You Again? (or: AWP Serendipity: It’s a Thing)


Major Jackson speaking at the fantastic Folger Shakespeare Library panel on Keats and Countee Cullen.

Given the legions (10,000? 15,000?) who attend the annual AWP conference (Association of Writers & Writing Programs), it should feel like a faceless sea.

So how is it that, for every hour I spend there, I run into somebody I know? I’m not even especially well connected. I’m a very wee creature in the AWP zoo.

I think it’s just the AWP Serendipity Thing.

Consider this quote from Julia Fierro, on today’s panel “Second Time Around: On the Sophomore Novel”:

“I had to give up all hope of publication to write that first book [Cutting Teeth] in a pure way. I had a certain level of honesty. I enjoyed writing it.”

—Julia Fierro

This way-of-being that Fierro describes seems to me not only a good way to write, but a good way to approach AWP. I think many writers feel a kind of anxious urgency to Hurry Up and Network! here. And I understand that. It’s a huge conference, it costs money, and it’s brief. So you pick up on a lot of anxiety, observing people going booth-to-booth in the book fair or approaching Big Name Writers after panels.

That Hurry Up and Network! approach just feels to me like 1) a lot of pressure, 2) not fun, and 3) a surefire way to miss real, warm, human interactions….

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Jen Hinst-White


Hello, camerados.

The confession I made I resume–what I said to you in the open air I resume:
I know I am restless, and make others so…
—Walt Whitman, “As I lay with Head in your Lap, Camerado”

If we’re already friends, here’s the newest news: Consequence Magazine will publish my long essay on nuclear weapons, “15 Eggs,” in their 2018 “Women Write About War” issue.


And if we’re not yet acquainted: I write.

I’ve written a novel about tattooing (with spunky illustrations). I’m looking for a great agent or indie press to fall in love with that novel. (Maybe it’s you?) I also write short stories and personal essays.

I also review books.

…in various places, but regularly for Image Journal’s ImageUpdate. So if you’ve written a LITERARY novel, memoir, book of essays or poetry that grapples with or is informed by religious faith (of various kinds), let me know.

And occasionally…

I make a little music or deliver a quirky sermon.

Should we talk? Connect on Twitter? Instagram?

Cheers & love,

Jen Hinst-White

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