(This “a preview of…” style post is a new feature we are trying out. I’ll likely bump this thread as we get closer to the conference dates, but for now I want to get this out there to see how people like it)
Where: Room 203
Center, Street Level
When: Saturday- April 10, 2010 3:00 p.m.-4:15 p.m.
1) What sort of audience do you anticipate for this panel? You’ve done this one for a few years now; does the economic turbulence as of late make an information panel about hiring more necessary?
I’m expecting a lot of new MFAs to attend the panel. People who are finishing their graduate programs are hitting a difficult market, and they want to know what to do to give themselves an edge in the hiring process. Certainly the recent economic climate makes job searching a more anxious process than it might have been before, but the general need among creative writers for more training relative to jobs and careers is universal.
2) How will the information presented at this panel be different than standard firm handshake, do your research, carry a copy of your resume advice?
We’re going to make sure that attendees understand the broad organizing principles behind the search. From the applicant standpoint, you see your role in things. You may not understand the larger picture that’s behind that. Think about publishing. When you send your work off, you don’t necessarily understand the workings of literary publishing, the people staffing the journals to which you send your work, the way those journals are funded, how their decisions are made, the interpersonal dynamics involved. Maybe you don’t need to know all that stuff–just keep your head down and write well, and eventually you’ll break through, right? Then again, seeing a little bit of the other side of it can help you to not make any obvious mistakes, and can help you to put yourself forward with more success. The hiring information is much the same. If you haven’t served on a hiring committee, listened to phone interviews, seen some of the odd things applicants do, then you might not recognize that something you’re doing as an applicant is odd or gives a signal that you don’t intend. You might even be so focused on doing the right thing that you miss an obvious opportunity that a more savvy interviewee would not. In short, we’re going to talk about some of those things.
3) What keeps bringing you back to AWP? Is attendance a necessity for members of academia?
I’ve missed it only twice in the past 20 years, and both of those were due to scheduling and budget. I wouldn’t say it’s a necessity, but it’s certainly an opportunity to reconnect with the profession through its people and its publishing. It’s an opportunity to become excited about new trends and new writing. You come back energized, and you often make new connections. Sometimes it’s merely validating. You see your own program directorial dilemmas in other program directors, or you hear about some of the same challenges in writing or publishing or teaching. It’s valuable to share information and gain perspective.
|Amy Sage Webb (Associate Faculty/Pedagogy Specialist) earned her M.F.A. in fiction from Arizona State University. As a specialist in creative writing pedagogy, she has served as Director of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ pedagogy forums, and as editor of the national pedagogy papers. She is a contributing author to Mooring Against the Tide: Writing Poetry and Fiction (Prentice Hall 2001 and 2004) and to Power and Identity: The Authority Project (Multilingual Matters, 2006). Her creative work appears most recently in Fourth River Review, Clackamas Literary Review, and Eclipse. She directs the Creative Writing program at Emporia State University, where she teaches introductory creative writing, fiction writing, special topics and studies in creative writing, and literary editing. She currently serves as managing editor of Bluestem Press and Flint Hills Review, and serves on the boards of Woodley Memorial Press and the Kansas Arts Commission. She recently completed her first collection of short fiction, Save Your Own Life.|