Event Proposal Guidelines

The AWP Conference & Bookfair includes more than 550 events and over 2,000 presenters. The event proposal process is highly competitive, and we encourage you to familiarize yourself with our guidelines to ensure that your submission has the best possible chance for acceptance. Please visit the How Events Are Selected page for an explanation of the selection and scoring process.

Proposals for 2018 have closed. The proposal system will open again in the spring of 2018 and close on May 1, 2018.

Proposal Terms and Conditions

As an organization of writers, creative writing programs, and writers’ conferences, AWP seeks proposals for presentations about contemporary literature, the art of writing, the pedagogy of writing, and the business of publishing or managing an educational program for writers. Presentation sessions are 75 minutes in length.

The AWP Board of Trustees and the Tampa 2018 Subcommittee encourages proposals featuring panelists who are diverse in their backgrounds, pursuits, affiliations, locations, and ages. While an institutional affiliation is not required of participants, panels should showcase presenters from a variety of organizations and institutions who are at different stages of their careers (including graduate students). The ideal panel discussion will consist of participants who represent a broad range of perspectives and experiences.

AWP membership is not necessary to propose or participate in a conference event.

AWP reserves the right to reject any panel proposal if one or more of its proposed participants fails to meet the guidelines set forth here.

If your event is accepted, you and your fellow panelists must execute the event as it was described in your proposal. Panelists who fail to execute their accepted panel as it is described in the event proposal submission will forfeit their participation in future conferences.

Submission Deadline

Conference proposals must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST (8:59 p.m. PST) on Sunday, May 1, 2016. Proposals may only be submitted via AWP’s online event management system. Proposals received via post or email will not be considered.

Event Organizer

All conference proposals should identify one (1) event organizer who will serve as the primary contact. The event organizer will receive an acceptance notification if the proposed panel is accepted for the conference. The organizer is responsible for confirming all event particulars, including participant contact information,, scheduling requests, and audio-visual needs.

The event organizer will not be listed as an event participant or identified as such in the conference program unless the organizer self-identifies as a moderator or participant in the proposal. If the event organizer wishes to be listed in the conference program and take part in the event, she or he must be included on the list of participants.

Event Moderator

Events should have a designated moderator, who may also be the event organizer. The moderator is considered an event participant and is expected to adhere to AWP’s participation guidelines, policies, and limitations. The moderator’s biographical note will be included in the online conference schedule.

Moderator Responsibilities

The moderator oversees event proceedings, including the question and answer session, and must ensure that presentation, discussion, and/or reading time is managed appropriately within the event’s allotted time. All moderators and participants must adhere to AWP’s presenter guidelines, policies, and limitations.

Please note: While the moderator is responsible for managing the content of the conference event, the event organizer is responsible for submitting all relevant paperwork to AWP and for serving as the liaison between AWP and the event participants.

Limitations on Participation

In order for AWP to create a diverse and well-balanced schedule, presenters may participate in no more than two (2) accepted events, only one of which may be a reading. An individual may be included in no more than three (3) proposals. If an individual is listed as a participant in more than three proposals, all proposals that include that individual may be removed from consideration.

Each presenter must confirm that she or he wishes to participate in the event via AWP’s online submission system. If AWP identifies proposals listing unconfirmed presenters, the event may be removed from consideration. Proposals with unconfirmed presenters have a historically lower chance of being accepted onto the schedule.

Each event may have a minimum of two (2) and a maximum of (5) participants, including the moderator.

Requests for Changes to Submissions

Once a proposal is submitted, changes cannot be made unless the event is accepted onto the conference schedule. Contact events@awpwriter.org with any questions you may have.

Preparing Your Proposal Submission: What You Need to Know

Prepare your proposal prior to entering it into our online submission form. We recommend you first type your proposal, save the file on your computer, and then cut-and-paste the information into the submission form, rather than composing your proposal online.

You will need to include:

  • Valid email addresses for all event participants;
  • Type of event you are submitting (see the section below on Types of Events);
  • Complete event description (500 characters, including spaces);
  • Complete event statement of merit (500 characters, including spaces);
  • Confirmation that each proposed presenter is willing to participate on the event (provided by participants).

Incomplete submissions will not be considered.

Participants

You are required to submit a valid email address for each of your proposed participants. AWP uses email addresses for AWP projects and services only. Please see AWP’s Privacy Policy for more information on how we use email addresses. If the event organizer wishes to be listed in the conference program and/or take part in the event, they must be included on the list of participants.

All participants listed in your proposal must confirm their willingness to participate by linking their AWP accounts to the proposal. After a proposal is submitted, each participant will receive an email from AWP with instructions on how to link his or her account to the proposal, which will automatically attach their short biography to the event. Please notify them about this forthcoming email before submitting your proposal. Once a proposal is submitted and the participants are in the process of linking their accounts, changes to the participant list and proposal content cannot be made by the event organizer unless the event is accepted onto the conference schedule. Any changes made to an accepted event are subject to approval by AWP. Significant changes made to an accepted event may subject it to removal from the program.

Event Description

Your event description should be no more than 500 characters long, including spaces. This text will appear in the conference programs if your event is accepted. On our web-based schedule, attendees are able to search accepted events' titles and descriptions for specific subjects that may interest them. Your description should indicate the panel’s topic and focus as specifically as possible, and reference any key terms that may be pertinent to attendees interested in your event.

Do not use all caps other than to indicate acronyms. Do not include email addresses or personal web addresses. Do not list the names of your participants in your event description.

Statement of Merit

Your statement of merit should be no longer than 500 characters, including spaces. This is your opportunity to share with the conference subcommittee the importance of your proposal. Explain why the topic is of specific interest to the field, how the event addresses specific needs of a constituency, how it is inclusive and diverse, and how it stands out among others.

Do not use all caps other than to indicate acronyms.

Your Event Type

In the proposal form, you will be prompted to select an event type. Please see the Types of Events section to review detailed descriptions of our event categories and choose the one that best fits your proposal. Proposals submitted to inappropriate event categories receive low rankings and jeopardize their chances for acceptance.

Biographical Notes

Each participant should have a short biographical note of no more than 300 characters, including spaces. Participants submit their short bio when they follow email instructions to link their account to a proposal or through the My Conference Participant Information page of their online user account. All short bios will be automatically added to any events to which they are linked. The short bio should begin with the presenter’s first and last name. Biographical notes should concisely reflect information relevant to the panel, such as publications or teaching, editorial, and/or administrative experience. For publications, include the genre and no more than three book or journal titles.

Please do not include the following in biographical notes:

  • Personal information, such as place of birth, family members, or hobbies;
  • Publishers or years of publication;
  • Magazine publications if you have published a book;
  • All caps other than to indicate acronyms; or
  • Email addresses or web addresses.

AWP reserves the right to edit all biographical notes.

Sample bios:

Luna Hartman is the author of three books of poetry: Threshold; Lunar Sightings; and Wonderlust. She was awarded an NEA fellowship for poetry in 2010. Hartman directs the writing program at Palmer University.

Roger Martinez is a former fellow and current board member for the Windside Artist Residency. He is the fiction editor of the New Albany Review and is the program director at the Center for the Arts. His book reviews appear in newspapers throughout the country.

Audio-Visual Requests

Audio-visual requests are not required in the submission of an event proposal. All events will be outfitted with an appropriate sound system that does not need to be requested in advance. Please do not make a request for additional audio-visual equipment unless you require such items to facilitate your event.

If Internet access or an LCD projector is necessary to your event, please select your equipment requirements on the proposal submission form and provide a statement of need. As a result of the significant costs related to the rental of these items at the conference, requests will not be taken after event proposals are submitted. AWP reserves the right to accept or deny audio-visual requests for accepted events. Audio-visual requests will not be factored into the scoring of your proposal during the selection process.

Types of Events

You may propose one of the following types of events:

Type Description

Agents, Contracts, Contests, & Marketing

These presentations and workshops address the business side of publishing. Events should provide advice in selecting a literary agent, entering literary competitions, understanding copyright laws and issues of libel or defamation, finding a publisher, executing a contract for publication, organizing reading tours and book launches, and promoting and marketing one’s own literary work.

Artistic & Professional Stewardship

These presentations provide advice on how one should manage one’s talents, life, and career for greater artistic or professional success. Topics may include managing the writer’s life; employment or promotion, either within or outside academe; post-MFA/PhD opportunities; community outreach; managing writing groups; writing residency opportunities; time management; familial or parental concerns; needs of the disabled; literacy; job interview skills; development of resumes or CVs; internships; and jobs in professional writing, criticism, editing, publishing, arts administration, and academe. Caucuses should be submitted in this category; please see the “Caucus” section of this document for information about caucuses.

Children’s & Young Adult Literature: Craft, Criticism, & Readings

These presentations (panels or readings) focus on the elements of craft in writing for children or young adults and other topics. They may also include readings by three or more children’s and young adult authors.

Fiction Craft & Criticism

These presentations focus on the craft of writing short stories and novels and the challenges of writing in various forms of narration: epistolary novels, experimental fiction, short-short fiction, unreliable narrators, handling point-of-view, genre fiction, effective dialogue, ethnic representation, maximalist fiction, speculative fiction, minimalism, humor, the influence or legacy of fiction writers, current controversies and trends in recently published fiction, and other topics. These presentations may focus on topics of craft that apply to fiction along with other artistic mediums, including mixed media collaborations, interdisciplinary forms, and other genre bending and blending aesthetics. Discussions may also be focused on topics that highlight the region where the conference is being held. 

Fiction Readings

These readings are by two or more authors of novels and short story collections. Presses may also propose events in this category, including anniversary readings celebrating milestones in their publishing history. Readings may also showcase outstanding authors from the region in which the annual conference is held.

Multiple Literary Genres Craft & Criticism

These presentations focus on topics of craft that apply to two or more literary genres, including issues pertaining to the creative process; literary culture or cultural theory; and writing for social justice, ethnic representation, environmental issues, religion, politics, science, and cultural trends and upheavals. The discussion should be around how the issues play across at least two literary genres. These presentations may also focus on topics of craft that apply to two or more literary genres along with other artistic mediums, including mixed media collaboration, interdisciplinary forms, and other genre bending and blending aesthetics.

Multiple Literary Genres Readings

Readings by two or more writers in two or more literary genres fall under this category. Presses may also propose events in this category, including readings celebrating milestones in their publishing history. Readings may also showcase outstanding authors from the region in which the annual conference is being held.

Nonfiction Craft & Criticism

These presentations focus on the craft of writing nonfiction, including personal and lyric essays, biography, memoir, environmental advocacy, research, the influence or legacy of nonfiction writers, current controversies and trends, and other topics. These presentations may focus on topics of craft that apply to nonfiction along with other artistic mediums, including mixed media collaborations, interdisciplinary forms, and other genre bending and blending aesthetics. Discussions may also be focused on topics that highlight the region where the conference is being held. 

Nonfiction Readings

These readings are by two or more authors of memoirs, essays of creative nonfiction, and literary biographies. Presses may also propose events in this category, including anniversary readings celebrating milestones in their publishing history. Readings may also showcase outstanding authors from the region in which the annual conference is held.

Pedagogy

These presentations focus primarily on issues related to effective teaching of writing at all levels: graduate workshops, undergraduate seminars, K though 12, and writers-in-the-schools or community classes. Pedagogy events may be focused on the teaching of a single genre or multiple genres. Proposals should clarify which levels of education upon which the presenters will focus.

Playwriting & Screenwriting: Craft, Criticism, & Readings

These presentations focus on elements of craft as well as appreciations of other writers and discussions of cultural trends in theater, cinema, and television. Readings by actors, playwrights, or screenwriters should also be submitted in this category.

Poetry Craft & Criticism

These presentations focus on the craft of writing poetry: the elements of formal verse, free verse, creative strategies, literary theory, audience development, aesthetics, the influence or legacy of poets, current controversies and trends, and other topics. These presentations may focus on topics of craft that apply to poetry along with other artistic mediums, including mixed media collaborations, interdisciplinary forms, and other genre bending and blending aesthetics. Discussions may also be focused on topics that highlight the region where the conference is being held.

Poetry Readings

These readings are by two or more authors of poetry. Presses may also propose events in this category, including anniversary readings celebrating milestones in their publishing history. Readings may also showcase outstanding authors from the region in which the annual conference is held.

Program Development

These events are designed for the administrators of various kinds of creative writing programs: residency programs, low-residency programs, undergraduate programs, graduate programs, and programs at two-year colleges. The presentations focus on the elements of good program administration: admissions, state and regional accreditation requirements, curriculum development, recruitment of faculty, fundraising, alumni development, marketing, and strategic planning.

Publishing, Editing, & Technology

These presentations are addressed to editors, publishers, distributors, and the technological facilitators of literary books, anthologies, journals, book reviews, web sites, and electronic media. Topics may include: marketing, graphic design, editing, rights acquisition, copyright, web site development, organizational development, business realignments in publishing, small press administration, designing publications for digital tablets, and technological innovations influencing reading, writing, and publishing.

Translation: Craft, Criticism, & Readings

These events focus on theories and strategies of translation, cultural differences, and the practical considerations of international literary markets for translated works. They may also include events with translators reading from recent work, and may be followed by a short reading or speech by the translated author.

Tributes

Tributes are appreciations of outstanding living authors, literary mentors, and editors, or those who have died within the last twenty years. Discussions may be focused on individuals who hold significant literary ties to the region where the conference is being held. Such events typically have at least three speakers testifying about the tributee’s work as an artist, mentor or teacher. The testimonies can be followed by a short reading or speech by the honoree.

Writers’ Conferences & Centers Events

These presentations focus on issues related to good management of literary nonprofit organizations, writers’ conferences, and community centers: audience development, community service, administration, marketing, board development, fundraising, programming, facilities management, strategic planning, and teaching outside academe.

Caucuses

Proposed caucuses should be made up of a specific demographic group that shares academic, literary, and professional development concerns that are not already addressed through the other 18 programming modules within the proposal system. Subject matter already designated under the 18 programming modules within the proposal system (e.g. pedagogy discussions, or children’s and young adult literature sessions) is not eligible to create a caucus.

A new caucus may be proposed only by a nonprofit literary organization whose mission is to support the demographic group of the caucus. If no such organization exists, AWP will still consider the proposal without any such affiliation. A proposal for a new caucus must be sent to events@awpwriter.org by May 1 for the following year’s conference, and be accompanied by the following materials:

  1. A petition signed by 30 AWP members who have attended the previous three conferences, which must include their first and last names and email addresses;
  2. If applicable, a one-page letter from the executive director, or senior official, of the sponsoring nonprofit detailing how the organization will administer the caucus;
  3. A caucus description not to exceed 500 characters, including spaces; and
  4. A statement of merit not to exceed 500 characters, including spaces.

The Conference Steering Committee of the AWP Board of Trustees will evaluate new caucus proposals with no guarantee of acceptance. Once a proposal is accepted, the caucus will need to be submitted through AWP’s electronic proposal system for record keeping purposes.

After a caucus holds two annual meetings, the AWP board revaluates the caucus for automatic acceptance onto the conference schedule. To receive this status, the caucus must demonstrate an extraordinary need that goes beyond the programming accepted through the regular proposal process.

The Conference Steering Committee of the AWP Board of Trustees reserves the right to deny a caucus acceptance onto the conference schedule for a violation of the Caucus Presenter Guidelines as outlined in the Presenter Guidelines. Please see the Presenter Guidelines for a detailed explanation of the guidelines for conducting caucuses and the criteria for automatic acceptance of a caucus.

Selection and Scoring Process

Please visit the How Events Are Selected page for an explanation of the selection and scoring process.

Notification

All event organizers will be notified of submission results via email in early August. Event confirmation forms and formal letters of acceptance will be sent via email shortly thereafter. Your confirmation form must be completed, signed electronically, and returned to AWP no later than Monday, August 14 for the accepted event to appear in the 2018 conference schedule.

Suggestions for Success

Do not wait until the final week to submit.

Consider revising and resending a previously rejected panel. Each year, AWP is unable to accept a number of high-quality panels because of space limitations. Because the composition of the conference subcommittee changes from year to year, we encourage you to resubmit if the panel topic remains relevant.

Save a backup copy of your proposal. Make sure you have a copy of your proposal saved in case something should go wrong during your submission process.

The Event Management system will let you create, edit, save, and return to edit your event as many times as you need to. Be sure all sections are complete and accurate before you submit.

Don’t draft your proposal in the online form or leave your proposal form open and idle on your computer without pressing the green SAVE button for the section. This could cause you to lose information if for some reason you are disconnected from AWP’s website or the form unexpectedly closes. Prepare the text beforehand and copy-and-paste into the online form.

If your proposal was submitted before it was complete, email us at events@awpwriter.org. When we hear from you we will eliminate the incomplete proposal and you may submit a new version.

If you would like to be in the conference program, include yourself as a participant. Event organizers must list themselves as participants in order to be included in the program.

Do not mail your proposal. AWP does not accept proposals sent by post or email. Proposals must be submitted through our website.

Wait for your confirmation email. Confirmation for your proposal will be sent via email a few minutes after you submit. Please be patient. You can check on the status of your proposal at any time by visiting the Event Management system. When an event is successfully submitted, a PDF copy of that proposal is automatically emailed to you and available for download in the Event Management system.

Make sure you’ve entered your email address correctly. Confirmation for your proposal will be sent via email within 48 hours of your submission.

Be sure to have current contact information for your event participants. Missing or incorrect email addresses may prevent important information from reaching your participants. AWP does not sell or trade email addresses.

Accessibility Services

AWP is committed to making all reasonable arrangements that will allow conference attendees to participate in conference events. All convention centers and hotels occupied by the conference are accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). All rooms at the conference are wheelchair accessible and have seats in the first row marked as reserved for individuals with accessibility needs.

Many accessibility services require advanced planning and reservations for a conference as large as AWP’s. In order to help us better prepare, all requests for accessibility services, equipment, or accommodations, should be submitted in advance. AWP can best meet accessibility needs when requests are sent to events@awpwriter.org by Wednesday, February 7, 2018. AWP will make every effort to accommodate requests that arrive after February 7. Please see the Accessibility Services page of our website for more information.

Attendees who require services during the conference should request it from staff at AWP’s Accessibility Desk located in the registration area.

Registration Policies

All presenters must register for the conference and can do so at our reduced presenter rate. The rate will be made available to all presenters, who will be notified via email about how and when to register.

Presenter registration includes admission to AWP’s bookfair, meetings, panels, readings, and public receptions for the duration of the conference period. Meals, lodging, and travel are not included. For information on lodging at AWP’s official conference hotels please visit the Hotel & Travel page of our website.

Individuals registering at the student rate must present a valid student ID on site. Individuals registering at the senior rate must also present a valid ID on site.

Attendee Terms and Conditons

Please visit the Attendee Terms & Conditions page for an explanation of these policies, which are automatically agreed upon by anyone who attends the conference.

 

Accessibility Services

Attendee Terms & Conditions

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March 7–10, 2018
Tampa, FL

Tampa Convention Center & Marriott Tampa Waterside

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