#AWP18 Featured Presenter Q&A with Virgil Suárez

AWP | January 2018

Event Title: A Reading and Conversation with Ishion Hutchinson, Maggie Smith, and Virgil Suárez
Description: Join three critically-acclaimed poets in conversation. Ishion Hutchinson is the author of two poetry collections, Far District and House of Lords and Commons. He is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Whiting Writers Award, the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, a Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize Fellowship, and the Larry Levis Prize from the Academy of American Poets, among others. Maggie Smith is the author of Good Bones, The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, and Lamp of the Body. She is the winner of the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards Gold Medal in Poetry, the Dorset Prize, the Benjamin Saltman Award, and a 2011 NEA Fellowship. Virgil Suárez is the author of over twenty-five books of short fiction, poetry, memoir, and novels, including his most recent collection of poems, 90 Miles: Selected and New.
Participants: Ishion Hutchinson, Maggie Smith, Virgil Suárez
Location: Ballroom A & B, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor
Date & Time:Friday, March 9, 8:30–10:00 p.m.

Q: What are some of the conference events (besides your own) or bookfair exhibitors you look forward to seeing?
A: I am looking forward to visiting the bookfair and seeing many old editor friends.

Q: What book or books that you’ve read over the last year would you most highly recommend?
A: Adam Johnson's Fortune Smile: Stories

Q: What are a writer’s main responsibilities in this particular cultural moment?
A: To witness, to voice dissent, and to speak out against obvious injustices.

Q: Has public funding for the arts made a difference in your life and career as a writer?
A: It most definitely has. This is a rich country that chooses to squander so much of its wealth on the military and war. If it spent a small fraction of what it spends on the military on education, the arts, and medical research it be a completely different country.

Q: When AWP was found in 1967, there were a dozen creative writing programs, now there are approximately 1,800 undergraduate and graduate programs. What do you think has changed for readers and writers since creative writing became ascendant as an academic discipline?
A: Creative writing programs have made a huge cultural impact. People still desire to write well, and people desire to read excellent books. Creative writing programs deliver on the talent and the literature that will be relevant today and tomorrow.

Q: If you could run into any author, contemporary or historical, at #AWP18, who would it be and what would you talk about?
A: I would love to have a good heart to heart with Edgar Allen Poe.

Q: If you’ve been to Tampa before, what places do you recommend that our attendees should visit?
A: The Dali Museum. And of course dine and wine in historic Ybor City.


Virgil Sua;rezVirgil Suárez was born in Havana, Cuba. He is the author of four novels, among them Latin Jazz and The Cutter. He has edited a multitude of anthologies with his wife Delia Poey, including Iguana Dreams: New Latino Fiction and Little Habana Blues: Cuban-American Literature. With Ryan G. Van Cleave, he also co-edited two anthologies, Like Thunder: Poets Respond to Violence in America and Vespers: Contemporary American Poems of Religion and Spirituality.He is the author of eight collections of poetry, most recently 90 Miles: Selected and New Poems, and The Soviet Circus Comes to Havana is his most recent collection of short stories. An avid photographer and mixed-media artist, when he is not writing, he is out riding his Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic up and down the Blue Highways of the United States. He lives and works in Florida.

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