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PHOTO ESSAY: 10,000 Writers in One Hotel

This year’s AWP Conference & Bookfair in Chicago drew 10,000 “attendees,” many of them hip, young writers. The writers attend the AWP Conference for the four-hundred-or-so nonstop sessions (on everything from violence in literature to the poetics of the essay) and for the five-hundred-or-so tables that display literary wares (mostly books and journals) throughout three or four endless exhibition rooms. The 10,000 also come for the company. And why not? The writing business is often a lonely gig and there’s nothing like the spark of friendship to keep the fires burning....

AWP stands for Association of Writers & Writing Programs. If you study or have studied any form of creative writing at a college or university, you have probably heard of this organization. If you haven’t heard of AWP, but happened to walk by the Hilton Hotel on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, from February 29 to March 3, 2012, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m., you no doubt HEARD it.

The Hilton Hotel on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois

This year marked The OA crew’s second consecutive visit to the AWP Conference, and we returned full of energy and clarity. Here are some photographs from one afternoon’s stroll amidst the exhibition tables....

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