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The Stats on AWP (as I see them of course)

I’m at the AWP (Associated Writers and Writing Programs) annual convention in Chicago through Sunday. There are approximately 11,000 people attending this year, with hundreds of panel discussions and Bookfair exhibits. It’s hectic and crazy and encouraging and discouraging. I don’t have much time to blog, but here are some statistical observations as of Saturday morning.

How long Amtrak said it would take to get to Chicago

5 hrs.

How long it actually took

7 hrs.

The extra delay getting into my room because of the above

2 more hrs.

People at the convention wearing jeans


People wearing suits


People (mostly under 30, btw) who wear backpacks that protrude more than a foot from their backs, and then twist and turn, battering bystanders as though they didn’t have them on.


Women wearing boots


Women wearing short skirts/dresses with boots

not enough

Men dressed as some sort of Elvis/British Invasion hybrid


People who can explain the above


People who can fit comfortably into a hotel elevator


People who were on the last elevator I took


Panel discussions


Panel discussions I’ve been to


Bookfair exhibits


Bookfair exhibits I’ve been to


Business cards I’ve given out

all of them

Free or discounted books I’m bringing home


Free t-shirts with publisher logos that were given to me


Free t-shirts with publisher logos that I will wear


Price of a $1 bottle of cranberry juice at the hotel’s commissary


People who have a book they hope to get published


People who will actually get that book published


How long it will take to get back home via Amtrak

who knows?

Chances I will attend next year’s AWP in Boston


Hopefully I will have recovered by next Saturday.


About Joe Ponepinto

Co-publisher, with Kelly Davio, of Tahoma Literary Review. Author of "Curtain Calls," a featured Kirkus Review. Married to Dona. Dad to Henry, the coffee-drinkin' dog.


22 thoughts on “The Stats on AWP (as I see them of course)

  1. Maybe I’ll see you in Boston. I was thinking about the train, but….
    I can only go every other year or so – this country girl gets overwhelmed. Last AWP that I really enjoyed? Austin. Why on earth are all these events held on the tundra in February/March?

    Posted by Val Nieman | March 3, 2012, 1:25 PM
    • I’m sure by the time the Boston AWP rolls around I’ll be up for another conference. As for Amtrak, though, it’ll be a while before I give them another chance. BTW, if you don’t see a new blog next Saturday, I may still be stuck on the Chicago to Detroit line.

      Posted by jpon | March 3, 2012, 6:57 PM
  2. good luck. and get back safely. we need some morning joe on Saturdays.

    Posted by the circular runner | March 3, 2012, 5:06 PM
  3. Oh this made me laugh! Thanks for this witty rundown!

    Posted by Stephanie Barbé Hammer | March 3, 2012, 5:56 PM
    • Thanks, Stephanie. I neglected to mention the number of pairs of shoes I will have to shined thanks to the woman who crushed my foot at a reading last night … 1.

      Posted by jpon | March 3, 2012, 6:59 PM
  4. I wish I were there with you., except for the crowd. Maybe next year, maybe Boston. I hope this trip is productive. I wish we could have shared that bottle of wine in Chicago (over an authentic Chicago “pie”).

    Posted by Felicia Elam | March 3, 2012, 7:58 PM
    • The deep dish pie is the one thing I haven’t had time to indulge in this weekend. Rain check for Boston. Hope you can make it there.

      Posted by jpon | March 3, 2012, 8:03 PM
  5. Sounds like a blast. I should do a similar breakdown for the upcoming Penguicion. A list like that for a genre con would be a thing of beauty!

    Posted by Christine Purcell (@cpurcellwriter) | March 4, 2012, 1:32 AM
    • I shudder to think of the stats you might observe at a genre convention. …number of people wearing furry costumes… ugh!

      Posted by jpon | March 4, 2012, 2:47 AM
    • Make sure you mention the number of people who need a shower…. ;P

      Posted by arichaley | March 7, 2012, 7:00 PM
      • Hardly worth mentioning. Writers are surprisingly clean people.

        Posted by jpon | March 7, 2012, 9:08 PM
      • I like Penguicon (have been twice), but my wife makes me change when I get home from it each day, because it only takes a few hardcore non-shower-ers to give secondhand B.O. I was pleasantly impressed with the hygiene of the folks at ConFusion though. Perhaps it has something to do with the techies, not the writers….

        Posted by arichaley | March 7, 2012, 9:45 PM
  6. Very Joe, very nice. I have a hunch they’ll be seeing you in Boston.

    Posted by miriamagosto | March 5, 2012, 5:58 AM
  7. That was hilarious!

    I have to add….

    Boys trying to look like Franzen: 3,176

    Posted by Teri | March 5, 2012, 9:23 PM
  8. Note to self: Wear a skirt with boots to next year’s AWP. At least one person will notice me.

    Posted by Averil Dean | March 6, 2012, 3:28 AM
  9. So, who were the three people in suits?

    Posted by arichaley | March 7, 2012, 7:05 PM


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