By MARTHA CABANISS
Santa Fe ”“Time is running out for the Institute of American Indian Art’s writers club, Ex Nihilo, meaning “out of nothingness.” The club is on a mission this semester to raise funds to attend the Association of Writers and Writing Programs annual conference, which will be in Washington, D.C. in February.
“Creative writing faculty has been attending the AWP conference for years, but last year was the first year that students participated,” says Evelina Lucero, a creative writing professor at IAIA.
Last year’s conference was held in Denver. Twelve students from IAIA attended, as well as faculty. Six creative writing alumni read in a workshop.
What is the Association of Writers and Writing Programs?
According to their website, AWP was founded in 1967 as a national, nonprofit literary organization dedicated to serving writers, teachers, and writing programs. They are also the publishers of “The Writer’s Chronicle,” which is distributed six times a year, and is designed to enlighten, inform, and entertain writers. AWP’s Annual Conference and Bookfair was created to celebrate outstanding individuals and writing programs in the literary world. The conference features over 350 presentations in a four-day span and is one of the biggest and liveliest literary gatherings in North America.
Why It’s Important for Students to Attend
The AWP conference is designed to help students and others achieve their literary goals as well as provide a venue for individuals to reach out and create connections. Students who attended the conference last year contributed to their own educational experiences and also helped make a lasting connection between IAIA and AWP.
“I like going to the conference for the readings and meeting writers,” says Anna Nelson, Ex Nihilo Club president, and one of the students that attended the conference last year.
“The conference provided lots of information on different writing genres. It helped me focus more on my own writing,” says Paige Buffington, another student that attended the conference last year.
Tyler Peyron, a creative writing student with a passion for music says, “The conference allowed me to explore alternative writing methods that related to what I was interested in.”
The students who attended last year’s conference agree that it was helpful and fun.
How You Can Help
As the deadline for registration is quickly approaching, the Ex Nihilo Club is frantically trying to raise enough money to cover all costs, including registration fees, lodging, airfare, and food. According to Chasity Vigil, secretary of Ex Nihilo, the club has not yet raised enough money to send the ten students of the club to the conference, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t trying.
The club will be selling 50/50 raffle tickets individually for a dollar, an arm’s length for $5, and two arm’s length for $10. Each week a winner will receive half of the proceeds from the ticket sales. The raffle will continue until the end of the semester.
The club is also selling tamales for $2.50, or you can buy some in bulk and save them for the holidays. They will also deliver the tamales to your dorm, office, or classroom.
IAIA Student Anthologies, current and past issues, are also for sale through the IAIA bookstore and contain creative writing by present students and alumni who have gone on to publish books. The club also sells the anthologies and participates in live poetry readings at El Farol on Monday nights from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. El Farol is located at 299 Old Santa Fe Trail.
Donations are also being accepted in exchange for raffle tickets. For more information on how you can help this club reach their goal, contact Anna Nelson:
Copyright © IAIA CHRONICLE 2010