Over the weekend, Seattle was overtaken by a flurry of harried writers all hell-bent on attending the infamous, cult-like event known as AWP: a whirl of boozy poetry readings, stalking "celebrity" authors who no one outside of academia has ever heard of, trying to get every last book signed, and attempting the difficult mathematic problem known as "How many back issues of The Paris Review can I buy and still afford lunch?"
AWP, or the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, hosts North America's largest literary conference every year. It's a must-attend event for MFA students and those in the literary know, featuring literal tons of free books, every tiny print magazine under the sun, and plenty of literati blowing air kisses at each other. Annie Proulx was the keynote speaker, while the readers ranged from Sherman Alexie, Natalie Diaz, and Frank Bidart to Sharon Olds, Dean Young, Amy Tan, and Tobias Wolff — among other literary heavyweights.
But for those who missed it, the unexpectedly hilarious hashtag #AWP14fail is the best way to get a taste of the event, as it features writers and literary journals at their best: hilarious, self-deprecating, genius, awkward, and — always — mistresses and masters of the 140-word punchline.
Oh, writers. Your ability to find the humor in even the direst of situations (not pictured: several tweets concerning food poisoning) is why we love you so. May the free chapbooks never stop flowing your way.