Presenter Guidelines

Please read the following information to ensure a successful and well-attended event. All conference events will be held at the Henry B. González Convention Center from March 4–7, 2020.

Presenter Terms and Conditions

Role Description

Event Organizer

The event organizer, identified in the event proposal, serves as the primary contact and must confirm all event particulars, including participant contact information and bios, scheduling requests, and audio-visual needs. The 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/or 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.

Organizer Responsibilities

The event organizer is responsible for submitting all relevant paperwork to AWP, and for serving as the liaison between AWP and the event participants. Additionally, the event organizer is responsible for ensuring each presenter, including the moderator, arrives to the event in a timely manner. Should the event be cancelled without cause, or the presenters fail to arrive to the event, AWP reserves the right to not accept for consideration any event proposals from the organizer for the next conference.

Moderator Responsibilities

The event moderator oversees and manages the event proceedings, ensuring the event observes the following:

  • That presenters are introduced to the audience at the beginning of the event.
  • That presenters speaks for no more than their allotted time, and their presentation, discussion, and/or reading time is managed appropriately within the 75-minute timeframe.
  • That presenters who read from or discuss their own work during a panel discussion, as opposed to an event designated a reading, do so in a limited capacity (not longer than 5-minutes), and only to expand upon the discussion of other texts, authors, or subjects.
  • That the moderator manages the questions and answers session, including repeating all questions from the podium to help facilitate the participation of audience members who are hearing impaired.
  • That the moderator and the panelists adhere to AWP’s presenter guidelines, policies, and limitations. 

Room Assignments & Scheduling

The assignment of time and space for events is final. AWP cannot consider scheduling changes. If presenters are unable to participate in an event at its assigned time, AWP reserves the right to cancel the event.

Digital & Other Recordings 

Professional photographs, audio, and video will be captured during the conference. Presenters and conference attendees grant AWP and its representatives permission to photograph and/or record them during conference events and to use such recordings in support of AWP's mission. Uses of conference records may include, but are not limited to, educational initiatives, post-conference reporting, and AWP’s podcast series. 

Presenter Guidelines

Our attendees invest a considerable amount of time and expense to attend the conference. For these reasons AWP works hard to ensure every event at the Conference & Bookfair realizes its full potential. Our attendees expect that:

  • Presenters will prepare for their event prior to arrival.
  • Presenters will present on the issues related in the event description.
  • Presenters will engage the audience.
  • Presenters will not simply read directly from written statements.
  • Presenters who read from or discuss their own work during a panel discussion, as opposed to an event designated a reading, do so in a limited capacity (not longer than 5-minutes), and only to expand upon the discussion of other texts, authors, or subjects.
  • Presenters will always use a microphone to help facilitate the participation of audience members who are hearing impaired.

Events that are selected for inclusion on the official conference schedule should take the time to review the following best practices.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Moderators should prepare an advance outline of how the event will be executed. Presenters should have notes prepared for their presentation. While we appreciate literary improvisations and liberty, we also appreciate depth of thought and concision. We appreciate prepared presentations that reflect well on the presenters, the conference, and AWP. “Keep It Short and Sweet; Stick to the Promised Program.”

Panels are accepted in part based on the strength of the description submitted during the proposal process. Unless changes have been approved by AWP, these descriptions are used to advertise accepted event to the attendees, who expect that the panel descriptions are going to accurately describe how the event will be executed. Please be advised that moderators and panelists whose presentations do not align closely to the event description are ranked very poorly on individual event surveys. AWP takes these surveys into consideration when ranking proposals for subsequent conferences.

Engage the Audience

The best panels are often those that take time to engage the audience directly. For this reason, we discourage reading directly from prepared written statements and instead recommend brief presentations and openness to debate.

All presenters should use a microphone at all times. Even if you are able to project your voice to professional theatrical levels, always assume there are hearing impaired audience members who will need you to use the microphone.  

All accepted panels should plan for questions from the audience. All questions should either be repeated from the podium microphone by the moderator or shared via a provided wireless microphone to be passed around the audience. Microphones should be used at all times to help facilitate the participation of audience members who are hearing impaired.

Begin & End Your Presentation on Time

Moderators and all presenters must make sure their events begin and end on time. Please keep in mind there is usually another event following any on the schedule, and that attendees need fifteen minutes between events to clear the room for the next round of presenters and attendees. Presenters should prepare between five and seven pages of notes for a presentation among four panelists, and should expect to devote fifteen minutes to exchange between the audience and presenters during the question and answer period.

For a reading, we encourage presenters to choose their material in advance, rehearse and time their reading (including any prefatory remarks to a story or poems), and make sure the reading falls within the time they’ve been allotted. Panelists should be courteous to their fellow readers by keeping their presentation brief and avoiding a needless shuffling of pages. If a panelist is reading different sections from a printed book, they may find it convenient to mark the pages beforehand.

Presentations, Handouts, & Visual Aids

Event Outlines

All presenters should prepare at least five event outlines of their presentation in writing for members of their audience with disabilities who wish or need to follow a written text or for those with hearing impairments. These accessibility copies should be distributed only to attendees who require them for accessibility reasons. The event moderator should coordinate with the presenters of the event to ensure these are prepared in advance and announce before the event begins that they are available. The written outline can take the form of prepared remarks, notes, or an outline and should be provided in large-print format in boldface 14-to-16-point font size on white paper stock only.   

While these event outlines should be distributed to audience members with disabilities, event organizers might consider providing a copy to all members of the audience.

For more information on preparing accessible event outlines, please review AWP's Guide to Accessible Literary Events.

New for 2020! This year, event organizers and moderators will be able to upload an event outline directly to their accepted event. For the 2020 cycle, AWP strongly recommends all event moderators or organizers upload an event outline to their event. For the 2021 cycle, an uploaded event outline will be mandatory and events not including this upload by September 1 will be removed from the schedule.

Handouts, Visual Aids, & Supplementary Material

Any other handouts besides the event outlines are optional. Many presenters create informative brochures, flyers, or provide supplementary materials. If you choose to provide such information, please make sure to provide at least five copies in large-print format in boldface 14-to-16-point font size on white paper stock only for those who may be visually impaired. If you would like to know what size room your event will take place in to better prepare for the number of handouts potentially needed, please contact

For both handouts and any additional visual aids (projections or videos), please consider the possibility that persons in the audience may be blind or visually impaired. Please briefly describe all handouts and visual aids to the audience. Allow ample time when referring to a visual aid or when pointing out the location of materials.

ASL, CART, & Cued Speech Interpretation Material

Audience members who are deaf or hearing impaired and those who use sign language interpreters or read lips need to sit where they can see both the presenters and the interpreter. The interpreter may stand close to the presenter or within a direct line of sight to allow the audience to view both the presenter and the interpreter. Presenters should be aware of the location of interpreters and attempt to keep this line of vision clear.

The organizer of panels where interpretation has been requested should be aware they may be contacted by AWP during the month prior to the conference for your prepared remarks, notes, or outline. It is often helpful for interpreters to have this information in advance to help them prepare for your event. Please coordinate with your panelists to arrange this information as far in advance as possible.

Social Media

Presenters are encouraged to add their Twitter username to their AWP user account profile to allow attendees to reference them on social media for #AWP19. These Twitter usernames will then be displayed beneath presenter biographies in the online schedule of events.

Caucus Presenter Guidelines

In addition to abiding by the policies outlined in this document and the Proposal Guidelines, caucuses must abide by the following.

Guidelines for Conducting Caucuses

  1. AWP makes space for the caucuses possible as a courtesy to conference attendees. Each caucus itself is a freestanding group made up of a specific demographic that shares academic, literary, and professional development concerns. The views and opinions expressed by the caucuses do not necessarily reflect the views of the AWP Board of Directors or Staff.
  2. All conference attendees regardless of affiliation are welcome to attend any caucus meeting.
  3. Attendees present at the meeting of a particular caucus are welcome to vote on all action items that are presented.
  4. Caucus meetings may not be readings or duplicate the panel discussions of the modules.
  5. Caucuses must circulate a call for agenda items 30 days prior to the start of the conference.
  6. Caucuses must share minutes of the meeting with the group and AWP no later than 30 days after the conference.
  7. All caucuses must have presenters who provide the caucus leadership and facilitate caucus discussions. Caucus presenters must be members of AWP, either through individual membership or as students or faculty of an AWP member program.
  8. Presenters may not hold their seats for longer than three years, and they cannot be a caucus presenter again until at least three additional years have passed. This rotation of caucus presenters allows for a greater number of caucus members to participate in the leadership.
  9. When appropriate, the caucus should engage in productive conversation about AWP, its mission, and its services.
  10. The director of conferences will serve as a liaison between the individual caucuses and AWP’s staff and board; the moderator of the caucus shall serve as the spokesperson for the caucus.
  11. A caucus may not solicit donations in AWP’s name.
  12. Caucuses understand that only the AWP Board of Directors and Staff are permitted to speak on behalf of AWP. To avoid confusion about AWP’s policies or procedures, any use of “AWP,” the “Association of Writers & Writing Programs,” or AWP’s logo in the title of caucuses is prohibited in all messages, including those of social media. AWP may only be referenced by the caucuses for non-commercial purposes. Caucus messages may, of course, state that the caucus will convene at the AWP conference.
  13. Caucuses that neglect their administrative duties at the annual conference may not be eligible for inclusion at the following year’s conference at the discretion of the AWP Board of Directors.

Criteria for Automatic Acceptance of a Caucus

After two years of a caucus’s operation, the AWP Board of Directors may approve a caucus for non-competitive or automatic acceptance to the conference if the following criteria are met:

  1. The caucus has fulfilled a professional need among a specific group of AWP stakeholders—a need not met by our other 18 modules of programming.
  2. The caucus has developed good moderators who cultivate productive discussions solicitous of the group as a whole.
  3. The caucus has shared an agenda and minutes of its meetings with its members and AWP.
  4. The caucus has opened its meeting to all AWP conference attendees who cared to attend.

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.

Accessibility Services

AWP makes 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 by Wednesday, February 5, 2020. AWP will make every effort to accommodate requests that arrive after February 5. Please see the Accessibility Services page for more information.

Attendees who require special onsite assistance during the conference should request it from staff at AWP’s Accessibility Desk located in the registration area, or contact us at


Accessibility Services

Attendee Terms & Conditions

Refund Policy


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center