Creative Writers’ Conference in DC

Starting this afternoon, thousands of writers will be gathering in DC for the annual conference of the Associated Writers & Writing Programs, headquartered this year at the Marriott Wardman Park in Woodley Park. The conference features readings from scores of writers, as well as opportunities for writers to network with editors, publishers, and each other. Panels cover topics from contemporary poetry in Toyko to DC’s literary lineage to writing and publishing in an increasingly paperless world. Thanks to the generosity of Columbian College and the Offices of the VP for Research and Provost, GW is an institutional sponsor of the conference, and was able to offer free all-conference passes (a $45 value!) to our English-Creative Writing majors. GW English will also have a presence at the Conference Bookfair, where we will be giving out beautiful brand new brochures about GW’s Creative Writing program.

A couple of events–one that requires conference registration, one open to the public–are of particular interest. On Friday at 4:30, a panel organized by GW Prof. Gregory Pardlo will celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the Jenny McKean Moore Fellowship, which funds poets and writers for a year in residence at GW, typically during crucial early stages in their creative development. Recent and former fellows will share reflections on their fellowship year, discuss the impact of the fellowship on their work and the literary community beyond GWU, and celebrate the legacy and generosity of the fellowship’s benefactor. Panelists include: Profs. Faye Moskowitz and Jane Shore, Prof. Emerita Maxine Clair, former JMM Fellows Tayari Jones and Ed Skoog, and Honor Moore, daughter of the late Jenny Moore, for which the fellowship is named.

On Saturday night at 8:30, GW English will host a reading and conversation with Amy Hempel and Gary Shteyngart, moderated by Prof. Thomas Mallon. A recipient of awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the United States Artists Foundation, and the Academy of Arts and Letters, Hempel is author of the highly acclaimed Collected Stories. She teaches at Harvard University and Bennington College.

Shteyngart’s first novel, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, won the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. His second novel, Absurdistan, was a national bestseller. He was named to both Granta’s Best Young American Novelists and the New Yorker’s Top 20 Writers Under 40 in 2010.

The Hempel-Shteyngart event will be in the Marriott Ballroom on the lower level of the hotel. It  is free and open to the public.

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