Exploring the art of prose


CRAFT @ AWP20 in SAT (in spirit only)


Alongside The Masters Review & Frontier Poetry & Palette Poetry, we’ve made the decision not to attend AWP in San Antonio.

We will keep this page updated when we learn of events featuring contributors & friends of CRAFT!




Many of our contributors & authors are on panels:


Jonathan Bohr Heinen — Empire of Dirt

The Nuts and Bolts of Student Editors: Including, Engaging, and Challenging Them

Katherine Abrams, Lisa Lewis, Caitlin Rae Taylor, Jonathan Bohr Heinen, Aimée Baker

Thu 3/5 @ 9:00 in room 007C

Student editors’ efforts can reach beyond slogging through the slush pile, but they need an intentional system in which to work. How do small journals include students efficiently? How do large journals engage students effectively? How do all of us challenge students without overwhelming them? Our panel of editors will share a few methods of working with student editors, explain what went well/what flopped, and respond to your journal’s challenges (or help you process your new, wild ideas!)


Rebecca Makkai — “Interiority Complex

From First Book Deal to Career as Author: How to Navigate the Publishing World

Jean Kwok, Mitchell S. Jackson, Barbara Jones, Rebecca Makkai, Courtney Maum

Thu 3/5 @ 12:10 in room 301

There’s a large gap in between being published to developing a career as an author. After you get a book deal, what are dos and don’ts while working with an editor? What’s the role of your agent then? Do you need a website? Should you hire an independent publicist? What can you do to help your book succeed? How do you give a great reading? What’s the difference between publicity and marketing? How do you develop a career as an author? Four seasoned authors and one executive editor offer advice.


Lena Valencia — “Mystery Lights

Making the Most of It: Best Practices for Working with Volunteers, Interns, and Other Part-Timers

Mary Gannon, Lena Valencia, Stephanie G’Schwind, Patricia Colleen Murphy

Thu 3/5 @ 12:10 in room 305

How can literary magazines and small presses ensure a meaningful experience for paid or unpaid part-time staff, while also protecting their editorial standards? Which kind of written agreements should be in place for which responsibilities and why? Join us for a discussion about making sure this working relationship is mutually beneficial.


Rebecca Makkai — “Interiority Complex

Muse, Martyr, Mother, Monarch: Writing Women in History

Amy Brill, Irina Reyn, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Rebecca Makkai, Jasmin Darznik

Thu 3/5 @ 1:45 in room 008

Writing female characters that transcend tropes and come alive on the page is a challenging—and crucial—task for any writer. When those women lived decades, centuries, or even millennia ago, the work of the writer becomes even more complex. This panel will explore the process and practices of five women novelists who’ve featured powerful female characters, from a 19th-century astronomer to an 18th-century Russian empress, a midcentury mathematician, and an American slave in antebellum Ohio.


Gwendolyn Edward — “Dialogue as Character (and Narrative) Complexity in Monica McFawn’s ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes’

CANCELLED: Is a Creative Writing PhD Right for Me?

Gwendolyn Edward, Kara Dorris, Donald Edem Quist, Samyak, William Todd Seabrook

Thu 3/5 @ 3:20 in room 213

In this panel, five current and recently graduated creative writing PhD students will reflect on their reasons for pursuing the highest level of graduate education, what they feel they gained from their educations, the expected and unexpected issues they encountered while in their programs, and what advice or food for thought they would impart to those currently considering applying to creative writing PhD programs.


Caitlin Horrocks — “Naming Makes Visible: Building a Craft Vocabulary

CANCELLED: Time Passes: When Life Is Long and Art Is Short(er)

Caitlin Horrocks, Lisa Ko, Derek Palacio, Adrienne Celt

Thu 3/5 @ 3:20 in room 008

Fiction writers are often advised to tackle tales taking place over modest, supposedly manageable amounts of time: days, weeks, months. These panelists all instead wrote stories and books that unspool over years, decades, generations. How do writers keep such a story aloft, sustaining narrative tension and selecting which moments to depict? How do we maintain readers’ belief in and empathy for characters who keep changing, shaped by a lifetime’s worth of half-seen experiences?


Lena Valencia — “Mystery Lights

CANCELLED: Craft Lessons from the Submission Queue: Writing and Editing Short Fiction

Emily Everett, Adeena Reitberger, Yi Shun Lai, Alexandra Watson, Lena Valencia

Thu 3/5 @3:20 in room 304

Many lit mag editors participate on both sides of the submission process: reading unsolicited stories and sending their own out for consideration. What do editors learn about writing from reading and editing submissions? How does evaluating, accepting, and declining stories change the work of drafting new short fiction? This panel dives into the editorial selection process on a craft level, with editors from One StoryApogeeAmerican Short FictionTahoma Literary Review, and The Common.


Laura van den Berg — “Object Lessons: An Exploration

CANCELLED: Make Yourself at Home: Writing the Familiar from a Distance

Jennine Capó Crucet, Helena Maria Viramontes, Laura van den Berg, Tiphanie Yanique, Manuel Muñoz

Fri 3/6 @ 9:00 in room 301

How do writers convincingly render the places that shaped them as their distance from those places increases? If our lived experience of a place is a form of research, what are its limits as time passes? How can we avoid falling back on long-held assumptions about a setting we used to know intimately? Five writers whose writing is deeply associated with a particular place and who live outside of it will discuss their strategies for rendering settings simultaneously familiar and distant.


Clare Beams — “The Renaissance Person Tournament” (reprint)

CANCELLED: What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Book

Clare Beams, R.L. Maizes, Chaitali Sen, Sean Smith (writing as Charlie J. Eskew), Irina Reyn

Fri 3/6 @12:10 in room 008

You sold your debut book! Now what? Experienced authors discuss what happens from the sale of a book to publication and beyond. Topics include the contract, edits and copyedits, the dreaded author questionnaire, first and second pass pages, the cover, blurbs, title changes, marketing and promotion, publicity, ARCs, interviews, book tours, and reviews. The birth of a book brings happy surprises, inevitable disappointments, and lots of stress. Panelists offer advice to on how to handle it all.


Laura van den Berg — “Object Lessons: An Exploration

CANCELLED: Twisted Sister: On Writing Siblings in Fiction

Laura van den Berg, Justin Torres, Nina McConigley, Alejandro Nodarse

Fri 3/6 @ 12:10 in room 006A

Sibling relationships are often uniquely intimate and uniquely fraught, thus, these bonds are inherently dynamic material to explore in fiction. Siblings can reveal much about our characters: from the familial ecosystem a protagonist was born into and their place in it to how the power dynamics established in childhood can reverberate throughout a life. This panel will explore how writers approach rendering the vast complexities of sibling relationships in their own diverse bodies of work.


Chaya Bhuvaneswar — “The Art of Description in A.S. Byatt’s ‘The Chinese Lobster’

Who Are We Writing Difference For?

Chaya Bhuvaneswar, Tyrese Coleman, Abeer Y. Hoque, Shazia Hafiz Ramji

Fri 3/6 @ 1:45 in room 205

Three writers of color reflect on questions of audience, secret-bearing (and secret-sharing), and the very fraught but necessary topic of how publishing views narratives of immense complexity, conflict, fragmentation, and ambivalence when shaped by writers whom publishers seem eager to label (“oppressed Asian female,” “traumatized minority,” etc.). How do the internal and external struggles to be heard define us? We will share scenes of confrontation, hard choices, and critical steps in our craft.


K.B. Carle — “Hello, My Name Is Marley

Beyond Special Features: Curating Diverse Spaces in Literary Communities

Mike Shier, K.B. Carle, Nicole Oquendo, Mistie Watkins, Lisa Roney, Miguel M. Morales

Fri 3/6 @ 1:45 in room 212

Special calls for submissions can help boost the diversity numbers of a literary journal or press, but what else can we do to foster a deeper equality in the literary community? This panel of writers, editors, and professors discusses a variety of methods we use to open doors across the career spans of writers in various genres and mediums and in the context of anthologies, submissions tracking tools, writing and tutoring centers, pedagogies, and editorial policies.


Chaya Bhuvaneswar — “The Art of Description in A.S. Byatt’s ‘The Chinese Lobster’

CANCELLED: The Changing Shape of Immigrant Literature

Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Lauren Francis-Sharma, Chaya Bhuvaneswar, Donna Hemans

Fri 3/6 @ 3:20 in room 304

Today’s generation of immigrant writers are exploring a range of subjects and experiences that go beyond the classic immigration narratives. What imaginative possibilities does immigration now present as narrative trope, as organizing principle, as shared story? How do the authors’ works speak in dialogue with past classic immigrant narratives? The authors will also invite audience participation via a worksheet structured around writing prompts that can be completed during and after the panel.


Megan Giddings — “Vacations

An Editorial Perspective on Experimental Fiction

Michelle Donahue, Jodee Stanley, Ryan Ridge, Lily Davenport, Megan Giddings

Sat 3/7 @ 10:35 in room 214D

“Experimental fiction” encompasses a wide range of formal and narrative strategies, and goes by many names—innovative, risky, strange, different, etc. Editors from Black Warrior ReviewDenver QuarterlyJukedNinth Letter, and Quarterly West discuss how they define the term, what they look for in submissions, and what common pitfalls writers and submitters make. Why do some journals prefer experimental work and what can these forms achieve that more traditional approaches cannot?