Where to Find Us at AWP 2023 in Seattle

We can’t believe that the Association of Writers & Writing Programs’ Conference & Bookfair begins next week! UNCW’s creative writing programs, including our imprint Lookout Books and magazine Ecotone, will be represented at the nation’s largest marketplace for independent literary presses and journals. Please stop by booths 609 & 611 for great deals on our catalog of books and issues of the magazine, as well as to meet our faculty and student staff.

Toast to Small Joys at AWP, hosted by Lookout Books


Along with giveaways and sales of our signature bag of snakes tote, we’re hosting a special bookfair event—Toast to Small Joys—featuring contributors to Bigger Than Bravery: Black Resilience and Reclamation in a Time of Pandemic. Join Destiny O. Birdsong, Opal Moore, and Deesha Philyaw for cake and drinks to celebrate the anthology’s publication—and to get your copy of Bigger Than Bravery signed. They’ll be at the booth on Friday, March 10, 12–1 p.m.

Aren’t registered for the conference? Not to worry! The bookfair will be open to the public on Saturday, March 11. We can’t wait to see you there!

Publishing faculty members Emily Louise Smith, Michael Ramos, and KaToya Ellis Fleming at AWP 2022

Many contributors to Bigger Than Bravery will be reading and speaking throughout the conference, so we’ve rounded up what are sure to be some of the biggest literary happenings in Seattle between March 8 and 11.

Thursday, March 9
9 to 10:15 a.m.

Rooms 435-436, Summit Building, Level 4

Occupational Hazards: Teaching and Writing Risk across Genres

Destiny O. Birdsong, Jan Beatty, Asali Solomon, Lesley Wheeler, Erika Meitner

Writers conjure literary power by putting something real on the line. Yet risk operates differently across nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and translation, raising craft questions as well as the challenge of inspiring students to bring vulnerability to their writing. Panelists with experience in many teaching contexts—including universities, conferences, and community workshops—will share concrete ideas for empowering and equipping students to take personal and aesthetic chances. 

Friday, March 10, 2023
1:45 to 3 p.m.
Signature Room, Summit Building, Level 5

How We Do It: Black Writers on Craft, Practice, and Skill, Sponsored by the Hurston/Wright Foundation

Khadijah Ali-Coleman,
Jericho Brown, W. Ralph Eubanks, Tiphanie Yanique, Darlene Taylor

What happens to move things from a blank page to a beautiful book? This panel discusses the ongoing struggle to give voice to the ways Black writers find joy, the ways we resist, the ways we declare our will to be free. We explore the perspective of Black writers on the craft of writing and storytelling and the unique voice we bring to the page. Followed by a Q&A. 

Friday, March 10, 2023
10:35 to 11:50 a.m.
Rooms 335-336, Summit Building, Level 3

Beauty Clanging: A Tribute to Kamilah Aisha Moon

Maya Pindyck
, Ama Codjoe, Remica Bingham-Risher, Ellen Hagan

This poetry reading honors the life and work of poet Kamilah Aisha Moon (1973–2021), author of Starshine & Clay and She Has a Name, who touched the lives of countless people through her moving words and clear-eyed way of being in the world. A number of poets, including Remica Bingham-Risher, Ama Codjoe, and Evie Shockley, will share poems by Moon that have inspired them. The tribute remembers and celebrates the life of this remarkable poet. 

Friday, March 10, 2023
3:20 p.m. to 4:35 p.m.
Ballroom 2 & 3, Summit Building, Level 5

The National Book Critics Circle Presents Honorée Fanonne Jeffers and Namwali Serpell, Moderated by Jane Ciabattari

A literary partner featured event focused on two National Book Critics Circle’s honorees who work in multiple genres, moderated by NBCC VP/Events Jane Ciabattari, featuring NBCC Fiction Award winner Honorée Fanonne Jeffers and NBCC Criticism finalist Namwali Serpell. They’ll focus on writing in multiple genres (both write innovative fiction and cultural criticism; Jeffers also is a poet), inspiration and research for their work (both write novels with history, justice, surreal elements), the influence of NBCC and other awards, Afro futurism and other evolving forms, the unique challenges of writing in these times, and the imaginative process that shapes their work. Since 1974, the National Book Critics Circle awards have honored the best literature published in English. These are the only awards chosen by the critics themselves. This event will be livestreamed. ASL interpretation and live captioning will be provided. 

Saturday, March 11, 2023
10:35 to 11:50 a.m.
Room 447-448, Summit Building, Level 4

Growing the Garden: Paying Tribute to Joanne Gabbin and Furious Flower

Remica Bingham-Risher
, Shauna Morgan, Tyehimba Jess, Jericho Brown, Opal Moore

Envisioned by Dr. Joanne Gabbin, the historic Furious Flower Poetry Conference was organized at James Madison University in 1994 and led to the development of the nation’s first academic center for Black poetry. Furious Flower has become a singular institution, supporting the growth of new poets and archiving the work of torchbearers in the Black literary tradition. Gabbin, a veteran educator who pioneered courses in Black Studies, is also an editor, author, poet advocate, culture-worker, and community builder. 

Saturday, March 11, 2023
12:10 to 1:25 p.m.
Terrace Suite I, Summit Building, Level 4

First Impressions

Donica Bettanin
, Yuka Igarashi, Crystal Hana Kim, Deesha Philyaw, Paul Reyes

Seeing your fiction in print for the first time is a thrill. It could also be a stepping stone to future publications and wider recognition. The PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers recognizes twelve emerging writers each year for their debut short story, and the winners are published by Catapult in an annual anthology. Hear from previous winners, judges, and editors about how a debut story can make an indelible impression. 

Saturday, March 11, 2023
12:10 p.m. to 1:25 p.m.
Ballroom 1, Summit Building, Level 5

Storytelling for Change: Environmental Racism and Literature with Kiese Laymon & Imbolo Mbue, Sponsored by Literary Arts & The Lyceum Agency

A conversation on storytelling, environmental racism, and activism. Set in a fictional African village being polluted by an oil company, Mbue’s latest novel confronts environmental devastation, corporate colonialism and activism. Kiese Laymon’s multigenerational roots in Mississippi have led him to consider climate justice and the ways that extractive agriculture, corporate interests, and the legacy of slavery impact communities of color in the US. This event will be livestreamed. ASL interpretation and live captioning will be provided. 

Saturday, March 11, 2023
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Hugo House (Offsite event)

An Evening of Disability, Poetry and Poetics, featuring Khadjiah Queen and L. Lamar Wilson

Zoeglossia Fellows will also share brief readings and reflections, followed by a conversation with the featured readers, moderated by 2021-22 Zoeglossia Poetry Coalition Fellow, Saleem Hue Penny.

Admission is offered on a sliding scale, from $0-$25.