LEAP Reflects on AWP Conference in Washington, D.C.



Early this February, the LEAP Institute for the Arts was one of the over 800 exhibitors participating in the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference. This year, the Apicture1WP brought the conference to Washington, DC to celebrate its 50th Anniversary. The organization is dedicated to providing support, advocacy, community, and resources for creative writers, educators, and literary arts professionals working in the field.

The AWP brings in 12,000 attendees and hosts almost 600 panel discussions, lectures, readings, workshops, and receptions. It is the largest writer’s conference in North America and an important part the literary culture of our country. The conference gathers writers, teachers, students, arts administrators, editors, and publishers for three days focused on books and writing. Each year this event takes place in a different city in the US. With the celebration of its 50th year, the organizers not only hosted this year’s events in our nation’s capital but they also brought in big talent! Among the key note speakers were Azar Nafisi, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Riva Dove, Terrance Hayes, Ocean Vuong, Marot Livesey, Colum McCann, Ann Patchett, Emma Straub, and too many others to mention. By far the biggest draw of the conference was the Reading and Conversation with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Ta-Nehisi Coetes sponsored by the Authors Guild. These authors filled one ballroom in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and filled another overflow ballroom!

picture3The LEAP booth was run by LEAP’s director Dr. Constance DeVereaux and two LEAP graduate students Haley Carlson and Jennifer Zidon. The trio was joined by Felicia Zamora from CSU Online. Many were interested in the Masters of Arts Leadership and Cultural Management and LEAP’s new badge program offered through CSU Online where students can earn badges in the many areas that define our program, such as project management and grant writing.

Our booth was made successful in part by two different authors who donated books as prizes to give away at our raffle each day and by Barnes & Noble in Fort Collins who also donated books! Thank you to Todd Mitchell and Chloé Leisure for supporting our program!!

-Jennifer Zidon