AWP 2016, Los Angeles or Bust: A Packing List

March 29, 2016 § 6 Comments

awpSome helpful packing advice from Brevity assistant editor Alexis Paige:

1. Combat Medic Kit.

If, like me, you suffer from both actual and imagined illnesses, you will want to be prepared in case of a blowout at the book fair, a paroxysm in panel, or (god forbid, crossing myself just in case) an embolism in flight. Make sure you pack the essentials: vitamin-C, pain reliever, prescriptions, antacids, Calamine Lotion, antiseptic, anti-diarrheals, anti-anxieties, anti-inflammatories, anti-psychotics, tourniquet, epi-pen, staple gun, and emergency flares (better safe than sorry). In case of emergency, you can find me, my kit, and my hypochondriac’s diagnostic wheel at the Brevity table in the book fair.

2. Toiletries.

Red lipstick, moustache wax, pomade, cigarettes, mouthwash, flask, sunscreen, hair brush (?).

3. Snacks.

Leftover jellybeans and Peeps (which double as action figures for book fair dioramas), cigarettes (or nicotine gum), gum (nicotine gum), energy drinks, coffee (instant single-serve pouches are a lifesaver!), Emergen-C, Ziploc bags—for book fair loot and snacks you can pilfer from various hotel lobbies.

4. Old-Timey Typewriter*.

Who needs clothes? It’s Los Angeles, 75 degrees and sunny.

*Check with local hipsters to see if this is still a thing.

5. Sandal/ Mandal/ Strappy Footwear.

You want to make your friends back in Michigan jealous of the tan lines on your feet.

6. Razor

To shave your toe tufts (see #5), or any other overgrown tufts in need of maintenance.

7. Extra tote bag.

Because if you are not playing the ongoing, silent game of statement tote bag one-upmanship, then you are missing out on AWP’s parallel universe hijinks and answer to the Hunger Games.

8. Business cards, calling cards, book-release postcards, or other cutesy swag with your name, affiliations, and social media deets.

Remember, and this is important: AWP is not for learning or networking. It’s for gathering new Facebook friends and Twitter followers and/ or impressing your existing followers with the style of your swag.

9. Big sunglasses and scarf.
Again, a common misconception is that AWP is for learning and/ or growing community. Not so. This is only what they want you to believe so that you let your guard down, look like a douche, and everyone laughs at you. The goal is to win, and in order to win, you must remain aloof and mysterious (and medicated) at all times.

10. Sunglass/ Scarf Alternative.

Perhaps you want to seem casual, relaxed, and approachable? I can’t imagine why, but if this is your jam, just make sure to bring a sun visor and your Hard Rock Café Los Angeles T-Shirt from 1988. Your new writer friends will flock to you like free manuscript critiques!


If you have time and space, consider packing the following as well: travel id and money, books, panel presentation notes, conference schedule and planner, laptop…what else am I forgetting? Oh, and pants! Pants are good. They might even be required.


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