Event Proposal Guidelines

The 2021 AWP Conference & Bookfair will feature over 200 events and hundreds of presenters. The events that will be held as part of the 2021 Conference & Bookfair consist of cancelled #AWP20 events that were formally deferred to #AWP21 by their event organizer, and new events proposed this year by first-time event organizers. The deferred #AWP20 events went through the proposal submission process in 2019 and were selected by the 2020 San Antonio Conference Subcommittee. All new event proposals submitted this summer were evaluated by the 2021 Conference Subcommittee.

Panel organizers of all #AWP21 events, both deferred and new, are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Event Proposal Guidelines below and the Presenter Guidelines.

AWP is currently in ongoing discussions with Kansas City concerning the March 2021 conference and we are continuing to monitor CDC, state, and local guidelines to determine the safest option for the conference.

In the meantime, as we continue to be in contact with Kansas City, AWP is moving forward with plans for a virtual version of #AWP21. Regardless of whether #AWP21 has an in-person component, all #AWP21 content and programming will be made available virtually in March 2021. We hope you will register and look forward to connecting in March!

The AWP conference subcommittee seeks proposals featuring panelists who are diverse in their backgrounds, pursuits, affiliations, and ages. While an institutional affiliation is not required of participants, when appropriate, panels should showcase presenters from a variety of organizations and institutions who are at different stages of their careers. The ideal panel will consist of participants who represent a broad range of perspectives and experiences. The committee also encourages panel participation from graduate and undergraduate students.

All 2021 AWP events must follow the following guidelines:

  • include between two and five participants, including the moderator, who are able to participate in the virtual pre-recording of the event.
  • be 60 minutes in length
  • be correctly categorized
  • include a title, description, and statement of merit

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 may forfeit their participation in future conferences.

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.

The deadline for first-time event organizers to submit their event proposal was 11:59 p.m. EST on August 5, 2020.

#AWP21 Event Timeline

July 10, 11:59 p.m. EST: Deadline for organizers of cancelled #AWP20 events to duplicate and defer their event to #AWP21
July 15: Deadline for all participants on formally deferred events to link to their events
July 16: Proposal system opens for first-time event organizers
August 5, 11:59 p.m. EST: Deadline for first-time event organizers to submit new #AWP21 event proposals
August 12: Deadline for all participants on new event proposals to link to their events
August 12: Deadline for all participants on new event proposals to add their short biography
September 8: AWP announces preliminary event schedule
September 15: Deadline for organizers of #AWP21 events to confirm events
September 15: Deadline for overcommitted participants to step down
Fall 2020: Full schedule is announced
December 11: Deadline for organizer or moderator to upload event outline

Event Roles & Responsibilities

Organizer: The event organizer is the person who submits the event to AWP. This person will be the main point of contact for AWP staff and will act as the liaison between AWP and the participants. The organizer of the event doesn’t necessarily need to be a participant.

Additionally, the event organizer is responsible for ensuring each presenter, including the moderator, is prepared to participate in the virtual pre-recording of the event.

Moderator: The moderator oversees event proceedings and must ensure that presentation, discussion, and/or reading time is managed appropriately within the event’s allotted time. 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. 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.

Participant: Also popularly called presenters, participants in events are those who have been added by the organizer and have linked their AWP user account to the proposal.

Limits on Participation

Each participant may be included on up to three event proposals and up to two conference events. It is rare for three proposals for one individual to be accepted, but in the case that this happens, that participant would need to step down from one of their events to comply with the two-event limit. 

In years past, the limit has been “No event participant may be included on more than two events, only one of which can be a reading.” Beginning in 2020, the limit has been simplified to two events, regardless of category.

Linking to an Event

Once the proposal is submitted, an email will be sent to each participant who was added to the event at the email address the organizer provided. In this email is a unique hyperlink that will allow each participant to link to the event.

If for some reason the participant is unable to receive the invitation to link email, the event organizer may manually send the participant the unique hyperlink that will allow them to link to the event. The organizer may send this unique hyperlink by going to their Event Management page, and clicking the “ Copy Link ” button next to the name of the participant who did not receive the email. The organizer can then send that link to the participant, who may use it to link their AWP account to the event proposal.

Every participant must link to their conference event proposal. By linking your AWP user account with the event, you are giving AWP confirmation of your participation in this proposal. When you link, we are also able to use the short bio added in your AWP user account to the proposal.

Short Biographies

All participants may add a short bio for inclusion in the online program. These must be added by the deadline in September.

During the linking process, you should be asked to include your bio, but if you miss this step or want to add a biography at a different time, you can always add one by logging in to your AWP user account and going to My Conference Participant Information. All short biographies will be automatically added to any events to which they are linked. Changes made to biographies after the deadline will not be reflected in the online schedule.

AWP reserves the right to edit all biographical notes.

Samples

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.

Event Outline Upload

In the case that your event is accepted, you will be asked to upload an outline to your event by December 11. An event outline can include any written remarks you have prepared, reading material you plan to share, or a list of moderator questions. This document can be uploaded only by the organizer or the moderator.

This event outline will be available for attendees to download from the online schedule when it goes live in the Fall. You may replace this document with a more updated version at any time as your plans come into better focus closer to the event.

For the 2021 conference cycle, event outlines will be mandatory and events not including this upload by December 11 will be removed from the schedule.

This feature was added to the proposal system to encourage event participants to start preparing for the event well beforehand. Additionally, these copies are essential for holding an accessible event. Consider members of your audience who have disabilities and may wish or need to follow along to a written text. It’s also helpful for ASL and CART interpreters to see event information beforehand.

Event Categories

Events are separated into two categories: Readings and Panel Discussions. Within those categories are different subtypes, such as a Fiction Reading or Multiple Genres Craft & Criticism. It is very important to categorize your event correctly as this is how AWP will publicize your event in our print program.

Reading Event Types Description

Fiction Reading

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 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 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.

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.

 

Panel Discussion Event Types 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 writers with disabilities; 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.

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. Presenters who read from or discuss their own work during these panel discussions do so in a limited capacity (not longer than 5 minutes) and only to expand upon the discussion of other texts, authors, or subjects. Discussions may also be focused on topics that highlight the region where the conference is being 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. Presenters who read from or discuss their own work during these panel discussions do so in a limited capacity (not longer than 5 minutes) and only to expand upon the discussion of other texts, authors, or subjects. 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.

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. Presenters who read from or discuss their own work during these panel discussions, do so in a limited capacity (not longer than 5 minutes), and only to expand upon the discussion of other texts, authors, or subjects. Discussions may also be focused on topics that highlight the region where the conference is being 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.

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. Presenters who read from or discuss their own work during these panel discussions do so in a limited capacity (not longer than 5 minutes) and only to expand upon the discussion of other texts, authors, or subjects. Discussions may also be focused on topics that highlight the region where the conference is being 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.

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.

 

Reading or Panel Discussion Event Types Description

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.

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.

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.

Submitting Your Event

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.

Wait for your submission confirmation, which 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.

Caucuses

AWP welcomes the creation of new caucuses through our annual conference event proposal system. Proposed caucuses should be made up of a specific demographic group that shares academic, literary, and professional development concerns. Please note that subject matter or event category 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.

Caucuses can also create and facilitate opportunities for communication between AWP and their caucus members. AWP very much wants to hear from the caucuses about their needs and how they would like to be supported. AWP may also call upon caucus leaders to address issues between AWP and caucuses’ members to problem-solve and create solutions.

Nonprofit literary organizations whose mission is to support a particular demographic group can propose new caucuses. If no affiliated organization exists or can offer their support, AWP will still consider proposals. A proposal for a new caucus must be sent to events@awpwriter.org by May for the following year’s conference, and be accompanied by the following materials:

  1. A petition signed by 30 AWP members, to include 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 help 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 Directors will evaluate new caucus proposals. Once a proposal is accepted, the caucus will need to be submitted through AWP’s electronic proposal system for recordkeeping purposes.

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

Selection & 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 September. 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 September 15, 2020, for the accepted event to appear in the 2021 conference schedule.

Accessibility Services

AWP is committed to making all reasonable arrangements that will allow conference attendees to participate in conference events. All conference events will be pre-recorded in order to allow for closed captioning to be included.

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 colleen@awpwriter.org by Wednesday, February 3, 2021. AWP will make every effort to accommodate requests that arrive after February 3. Please see the Accessibility Services page of our website for more information.

AWP is currently in ongoing discussions with Kansas City concerning the March 2021 conference and we are continuing to monitor CDC, state, and local guidelines to determine the safest option for the conference.

In the meantime, as we continue to be in contact with Kansas City, AWP is moving forward with plans for a virtual version of #AWP21. Regardless of whether #AWP21 has an in-person component, all #AWP21 content and programming will be made available virtually in March 2021.

If it is determined it will be safe to meet in March of 2021, accessibility information about the physical conference will be made available as soon as possible.

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 access to AWP’s virtual conference platform for the duration of the conference period. The virtual conference platform will include access to the virtual Bookfair, access to all meetings, panels, readings, and additional programming, and the ability to message and video chat other attendees and exhibitors.

Individuals registering at the student rate must upload a photo of a valid student ID at checkout. Individuals registering at the senior rate must also upload a photo of a valid ID at checkout. If you have any trouble with this process, please email  registration@awpwriter.org for assistance.

Attendee Terms & 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

Refund Policy

#AWP21
#AWP21

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