The annual AWP Conference and Bookfair, from March 27-30 in Portland, Oregon, is the country's largest gathering of scribblers. More than 12,000 writers, teachers, students, and publishers will gather in Portland and choose from among 550 panels, readings, and craft lectures. Also, the book fair is to die for. Keynote speakers and featured readers include Colson Whitehead, Tess Gallagher, Camille Dungy, Tayari Jones, Cheryl Strayed, Luis Alberto Urrea, and Lidia Yuknavitch. This year's event will be especially well-attended by Alaskans, s0 look for an announcement about a UAA-sponsored reading. Preregistration for students is $50 and ends Jan. 3.
The North Words Writers Symposium in Skagway features best-selling nonfiction writer Susan Orlean at the 10th annual gathering from May 30-June 1. MFA mentor Nancy Lord, Alaska State Writer Ernestine Hayes (a graduate and former mentor), and UAA grad and professor Don Rearden are among the faculty at this intimate event. Only 40 participants can attend, so register now to avoid the wait list.
The always-popular Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference in Homer from June 14-18 includes poet and essayist Diane Ackerman as well as a stellar faculty, including UAA mentors Erin Coughlin Hollowell, Nancy Lord, Rich Chiappone, and Ishmael Hope. Other invited writers include poet Kazim Ali, nonfiction writers B.J. Hollars and Barrie Jean Borich, and novelist Jamie Ford. In addition to daily panels, talks, and classes, participants can sign up for open mic readings, a manuscript review (fee required), and brief meetings with an agent or an editor. Discount registration is open until May 1. Conference organizers often seek UAA volunteers to lead writing circles, so let Erin or Sherry know if you're interested.