We’re back from AWP 2016, where we met and chatted with thousands of writers, editors, and other literary friends at the convention center in sunny, so sunny Los Angeles. We stayed in a haunted hotel, ate fresh beignets for breakfast, and had desserts with foam and peas and popcorn at a rectory-turned-restaurant. You’re so hip, LA, very hip.
One of the highlights of AWP was that we had the privilege of moderating a panel on Ethnic, Gender, and LGBTQ Diversity in New Media. We had a superstar group of panelists: Mensah Demary from Catapult, Ari Laurel from Hyphen, Plympton‘s Jennifer 8. Lee, and James Yeh of VICE. The panelists talked about finding mentors and how to be savvy (and persistent) when it comes to fundraising. Mensah emphasized the importance of using tools like Twitter that are accessible, which can help make it easier for editors from underrepresented groups to start publications: “A diverse space is one that is accessible.”
Among her many (many) accomplishments, panelist Jennifer 8. Lee successfully campaigned for a dumpling emoji. She gifted us a set of dumpling emoji keychains that we will cherish forever. Thanks, Jennifer.
We also sponsored Camp Real Pants, a one-day series of publishing talks and readings held in a fabulous loft near the Fashion District (this is LA, after all). A few of us gave a talk about how Submittable got started. The staff at VIDA discussed VIDA’s mission and emphasized that there’s no lack of talented writers from underprivileged groups; the key is for publications to put the effort into finding and welcoming diverse writers. “It’s not that hard” to find diverse talent, said VIDA executive board member Camille Rankine. Other speakers included former Harper Perennial editor and chairman of The Center for Fiction Calvert Morgan and Morgan Parker from Little A, Amazon’s literary press. Small Press printer Spencer Printing talked about printing books on canvas.
Thanks to those of you who stopped by our booth for a chat and a headband. We still have some stickers left. If you’d like one, write us a note with your genre of choice and mail a self-addressed stamped envelope to Submittable Stickers, PO Box 8255, Missoula, MT 59807. While supplies last!
BIO: Asta So is Submittable’s blog editor and editorial director. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Montana and a BA in English lit from Stanford University. When not writing or sewing, she’s hugging dogs or cooking from her dad’s many Cantonese-style recipes.