If you notice the ranks of bookish-looking people swelling on the streets of Seattle later this week, there’s a reason: The 2014 Association of Writers & Writing Programs is meeting Wednesday through Saturday at the Washington State Convention Center and Sheraton Seattle Hotel. It’s billed as the largest literary conference in North America, and more than 11,000 people –authors, editors, teachers and publishers – are expected to attend.
Inside the convention, writers of the caliber of Pulitzer Prize-winner Annie Proulx, National Book Award winner Timothy Egan, best-seller Erik Larson, nature writer Barry Lopez and many others will give readings and make presentations. If you want complete access to the convention, registration is $190 for AWP members and $285 for nonmembers. Click here for a conference overview.
Outside the convention, a plethora of readings and presentations will take place all over Seattle. Events at bookstores are open to the public: if you’re in doubt about whether other events at other venues are open, call ahead. Of particular interest: The AWP bookfair, with more than 650 literary exhibitors, has belatedly been opened to the public (earlier plans kept it closed, but after several critical posts by Stranger book editor Paul Constant, convention officials changed their minds). The AWP bookfair is “a great way to meet authors, critics, and peers,” according to conference organizers, and provides lots of opportunities to contact literary magazines, presses and organizations. Public hours for the fair, located in the North and South exhibit halls of the convention center, are from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.