Let's Write a New Chapter

Help Improve AWP

It has been a great story so far. Fifteen writers came together in 1967 to form our association.  Since then, we succeeded in nurturing important new literary voices. We increased the engagements between the Departments of English and the general reading public. We helped to grow bigger and more diverse audiences for literature. We now support 34,000 writers, teachers, and students all over the world. Unfortunately, while we championed what was new and contemporary in literature, our association’s bylaws and articles of incorporation became relics of the 1960s.

The old articles were written for an era when all of our members could assemble in a small hotel meeting room. The growth and the far-flung diversity of our membership make such a business meeting impossible now. Our success has broken the old system of governance.

The Perennial Lack of a Quorum

Our old and current articles require that 60% of our voting members must assemble at the conference to make an official quorum. Even though 12,000 people attend our conference now, only about a third of our voting members are among them. Typically, less than 10% of our members vote in any election—even after we began conducting elections via email and our website.

Ironically, to adopt new governance, we need to muster a quorum to solve the big problem of an association that has failed to achieve a quorum for four decades. The proposed system of governance addresses this problem while it will provide AWP with many advantages in fundraising and in building a modern, stronger, more nimble, more resourceful association for our future work on your behalf.

The proposed bylaws and articles have been informed by the examples of our nation’s most successful, membership-driven arts groups. These organizations also had to implement the kind of reform we propose to you now. While the proposed governance contains many new advantages for AWP’s future, it will preserve and expand upon the one familiar component that proved to be the most fruitful: the regional representation of our creative writing programs. Our member programs will have more responsibilities in the new system.

Literary Legislators

“If more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a better place,” said President Kennedy. Emulating that happy confluence of art and governance, we propose the new governance to marry our literary aspirations with the best business practices of modern arts groups and nonprofit corporate law. Your support for the proposed governance will help us build new services for writers, teachers, students, and anyone who loves a fine book.

Please help AWP become a modern and more resourceful organization, and vote now.

—The Board of Directors & Staff of AWP

P.S. Please write to us at elections@awpwriter.org if you have any questions about the proposal for new bylaws and articles of incorporation.


Elected Board Members

Read the campaign statements and bios of those previously elected to AWP's Board of Directors.