Mason Creative Writing & More at AWP



Featuring Mason Faculty, Alums and Students & Our Small-Press Partners

AWP comes to D.C. for its 50th anniversary and its annual conference, and Mason is there as a major sponsor. Alums, faculty and students appear on conference panels and at off-site events, and the creative writing program and some of its community partners have three spaces in the Bookfair. Here’s where you’ll find us and when.



Wednesday, February 8

6:30 p.m.

Waveform: 21st-Century Essays By Women reading and book launch. Editor Marcia Aldrich in conversation with Kyoko Mori and five other essayists about the anthology. Kramerbooks, 1517 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC

7 p.m.

An Evening of Nordic Literature. The Alan Cheuse International Writers Center at George Mason University, in conjunction with The Embassies of Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Argos Books, invite you to an evening of Nordic Literature. Please join us to hear a diverse set of writers and performers from across the region followed by a brief discussion of Nordic literature. Writers include the First Lady of Iceland, Eliza Reid; Johannes Heldén, Sweden; and Katrine Jensen, Denmark; plus a performance from play Someone is Going to Come by Jon Fosse, Norway. Embassy of Denmark, 3200 Whitehaven St NW, Washington DC; RSVP to Jette Renneberg Elkjaer,


7 p.m.

Book launch party for Mason MFA alum Alyse Knorr, author of Mega-City Redux, and Chrisopher Kang, author of When He Sprang From His Bed, Staggered Backward, And Fell Dead, We Clung Together With Faint Hearts, And Mutely Questioned Each Other; hosted by Green Mountains Review. A&D Neighborhood Bar, 1314 9th St NW, Washington, DC


Thursday, February 9 

9 a.m.

“The Long from the Short: Turning Flash Pieces into a Novel, Novella, or Memoir,” with Mason MFA alum Tara Laskowski, plus Abigail Beckel, Lex Williford, Tyrese Coleman, and Kelcey Ervick. Washington Convention Center, Level Two, Room 206, 801 Mt Vernon Pl NW, Washington, DC

10:30 am.

 “The G Word: Writing and Teaching Genre in a Changing Literary Landscape,” with Mason MFA alum and professor Art Taylor, plus Matt Bell, Katie Cortese, Idra Novey, and Porochista Khakpour. Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two, Marquis Salon 6, 901 Massachusetts Avenue NW


“VIDA Voices & Views: Exclusive Interview with Joan Naviyuk Kane, Ada Limon & Alicia Ostriker,” organized by Mason MFA alum Sheila McMullin. Calling attention to a plurality of voices by interviewing writers and dedicated members of the literary community about their work, vision, concerns, and topics at the forefront of literary activism, this panel contributes to a better understanding of craft, the literary landscape, and issues facing artists. Panelists seek to foster nuanced conversation about gender parity, race, and other crucial issues impacting writers today as well as speak to how their work expands this conversation. Washington Convention Center, AWP Bookfair Stage, Level Two, Exhibit Halls D & E, 801 Mt Vernon Place NW, Washington, DC


2-3 p.m.

Mason MFA alum Sheila McMullin signs her new poetry collection, daughterrariums. Eckleburg, Booth 389, AWP Bookfair


3-4 p.m.

Mason MFA alum Sheila McMullin signs her new poetry collection, daughterrariums. Cleveland State University Poetry Center, Booth 616-T, AWP Bookfair


5-8 p.m.

Celebrating George Mason University’s Creative Writing Program. Celebrate George Mason University's MFA and BFA programs, its lit journals Phoebe and So to Speak, its small presses Stillhouse, Gazing Grain and Relegation, its annual Fall for the Book festival, and the new Alan Cheuse International Writers Center at a meet-and-greet and reading, featuring MFA professor Helon Habila, MFA alum Alyse Knorr, MFA student Kerry Folan, and poet Christina Olson of Stillhouse Press. A&D Neighborhood Bar, 1314 9th St NW, Washington, DC

6-8 p.m.

Sundress Publications, Agape Editions, and ELJ Publications Reading, including Mason MFA alum Sarah Marcus, with Neil Aitken, Natalie Giarratano, Karen Craigo, and Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo (from Sundress Publications); Nandini Dhar and Kazim Ali (from Agape Editions); and Stacey Balkun, Jessica Walsh, Nicole Oquendo, Joanna Valente, Janeen Pergrin Rastall, and Chance Castro (from ELJ Publications). Madam’s Organ Blues Bar, 2461 18th St NW, Washington, DC

7-9 p.m.

Rescue Press + the Cleveland State University Poetry Center book launch and reading, featuring Mason MFA alum Sheila McMullin, along with Vanessa Jimenez Gabb, James Allen Hall, Douglas Kearney, Andrea Lawlor, Jane Lewty, Hilary Plum, Adrienne Raphel, and Zach Savich. Our presses believe in the future of books and the necessity for innovative literature and we're excited to spend an evening with you in celebration of new poetry and prose. The Black Squirrel, 2427 18th St NW, Washington, DC

7:30-8:30 p.m.

“Short Fresh & Weird: Five Debut Authors Read from their Story Collections,” featuring Matt Fogarty of Stillhouse Press, plus Allegra Hyde, Dana Diehl, Michelle Ross, and Sequoia Nagamatsu. Bakers & Baristas, 501 7th St NW, Washington, DC

10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

DIAGRAM/phoebe/Burnside Review/Dikembe Press Reading, featuring James Franco (aka Sean Lovelace & Mark Neely), Tim Jones-Yelvington, Rochelle Hurt, Zach Powers, Nicole Walker, Paula Cisewski, Kallie Falandays, John Pursley, Drew Scott Swenhaugen, and Haley Rene Thompson. Shaw’s Tavern, 520 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC


Friday, February 10


George Mason Poetry Faculty Reading. The five poets on the permanent faculty of George Mason University's BFA and MFA programs—Jennifer Atkinson, Sally Keith, Eric Pankey, Peter Streckfus, and Susan Tichy— are an eclectic group, with interests in hybrid, documentary, eco-poetic, spiritual, political, research-based, visual, and conceptual poetries. These poets reflect part of the range of aesthetics practiced in the lively metro DC poetry scene. Washington Convention Center, Level Two, Room 206, 801 Mt Vernon Place NW, Washington, DC

1-3 p.m.

Mason MFA alum Sarah Marcus signs her new collection, They Were Bears. Sundress Publications Table, Booth 458-T, AWP Bookfair


3 p.m.

Not Invisible: Editors of Literary Journals Speak Out on Disability and Building Inclusive Writing Communities,” featuring Mason MFA alums Sheila McMullin and Sheryl Rivett, plus Marlena ChertockJill Khoury, and Mike Northen. Disability voices are underrepresented in literature; the VIDA Count further points to this. Examining social ramifications of exclusion, this panel explores ableism in the literary world, barriers to accessibility and publishing, and promotion of disability literature. Editors of online magazines actively seeking work from writers routinely excluded from the literary field discuss disability, impairment, and embodiment with the intention of building inclusive and dynamic writing communities.


7-9 p.m.

Ursula Major: A Feminist Offsite Reading at Big Bear Cafe. Join The Atlas ReviewGazing Grain Press, In Your Ear, No, Dear Magazine, and Switchback Books for a dose of literary excellence. The event will collect money to DC’S Rape Crisis Center; if you can’t make the event but would like to support this organization, please visit DCRCC’s website for monthly and one-time donations. Big Bear Café, 1700 1st St NW, Washington, DC

7-9 p.m.

 “Adapted at 826DC.” Award-winning writers including Mason MFA professor Tania James and Mason MFA alum Mike Scalise, plus Danielle Evans, Belle Boggs, Matthew Klam, and Mariama Lockington have their live (short!) readings adapted instantly by illustrators in a real-time, bookmaking event mixer that benefits student programming at 826DC.  826DC, 3333 14th St NW M120, Washington, DC

8-11 p.m.

Stillhouse Press & SFWP Exclusive Pre-Release Party. Celebrate spring releases from two local small presses and be the first to buy print copies of the books months before they go on sale.  Sudhouse DC, 1340 U Street NW, Washington, DC


Saturday, February 11

10:30 a.m.

“Does Gender Matter? Wrestling with Identity and Form in the Golden Age of Women’s Essays.” Featuring Mason MFA professor Kyoko Mori, plus Jocelyn Bartkevicius, Marcia Aldrich, Barrie Jean Borich, and Jericho Parms. Marriot Marquis, Meeting Level Two, Marquis Salon 1 & 2, 901 Massachusetts Avenue NW

3 p.m.

George Mason Alumni Poetry Reading featuring Besty Andrews, J. K. Daniels, Danielle Cadena Duelen, and Ranjani Murali. Washington Convention Center, Level Two, Room 206, 801 Mt Vernon Pl NW, Washington, DC

4:30 p.m.

VIDA Count in the Classroom. Mason MFA alum Sarah Marcus-Donnelly joins Holly Burdorff, Camille Rankine, Prageeta Sharma, and Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie to present best practices for incorporating VIDA Count data into a creative writing class — how to: talk to students about inequities in literary publishing, use Count information to re-shape syllabi, and create assignments which aim to close the reviewing gap. Panelists have a range of teaching experience (with regard to geographic location, grade/degree level and academic affiliation) and as such, they will present on and discuss a wide variety of classroom settings. Washington Convention Center, Level Two, Room 209ABC, 801 Mt Vernon Pl NW, Washington, DC


7 p.m.

Smokelong Quarterly & DC’s Noir at the Bar Reading featuring Mason alums E.A. Aymar, Tara Laskowski and Art Taylor, plus Matt Bell, Tara Campbell, Rob Hart, W. Todd Kaneko, Jennifer Pashley, and Amber Sparks. The Pub and the People, 1648 North Capitol St NW, Washington, DC


Sunday, February 12

2 p.m.

So To Speak Reading Benefitting DC Trans Women of Color Collective, featuring Oliver Baez Bendorf, 
Aaron Coleman, 
Zeina Hashem Beck

, and also including poets Armani Dae and Eleadah Elle Clack. Suggested admission donation: $5. The Potter’s House, 1658 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, DC




Booths 501, 503, 505


Thursday, February 9

1-1:30 p.m.

  • Heidi Czerwiec, author of Sweet/Crude: A Bakken Boom Cycle (Gazing Grain Press)

1-2 p.m.

  • A. Balaskovits, author of Magic for Unlucky Girls (Santa Fe Writers Project)

  • Tara Laskowski, Mason MFA alum and author Bystanders and Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons (both from Santa Fe Writers Project)

  • Art Taylor, Mason MFA alum and BFA professor, author of On the Road with Del & Louise: A Novel in Stories (Henery Press)

2 p.m.

  • Mark Polanzak, author of POP! (Stillhouse Press)


Friday, February 10

11-11:30 a.m.

  • Marisa Crawford, author of Big Brown Bag (Gazing Grain Press)

11:30 to 12:30 p.m.

  • Anna Leahy and Douglas R. Dechow, authors of Generation Space: A Love Story (Stillhouse Press)

1-2 p.m.

  • Matt Fogarty, author of Maybe Mermaids & Robots Are Lonely (Stillhouse Press)

  • Christina Olson, author of Terminal Human Velocity (Stillhouse Press)

2-3 p.m.

  • Andrew Gifford, author of We All Scream: The Fall of the Gifford’s Ice Cream Empire (Stillhouse Press)


Saturday, February 11

11 a.m.

  • Betsy Andrews, Mason MFA alum and author of The Bottom(42 Miles Press) and New Jersey (University of Wisconsin Press)

  • K. Daniels, Mason MFA alum and author of Wedding Pulls (Hub City Press)

  • Danielle Deulen, Mason MFA alum and author of Lovely Asunder (University of Arkansas Press), Our Emotions Get Carried Away Beyond Us (Barrow Street Press), American Libretto (Sow's Ear Press), and The Riots (University of Georgia Press)

Noon-12:30 p.m.

  • Meg Day, author of We Can’t Read This (Gazing Grain Press)

Noon-1 p.m.

  • Jeff Richards, author of A Civil War Novel in Stories (Paycock Press)

1-2 p.m.

  • Daniel M. Ford, Mason MFA alum and author of Ordination: Book One of the Paladin Trilogy (Santa Fe Writers Project)
  • Brandon Wicks, Mason MFA alum and author of American Fallout (Santa Fe Writers Project)

2 p.m.

  • David Nicholson, author of Flying Home: Seven Stories of the Secret City (Paycock Press)

  • Laura Ellen Scott, Mason MFA alum and BFA professor, author of Death Wishing (Ig), and The Juliet and The Mean Bone in her Body, Book One of the New Royal Mysteries (both from Pandamoon Publishing)