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Announcing: Radio Free AWP
January 20, 2011 - 6:00am


Please plan to tune in here February 2nd to the 5th for a series of podcasts on literary topics by big-time poets and writers, as well as multiple chances each day to win free books and other prizes!

Radio Free AWP, hosted by Inside Higher Ed, will coincide with the annual conference of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, which supports more than “34,000 writers at over 500 member colleges & universities and 100 writers' conferences & centers.” Last year, in Denver, some 8,000 creative writers and teachers made it to the conference’s 350 readings, lectures, panels, book signings, and receptions. The bookfair alone was mammoth, with 500 publishers represented.

This year it’s being held in Washington, DC, home of Inside Higher Ed, and I’ve long planned to be there blogging, taking care of some other business, and being feted by my editor. Then I had an idea: Why not use this opportunity to connect writers and readers, wherever they are?

So over the past few months I’ve asked some writer friends and friends-of-friends if they’d like to pre-record readings or discussions on craft for podcasting to a wider audience. The roster is shaping up nicely and will include:

  • An audio essay on poet Sandra Beasley
  • A South African memoirist on teaching travel writing to American students while staying with them in a Xhosa seaside village
  • Translations of poet Tatiana Kuzovleva with music written to her Russian lyrics
  • The staff of Ninth Letter on the collaboration between Art & Design faculty and Creative Writing faculty in producing the award-winning journal
  • A dramatic reading of Anton Chekhov’s monologue “On the Harmful Effects of Tobacco,” Chekhov’s longest-revised dramatic work
  • Readings from a night at Quickies, “Chicago's favorite reading series,” dedicated to flash fiction
  • A night at The Parlor, another Chicago series, with Adam Levin, whose novel was just released by McSweeneys Books
  • Etgar Keret, Israeli writer and filmmaker (Jellyfish, winner of the Caméra d’Or at Cannes) reads his short story “Shoes”
  • A poet and writing program administrator talks about poetry and lyrics—and co-writes a song or two—with a jump-blues musician
  • Xu Xi, finalist for the inaugural Man Asian Literary Prize, reads from her work
  • The Southern Foodways Alliance, an institute of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, with oral histories of people talking about their food culture

And many more, as they say in the biz. (Is that what they say?)

As I mentioned, I’ve also arranged for signed books, t-shirts with literary themes, a year’s subscription to Poets & Writers magazine, and other things to be raffled off for free during Radio Free AWP’s run. Stay tuned, and please help spread the word!


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