AWP2015: University of Minnesota Press Looks Both to Past and Future

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 5.17.02 PMA university press: Home for all things obscure, scholarly, and regional.

Right? Not quite, as was clear at the University of Minnesota Press 90th anniversary panel held Friday morning at AWP.

Three UMN Press authors—Karen Babine, Kate Hopper, and Sarah Stonich—read from their widely appealing works and entered into conversation with Erik Anderson, regional trade editor for the Press. Continue reading

AWP2015: Telling Our New War Stories: Witness and Imagination across Literary Genres

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 5.17.02 PM(Benjamin Busch,  Phil Klay,  Siobhan Fallon,  Brian Turner,  Katey Schultz) It has been argued that credibility requires direct witness, that true war stories can only be told by those who have been there. The fact is that stories from Iraq and Afghanistan are arriving in all literary genres and from multiple perspectives, some using imagination to create equal truths. These five authors, writing through short fiction, essay, poetry, memoir, and nonfiction, will discuss how the fragmentary nature of the war narrative can be written from inside or outside the uniform. Continue reading

AWP2015: Stranger than Fiction: Personal Essay in the Age of the Internet

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 5.17.02 PMStranger than Fiction: Personal Essay in the Age of the Internet. (Ben Tanzer, Megan Stielstra, Jamie Iredell, Wendy Ortiz, Anna March) What does it mean to write a personal essay in the age of the internet? And how do we decide what is truth when we as writers are expected to tangle with the pressure to create public personas? The personal essayists on this panel will discuss how they maneuver through these challenges–building brand, navigating social media, defining creative nonfiction, and yes, finding the truth in our writing, when the truth is filtered through the endless platforms that comprise our lives today. Continue reading

AWP2015: Argonaut, Citizen, Empathy, Inoculation: New Nonfiction

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 5.17.02 PMPanelists: Eula Biss, Leslie Jamison, Maggie Nelson, & Claudia Rankine

 Hundreds of AWP-attendees streamed into Auditorium # 1 Friday afternoon to listen to four powerhouse women speak about innovations in recent creative nonfiction: Eula Biss, Leslie Jamison, Maggie Nelson, and Claudia Rankine were joined by Graywolf publisher Fiona McCrae to talk about their respective newly published books and the success surrounding them.

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AWP2015: But Seriously … Is It Time for More Humor in Environmental Writing?

Panelists: Ana Maria Spagna (moderator), Melissa Hart, Jennifer Sahn, and David Gessner

Just today I received a funny email from the environmental magazine Orion. The subject seemed funny anyway: “The Parking Lot That Doubles as a Sponge.” It sounds like the setup for an old Saturday Night Live skit: “Shimmer! It’s a floor wax and a dessert topping!” The point is, there’s humor everywhere. Why not in environmental writing, too? That was the gist of this panel that met in a corner of the bowels of the Minneapolis Convention Center at 5pm on Friday.

“What better time to talk about humor than after two full days of AWP, when everybody is completely punch drunk?” said moderator Ana Maria Spagna. Despite the unfortunate timeslot, more than 80 attendees sat rapt and ready to be humored by Spagna and panelists.

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AWP2015: The Challenge and Attraction of the Young Essayist

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 5.17.02 PMS128. The Challenge and Attraction of the Young Essayist. (Lucas Mann,  Brian Oliu,  Kristen Radtke,  David LeGault) In Phillip Lopate’s introduction to The Art of the Personal Essay, he writes it is hard to think of anyone who made a mark on the personal essay form in his or her youth. There are numerous arguments against the young essayist: can one write about life without first experiencing it? Can one write with authority from a place of uncertainty? Panelists will consider these questions and provide their own perspectives concerning successful nonfiction from the young writer’s perspective.

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