Reporting from the Associated Writing Programs Conference

David Griffith
April 14, 2016

Over spring break Interlochen creative writing faculty attended the Associated Writing Programs conference in Los Angeles. Director, Dave Griffith and instructors Mika Perrine and Adam Atkinson attended the yearly conference as part of their yearly professional growth plans. The conference offers numerous panel discussions on important issues facing writers and teachers of writing, as well as hosts readings by some of the world's most prominent writers. Griffith, Perrine, and Atkinson also participated in presentations.

Griffith is the head of the national Caucus for K-12 Teachers of Creative Writing (see description below), and so he conducted a brainstorming session with teachers from across the country on how to better serve their students. Perrine, a member of the caucus, lent her expert perspective to the caucus, both as an alum of Interlochen Arts Academy and as former director of the creative writing program.

Perrine, who is at work on her first novel, attended many panels on the ins and outs of publishing first books. Poetry instructor Adam Atkinson was a member of the panel, Counting Its Presence: Race and Creative Writing Syllabi, a panel questioning the lack of diversity in creative writing course reading lists. The panelists, have been working together over the past year and half to collect syllabi from hundreds of graduate level creative writing courses, and then counting up the various kinds of books and writer taught in those courses. Atkinson and his fellow panelists found that the vast majority (87%) of the texts taught in the courses they surveyed were authored by white male writers.

After the conference, Griffith visited Idyllwild Arts Academy in Idyllwild, California to give a reading and master class on writing personal essays.