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Reflecting on AWP 2016

By Jamie Kravitz

Reflecting on the four days we just spent at AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Professionals) in Los Angeles, the overwhelming feeling I have is one of community and of gratitude for the thousands of writers, literary magazines, agencies, publishers, and writing organizations that exist in the world. If nothing else, we can all sleep tonight knowing that there are a lot of people out there doing great work.

Aspen Words staffer Nicole Stanton and I spent the week reconnecting with past Summer Words students and instructors, other Colorado literary organizations, future Writers in Residence, prospective Winter Words speakers, and Summer Words applicants. Whether hanging out at our booth, walking around the book fair, taking in the countless talks or catching up at cocktail parties, the week was a nonstop mingling of Aspen Words past, present, and future and a reminder of where we stand in the literary world. The remarkable thing is that we’re right there in the middle—welcoming some of the word’s most accomplished authors as well as up-and-coming talent to our little mountain town.

Based on what we saw this past week, this is our list of must-read, must-see authors who haven’t yet made it to Aspen — but will (we hope!):

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Sunil Yapa

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Marlon James

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Maggie Nelson

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Saeed Jones 

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Marie Mutsuki Mockett

* Sunil is actually coming to Aspen this May as a Writer in Residence. We enjoyed meeting him at AWP and can’t wait to spend more time with him next month!

Here are a few photos from the week (all taken on an iPhone, so bear with us on the quality):

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From the mountains to concrete jungle. The conference took place at the LA Convention Center and had more than 12,000 participants.

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Our booth at the Bookfair. There were over 800 presses, journals, and literary organizations from around the world set up with information, games, and schwag.

A favorite panel: “The New Globalism” featuring Sunil Yapa, Marie Mutsuki Mockett, Peter Mountford, and Marlon James.

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Fun poetry games.

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Oh, and we did make it to the beach.


 

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