5 Things To Do at AWP in LA


The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference is in LA this week, and we’ll be there. Check out the Chapman University and Tabula Poetica booth at #701 in the bookfair–it’s bigger than last year’s, and you can meet Doug, steampunk writer James P. Blaylock, avant garde writer Martin Nakell, MFA students, and more. Anna will have a board office hour at the AWP booth on Friday at 1pm.

To register for the conference, go to the AWP website. Note that the Saturday-only pass is available onsite for just $45. There are loads of offsite events; some have cover charges, but many are free, so it’s possible to take advantage of AWP without registering for the conference itself.

Click HERE for good advice on how to survive AWP from writer Leslie Pietrzyk. And here are specific things to do at this year’s conference.

Keynote by Claudia Rankine / Thursday at 8:30pm in Concourse Hall

ClaudiaRankineOkay, we admit that we don’t always go to the keynote when we go to AWP. This year, there’s no way we’ll miss Claudia Rankine, author of the acclaimed book Citizen. If you’re registered for the conference, we’ll look for you there.


Book Signing by Richard Bausch & Carolyn Forché / Saturday at noon-2pm at Bookfair #701

(OC Register)
(OC Register)

Hang out with two amazing writers! Seriously, go shoot the breeze with these two. Richard Bausch is the author of the novel Before, During, After and a winner of the Rea Award for “significant contribution to the discipline of the short story as an art form.” Carolyn Forché is the author of The Country Between Us and recently Blue Hour. Their books and books by Chapman U faculty will be available for purchase at 10am-3pm, and we’re all happy to sign and talk.


The Material of Making, sponsored by Copper Canyon Press / Saturday at 4:30pm in Concourse Hall

If you’ve never heard Anna ask a crowd to turn off their cell phones, here’s your chance! (If you want a preview of her doing just that, check out this audio of Carolyn Forché and Kevin Young last year.) After the introductions, Richard Siken, Laura Kasischke, and Roger Reeves will read a selection of their work and then Michael Wiegers will moderate a discussion of the materiality of language, metaphor as lie, and image as construct of sound and meaning.


California Science Center

Endeavour did not merely move in a straight line down streets. The orbiter had to zig and zag to avoid poles and trees.
Endeavour on way to California Science Center

Pop over to the California Science Center to see space shuttle Endeavour. There’s also a lot about ecosystems there, and the kelp forest dive occurs daily at 11am and 2:30pm. It’s just three stops on the Metro Blue/Expo line from the Pico stop across from the Convention Center to the Expo Park/USC stop, where you’ll find the science center and the natural history museum. The science center, including your ticket to the shuttle exhibit, is FREE.


Yard House

Two nights in Palmdale means two dinners at Yard House. That's gardein buffalo wings, an ahi poke bowl, and a Lagunitas IPA.
That’s an ahi poke bowl, gardein buffalo wings, and a Lagunitas IPA.

The Convention Center is right next to LA Live, an area brimming with restaurants and the Staples Center. You’ll be tripping over options for food and beverage; any will do, and some are quite good. We recommend Yard House for a great beer selection and good food, including some interesting gardein options. It’s a small West Coast chain. If you’re a regular Lofty Ambitions reader, you may remember that it’s part of our Temecula routine and that there’s one near Armstrong Flight Research Center.


Enjoy AWP! Enjoy LA!

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