#AWP18 Event Organizer Q&A with Connie May Fowler

AWP | December 2017

Event Title: Memoir as an Agent of Social Change
Description: In both root and blossom, memoir has always served as an agent of social change. James Baldwin’s nonfiction, for example, resonates with calls for societal transmutation. Our panelists work in the same tradition, exploring addiction, child abuse, climate change, disability, domestic violence, gender, the industrial prison complex, misogyny, racism, and more. We’ll examine the necessity and transformative power of writing our truths through a personal lens.
Location: Room 24, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor
Date & Time: Thursday, March 8, 12 noon–1:15 p.m.     


Q: What new understanding or knowledge will attendees walk away with from your event?
A: Political, personal, and social transformation is impossible without empathy. Memoirs, like few other art forms, afford a reader the opportunity to walk in another person’s shoes. Memoir changes lives, topples dictators, and engenders social justice. We hope attendees gain a deeper appreciation of the profound connection between memoir and social change. Memoirs empower all of us.

Q: What makes your event relevant and important in 2018?
A: Those of us who have long struggled under the muzzle of being The Other suddenly find ourselves shouting from the mountain tops. This is due in large part to a reaction to the Trump administration and its wholesale assault on human rights, the environment, women, people of color, LGBTQ, immigrants, poor people, and other marginalized groups and issues. At its essence, #MeToo is a memoir-driven movement. Memoir is at the front lines of breaking long-held silences. Those who would maintain the status quo or unravel the gains achieved in the past sixty years depend on our silence. But no more. Memoir is an act of resistance, of revolution.

Q: What are some of the conference events (besides your own) or Bookfair exhibitors you look forward to seeing?
A: Learning Curve: The Challenge of Building Inclusive Communities
RX for Writers Targeted by Hate Speech and Trolling
When Students Write What We Dread to Read

Q: What book or books that you’ve read over the last year would you most highly recommend?
A: Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuru Herrera, translated by Lisa Dillman
I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl by Kelle Groom
Patient Zero by Tomás Q. Morín

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