#AWP20 Featured Presenter Q&A with Ellen Meeropol

AWP | January 2020

Event Title: Donna Hemans, Aimee Liu, and Ellen Meeropol in Conversation with Kristen Young, Sponsored by Red Hen Press
Description: Four powerful female authors read their work and discuss their shared themes of families torn apart by history and war. Each work quests to find lost siblings and daughters and sons, each story a heart-wrenching tale of the strength of family against life's cruel obstacles. These four women discuss the importance and necessity of telling these stories, and the impact these stories have on our lives right now, in the real world.
Participants: Donna Hemans, Aimee Liu, Ellen Meeropol, and Kristen Young
Location: Hemisfair Ballroom C3, Henry B. González Center, Ballroom Level
Date & Time: Thursday, March 5, 12:10 p.m. to 1:25 p.m.


Q: What do you remember most about your first AWP? What advice would you give to an AWP first-timer?
What I remember about my first AWP (in Austin, about 2005 or 2006) is how lost I felt, and how much I felt like an imposter. I wasn’t yet published and the conference was overwhelming. But wandering around the Bookfair and talking with strangers, I slowly began to feel like I belonged in this huge extended family of writers. That first year wasn’t easy, but it was exciting and every time has gotten better. My advice to first-timers is to make arrangements in advance for a meal or a cup of coffee or to attend a keynote together, with any people you know who are attending. Talk to strangers. Take time for a walk outside.

Q: What are some of the conference events or Bookfair exhibitors you look forward to seeing at AWP? 
My publisher, Red Hen Press, always has a big booth at the Bookfair and I love hanging out there. It’s my AWP home base. I also love visiting the booths of my favorite literary magazines and organizations - Guernica and The Writer magazine and Solstice and The Rumpus and Tiferet and WORDPEACE and Mom Egg Review and PEN America and so many more. And even though I’m primarily a novelist and mostly attend panels on prose craft, I love going to poetry readings at the conference.

Q: What book or books that you’ve read over the last year would you most highly recommend?
I read fiction 4-6 months ahead of publication for the Odyssey Bookshop’s Signed First Edition club, so the books I’ve read recently that I’ve most loved are coming out in early 2020. My favorites are The Gringa by Andrew Altschul and Glorious Boy by Aimee Liu.


Ellen MeeropolEllen Meeropol is the author of the novels Kinship of Clover (Women’s National Book Association Great Group Read), On Hurricane Island (semifinalist for the Massachusetts Book Award), and House Arrest. Essay publications include the Boston GlobeThe Writer, and Guernica. Ellen’s dramatic script telling the story of the Rosenberg Fund for Children was produced most recently in Manhattan featuring Eve Ensler, Angela Davis, and Cotter Smith. A founding member of Straw Dog Writers Guild, Ellen leads their Social Justice Writing project.


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