "M.F.A. Update May 2016: How the American Creative Writing Community Can be Made More Inclusive". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  7. ^ Langlois, Jessica. "Can the Nation's Largest Writers' Conference Transcend Lit's Lack of Diversity?". LA Weekly. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Constant, Paul. "Seattle Review of Books Statement of Support for Disability Access". Seattle Review of Books. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  9. ^ King, Amy. "DISABILITY ACCESS AT AWP 2017 & IMPROVEMENTS: YOUR EXPERIENCES?". VIDA Women in Literary Arts. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  10. ^ "AWP: Conference & Bookfair Accessibility Services". Retrieved 2017-04-18.