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AWP: Money for nothin’ and the drinks aren’t free

AWP imageThe Problem of Money and Access at AWP. By Alison Stine, Lit Hub.

Is it possible to attend AWP if you’re poor? If you’re not going to be reimbursed by a university, should you even bother? The short answer is: I did it, and many others do too—but it can be a lonely and difficult experience.

…Though AWP was funded to serve writers teaching at the college level, more and more writers just can’t get those jobs, especially not writers of color, women writers, or writers who are disabled. There just aren’t that many jobs anymore to get. More and more, it’s writers outside of academia who participate in AWP—not just to attend, but to present and give readings—and who shoulder expenses themselves.

…It’s not illegal to discriminate against the poor. But when 60 percent of college students face food insecurity every month; when academia runs on the exploitation of adjuncts’ labor; when tenure track professors give lectures to hordes of students, only a fraction of whom will ever obtain jobs in the profession in which they trained (and often paid dearly for), it seems glaringly insensitive not to directly address the deep and systematic income inequalities of the field.

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