Frequently Asked Questions

We're very excited about our first virtual AWP conference. This is new to everyone, so we hope you'll find the answers to all your questions below.

Registration FAQs

Q: Why is AWP having a virtual conference?
A: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, AWP is moving the traditionally in-person conference to a virtual format. We look forward to providing a space in this turbulent time for writers to come together in community, resilience, and celebration.

Q: Why isn’t the #AWP21 virtual conference free?
A: AWP looked into the possibility of hosting a free virtual conference for this year, but we simply are not able to provide the conference without charging registration fees. Unfortunately, due to the sheer scale of AWP, free options are not always available to us. The virtual conference needs a platform that can support 10,000+ attendees, video streaming & captioning services for 250+ events, and an adequate staff to manage all of these projects.

We understand what a difficult time this is for many in the literary community, including individuals, schools, colleges, and arts nonprofits. In response to the difficulties brought by the pandemic, we have significantly reduced our registration rates across the board and have developed pathways for attendees who cannot afford it through our work-exchange and community scholarship programs.

For more information about the work-exchange program, please visit our Work-Exchange page.

For more information about the AWP Community Scholarship, please visit the Community Scholarship page.

For more information about registration rates, please visit our Registration Overview page.

Q: Why are there costs associated with virtual events?
A: Even though hosting a virtual conference is much less expensive than an in-person conference, there are still associated costs. We have contracted with several vendors who will help us make this virtual conference possible, including our event platform Pathable, the video streaming service Vimeo, and the captioning service Rev, to name a few. These are all essential elements of holding a virtual conference.

While a smaller conference may be able to offer these same services at a much lower cost or even for free, the AWP Conference operates on a much larger scale, including 10,000+ attendees, 250 events, and hundreds of bookfair exhibitors. Providing quality services for this number of stakeholders requires us to purchase larger contracts with our vendors than a smaller conference might.

We also have a conference staff that we are fortunate to keep employed, even in this difficult time. This small, four-person team is dedicated to managing all conference projects and making this experience a meaningful one for every attendee.

Q: As a presenter, do I need to register?
A: Yes, all attendees of #AWP21 must register. We are happy to offer a discounted presenter rate. Your presenter registration will also offer you full access to everything #AWP21 has to offer.

For more information about registration rates, please visit our Registration Overview page.

Q: Why do presenters need to purchase a registration? 
A: AWP strives to provide the opportunity to present on a panel or reading to the greatest number of people in our proposal selection process. At an in-person conference, this would be around 500 events per year, and for the virtual space, we have made room for 250 events, representing over 1,000 presenters. Both in normal conference years and in this unusual virtual one, we wish we had the resources to offer waived registrations to all accepted presenters. This year, we have significantly reduced our registration fees across the board for this virtual format.

Because presenters make up such a large portion of our total attendees, not requiring presenters to purchase a registration would mean drastically increasing registration costs for all other types of attendees, including exhibitors, students, and seniors. All presenters have the opportunity to purchase a registration at the reduced presenter rate, or if applicable, an even lower student or senior rate. Presenter registration provides presenters with a platform to share their work with AWP’s large audience and access to the full conference, which includes 250 panels and readings, hundreds of bookfair exhibitors, and socializing opportunities with the thousands of other attendees, all at a reduced rate.

Q: As a presenter, I was told I needed to register before I prerecord my session. Are there any other fees besides a registration that I need to be aware of?
A: No, the only fee for presenters is the discounted presenter rate, which offers you full access to #AWP21. We ask that you register before you prerecord because it takes significant staff time to schedule and record all 250 sessions. We just want to be sure that the presenters who are participating in conference events are registered.

For more information about registration rates, please visit our Registration Overview page.

Q: Does AWP charge presenters recording fees?
A: No, AWP does not charge presenters recording fees.

Q: If I can’t afford to attend the conference, are there other options?
A: Yes! We are happy to provide our work-exchange program, which offers a free registration in exchange for 4 hours of conference support.

We also have the AWP Community Scholarship, new for this year, which is aimed at increasing access for people who identify as a person of color, a person with disabilities, and/or low-income.

For more information about the work-exchange program, please visit our Work-Exchange page.

For more information about the AWP Community Scholarship, please visit the Community Scholarship page.

Q: What does my #AWP21 Virtual Conference registration include?
A: Your conference registration is your all-access pass to everything the conference has to offer, including over 250 panel discussions and readings, to hundreds of bookfair exhibitors, to virtual happy hours, receptions, yoga, and more. Your registration will also grant you a whole month’s access to the content, from March 3 through April 3, 2021.

For more information about registration rates, please visit our Registration Overview page.

Q: What is a registration bundle? What’s included?
A: A registration bundle includes a registration to #AWP21 at the lowest member rate, plus a one-year membership with AWP (normally a $75 value!). A one-year membership will grant you access to a full year of member benefits from AWP like the opportunity to participate in the mentorship program Writer to Writer, our Life after the MFA series, 4 editions of the Writer’s Chronicle, and more!

For more information about registration rates, please visit our Registration Overview page.

For any further questions about #AWP21 registration, please email Chelsea McLin at

Events FAQs

Q: Is there any free or public programming for #AWP21?
A: We understand how important community is during this difficult time, so we have made participation in caucus meetings free. We will also have a number of events offered for free each day of the conference. Please stay tuned to our website for more information on what will be available.

AWP has also started free virtual programming with Virtual AWP and AWP Virtual Book Club (VBC). These are great AWP events to check out at no cost. You can also view past conference events on our website.

For more information about Virtual AWP events and other videos, please visit our Videos page.

Q: Why are conference events being prerecorded? Why can’t all the events take place live?
A: #AWP21 will be host to approximately 250 conference events and about 1,000 presenters, and our small conference staff does not have the capacity to coordinate that many concurrent live events over just a few days. Prerecording each event ensures that an AWP staff member will be able to personally assist presenters should any last minute questions or technical issues arise before or during the recording. Additionally, all conference events need to be captioned to ensure that all of our conference programming is fully accessible. Prerecording events allows us to add closed captions in advance of the conference, which is much more manageable than live captioning all 250 events.

Q: Will there be any kind of Q&A for panels and readings?
A: Yes! We encourage attendees and presenters to interact in the chat box alongside the broadcast of the prerecorded event.

Q: Is there any opportunity for me to meet with an agent at the virtual conference?
A: AWP is happy to host Writer to Agent again this year at the virtual conference. The Writer to Agent program is open to registered #AWP21 attendees to submit a sample of their manuscript for review by agents from four outstanding literary agencies. If an agent is interested, they will contact the writer for a meeting within the dates of #AWP21.

We will also have many sessions on finding and working with an agent, in addition to other opportunities still in the works for writers to connect with agents.

For more information about the #AWP21 Writer to Agent program, please visit the Writer to Agent webpage.

Q: Will the #AWP21 Virtual Conference be accessible for people with disabilities?
A: We are working to provide the best accessibility services for attendees with disabilities and are coordinating with the Ad Hoc Committee on Conference Accessibility to ensure quality accessibility services and troubleshoot any issues that may come up.

For more information on conference accessibility or to make a request, please visit the Accessibility Services webpage.

For any further questions about #AWP21 events, please email Aubrey Kamppila at

Bookfair Exhibitor FAQs

Q: How can my organization participate in the Bookfair?
A: We are excited to offer exhibitors the opportunity to exhibit virtually, which will include many different ways to sell your products, connect with attendees, and expand your community. For a full explanation of benefits, please visit our Bookfair Overview page.

Q: As an individual writer, is there a way for me to exhibit?
A: Yes, new for this year, we are offering Author Tables in the virtual bookfair. With this Author Table, you can post links to your website, books, or other publications, in addition to meeting with your readers via video chat.

For more information, check out our Bookfair Overview page or purchase an Author Table in the AWP Store.

Q: As an exhibitor, can I still have author signings in my exhibit space?
A: Because your authors cannot sign books in this new virtual format, we do not have author signings for this year. We are happy to offer a similar opportunity called Author Meet & Greets that are tailored to the virtual conference. Author Meet & Greets are included in your exhibit space and allow you to schedule a time for one of your authors to be available for readers to come and ask questions, introduce themselves, and to see links to buy more books.

Every exhibit space receives four Author Meet & Greet spots. More spots are available for purchase through your Exhibitor Management page.

For more information, check out our Bookfair Overview page.

Q: What if I can’t afford to exhibit in the Bookfair? Are there other options?
A: This year, we are offering the opportunity for organizations grossing under $2,000 in FY20 to exhibit for free on Saturday, March 6. Awarded applicants will receive a free exhibit space and one all-access conference registration.

For more information, please visit the Bookfair Overview page or apply to the Saturday Community Bookfair.

Q: Do I have to sell books through if I am exhibiting at the conference?
A: No, this is not required. We offer it to exhibitors who do not have a way to sell their own books online.

Q: Can I attend just the bookfair?
A: Normally at an in-person conference, we would offer a $5 Bookfair-only Saturday pass for members of the local community to attend the bookfair. Unfortunately, in this virtual space, providing a single-day, limited registration is more challenging on our virtual conference platform. As of right now, we cannot offer access to only the bookfair.

We are happy to return to the $5 Bookfair-only Saturday pass at our next in-person meeting in 2022. 

For any further questions about the #AWP21 Bookfair, please email Claire Johnson at

If you aren’t sure who is the best person to direct your question, please email and we’ll make sure it gets in the right hands.

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Accessibility Services

Attendee Terms & Conditions

Refund Policy


March 3–7, 2021


If your question does not appear in any of our FAQs, send us an email!