The Time I Did That Thing at AWP

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Here now, I confess my greatest AWP sin.

I have been that guy at the AWP offsite event, the one who read too long. The one whose 15 minutes turned into 25.

In my defense, the event was at altitude.

In my defense, I’d literally found out an hour before that my first book was being published.

In my defense, well…no.

It was indefensible.

It’s a credit to the good people who ran the event that we’re still friends, and we can almost joke about it, but it was pretty bad at the time, and it engendered a decent amount of typically passive-aggressive bad blood among writers.

I tell you this here because I’ve seen this happen at every AWP of the (gasp) 15 I have attended.

I tell you this because I knew better.

AWP pro tip number one: time your reading.

And remember, approximately 95 percent of the people in the room are there to see someone else on the bill. And of the remaining five percent, about half of them are wondering why that guy in the corner is setting up a microphone.

Be generous. Be a good audience member. Stay for all the readers. Clap enthusiastically. And tip your waiters and waitresses.