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By Kayla Cardeiro

We’re so excited it’s February. Why, you ask? Because in Seattle from February 26 to March 1, we will be attending the AWP conference for the first time. We are psyched! For those who haven’t heard, AWP, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, is the largest literary conference in North America with over 12,000 writers and readers attending its conference in 2013, according to AWP’s website. AWP is also famous for its book fair, which attracted more than 650 exhibitors last year, and which we are absolutely stoked to be a part of.

The reason we’re so excited to attend is that this conference is big. AWP has been around since its foundation in 1967, when it was created in order to advocate for new creative writing programs in higher education and to provide more publishing opportunities for young writers. As its influence and prestige grew, AWP began hosting national conferences, the first of which took place in 1974 at the Library of Congress. Since then, AWP has held its conferences in a different city each year and has developed its own writing contest, the AWP Award Series, with cash prizes up to $5,500.

Since AWP is coming to our very own West Coast this year, Silk Road Review has the amazing opportunity to get to know our local readership in our own backyard. And did we mention the guest list? In attendance will be such award-winning authors and poets as Ursula K. Leguin, Sherman Alexie, Robert Hauss, Chang-rae Lee, Sharon Olds, and many, many others. If that wasn’t great already the celebrated Annie Proulx, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award, is the keynote speaker. We can hardly imagine so much talent in one place!

Silk Road is also delighted to announce that it will be bringing the Postcard Project to AWP after its spectacular success at Wordstock 2013. Thousands of writers and readers from across the nation will be in attendance so we’re setting the bar high. Five-hundred postcards, perhaps? A thousand?

We can’t wait to see you there!

National Book Award Nominee Bonnie Jo Campbell will read on site here at Pacific University on February 18, 7:30pm in Marsh Hall.

All is weird, immediate and raw in Campbell’s stories and poems. Reading and hearing her work is like white water rafting on the most beautiful and dangerous river you can find.   Just hold on tight and see how far she will take you.  

Campbell is the author of the novel Q Road, and the story collection Women & Other Animals. Her second story collection, American Salvage was published to acclaim in the Spring of 2009 and has been nominated for a National Book Award. She has won the AWP award for short fiction and a Pushcart prize, and she was named a Barnes & Noble Great New Writer. The New York Times has called her stories “Bitter, but sweetened by humor,” and Publisher’s Weekly said Campbell details, “domestic worlds where Martha Stewart would fear to tread.”

Her fiction has recently been published in Southern Review, Kenyon Review, Alaska Review, Boulevard, Pleiades and Witness. Her essays have appeared in Utne Reader, Ontario Review, Bark Magazine, and Fourth Genre. A dozen of her poems appeared in Midwest Quarterly Review, Spring 2009. She has a second degree black belt in kobudo, and she lives with her husband and donkeys in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She teaches in Pacific University’s Low-Residency MFA in Writing program.

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