Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
After Page One: Conferences

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A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire


AWP 2014

More than 13,000 writers and readers attended the Association of Writers & Writing Programs annual conference and bookfair. We asked our Literary Mama presenters to share their impressions, and here's what Editor-in-Chief Caroline Grant had to say:  


Last year, I think I appalled some of my AWP comrades by not attending a single panel except my own. I was so busy juggling the launch of my new book (The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage) and discussing The Sustainable Arts Foundation’s new residency grant program with folks at the book fair, that AWP’s main activities–panels on writing craft and the writing life–were lost on me.

Not this year. I used AWP’s online scheduler to build myself a busy lineup of panels each day. One of my favorites was the panel on using the present tense in creative nonfiction writing with Kate Hopper, Bonnie Rough, Marybeth Holleman, Ryan Van Meter and Hope Edelman – a very narrow topic, to be sure, but the panelists brought it to vibrant life with their careful consideration of how their memoirs shifted depending on the tense used. I attended terrific panels on publishing and marketing, and came away inspired to keep spreading the word not only about my own book, but those published by my LM colleagues and contributors.

AWP is giving more attention every year to writers who are parents, and I attended this year’s various panels on balancing writing with parenting as much to get any advice as–simply by being another body in the room–to show AWP these panels are important. I may have figured out the writing-parenting combination that works for my family right now, but I know it might all change next week; the writer-parents of older kids give me a sense of what lies ahead, while those with babies give me great perspective on what I’ve gained. Plus, I love talking to the other folks in the audience.

Still, my favorite AWP moments this year were not in the panels but the both planned and chance encounters outside those meeting rooms: running into a former grad school housemate and catching up on her writing career; attending the Vermont Studio Center alumni gathering and hearing great poetry recited in the unlikely venue of a German beer hall/bocce ball court; lunch with the director of Millay Colony, Caroline Crumpacker, and hearing about the time she and some other writers attempted a DIY residency in a rental house with their kids, some babysitters, and a wagon-load of toys; dinner with a big group of LM editors and contributors, including Marjorie Osterhout, Susan Ito, Kate Hopper and Ona Gritz; and best of all, late-night conversations with LM contributors Nicole Stellon O’Donnell and Sonya Huber about writing residencies, hot yoga, teaching, and smoking monkeys.

I’m looking forward to AWP 2015 in fabulous Minneapolis and hope to see many Literary Mama readers and contributors there!


Not familiar with the AWP or the AWP Annual Conference?  Read more here and here.


Join our After Page One series.  We’re looking for 300 to 500-word guest posts that motivate, inspire, and encourage other mama-writers, and we’d love to feature YOUR thoughts about getting started, getting back to a writing project, integrating writing with motherhood, reading, or having a positive attitude.   The list is endless, but here are some questions that might help you get started. We’ll publish a short bio so readers can learn more about you and your projects.

Caroline M. Grant served on the editorial board of Literary Mama for over ten years, including five as Editor-in-Chief. She is currently Associate Director of the Sustainable Arts Foundation, which provides grants to writers and artists with children.

She is the co-editor of two anthologies: The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage: True Tales of Food, Family, and How We Learn to Eat (Roost Books, 2013) and Mama, PhD: Women Write about Motherhood and Academic Life (Rutgers University Press, 2008). Her column, Mama at the Movies, ran on Literary Mama for six years; she has published essays in a number of other journals and anthologies.

She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two sons; she writes about food and family on her blog and at Learning to Eat. Visit her website for more information, including clips from her radio and television events.

Caroline is former editor-in-chief for Literary Mama.

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