• Helen Rye

AWP 2019 - Portland, Oregon

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

Here's the link to the SmokeLong AWP 2019 video, starring us and lot of very cool writers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk3B21-QXCs&t=94s

This was my second year at AWP, the largest writers’ conference in North America. It attracts around 15,000 people each year and is a gigantic mix of book fair, panels, reading events, food and alcohol and people who mostly only see each other once a year socialising across a broad range of love, joy, awkwardness and social anxiety. It’s a lot of fun. Last year I helped out on the SmokeLong table, but this year we decided to go free-range, with co-EIC Christopher Allen and I *being* the SmokeLong Quarterly Roaming Table, complete with swag and books to give away.

SmokeLong also held an off-site reading event, which was completely wonderful, frankly. The venue had limited capacity, and we didn’t know until afterwards that a number of people were turned away by the staff there as we were full. We’re so sorry, if you were one of them.

I was privileged to read at the legendary Festival of Language event on the Wednesday night alongside a huge cast of amazing writers:

Other highlights for me, apart from catching up with old friends and making new ones, included the Split Lip and Indiana Review reading party and the Moon City Press reading. Such beautiful work. We missed so many events and people, too, though – there is never enough time. Oh, and flying over A VOLCANO on the way in. That was pretty neat, too.

‘Til next year, AWP-ers.

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