#AWP20 Featured Presenter Q&A with Julian Randall
AWP | February 2020
Event Title: A Reading & Conversation with Cave Canem Prize Winners Major Jackson, Donika Kelly, & Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Sponsored by Cave Canem
Description: 20 years of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize: past winners read their work and discuss the impact of the prize in the world and in their lives.
Participants: Major Jackson, Donika Kelly, Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Julian Randall
Location: Hemisfair Ballroom C3, Henry B. González Convention Center, Ballroom Level
Date & Time: Saturday, March 7, 1:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Q: What are some of the conference events or Bookfair exhibitors you look forward to seeing at AWP?
The CantoMundo 10-year reading. That one is going to be flames, and I highly recommend it!
Q: What do you remember most about your first AWP? What advice would you give to an AWP first-timer?
I remember being profoundly overwhelmed at how many people and books were nearby. It was…a lot to take in and especially as a first-time author whose book wasn’t yet out I kinda coveted my vague anonymity. It’s important to remember that you are under no obligation to speak to everyone. You’re not even obligated to speak to half; pace is everything and so is finding space for quiet.
Q: What is your favorite AWP conference memory?
Reading with The Offing and Atlas Review—the reading was wall to wall bangers including Cortney Lamar Charleston and Nadia Owusu among so many others. Just an absolute joy!
Q: What book or books that you’ve read over the last year would you most highly recommend?
The Tradition by Jericho Brown, Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James, invasive species by Marwa Helal, The Twenty-Ninth Year by Hala Alyan, Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia, Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi, and Birthright by George Abraham.
Q: If you’ve been to San Antonio before, what places do you recommend that our attendees should visit?
I haven’t, but I’m very excited to try and cop a DeRozan jersey!
Julian Randall is a living queer Black poet from Chicago. He is a fellow of Cave Canem and CantoMundo and the winner of a Pushcart Prize. He holds an MFA in poetry from Ole Miss, and his work can be found in POETRY, New York Times Magazine, Ploughshares, and Vibe Magazine. His first book, Refuse, won the 2017 Cave Canem Poetry Prize selected by Vievee Francis and was a finalist for a 2019 NAACP Image Award. He tweets @JulianThePoet and serves as the Milkweed Editions Fellow.