By Natalia Asis, Secretary

Students Natalia Asis and Gia Pilgrim attend the AWP Bookfair. (photo courtesy of Christina Hallowell)

Students Natalia Asis and Gia Pilgrim attend the AWP Bookfair. (photo courtesy of Christina Hallowell)

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page,” says a famous proverb I happen to love. I think I like it so much because I love books and I love travelling. With that in mind, I recently set off to the Midwestern city of Minneapolis.

I have been part of the Journalism Club, a.k.a. “J Club”, for a couple of semesters. I took the class, I was a staff reporter, I have been part of the executive board… I’ve been very involved. One of the greatest perks of being part of this club is to attend the famous Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference, and this was the first time I got to go.

Clichésaside, this really was an amazing trip. (I swear, I’m not getting paid to say so!). I knew this trip was a big deal, but I guess I was so busy that I didn’t have time to build up my expectations. Many people can tell you how overwhelmingly big the bookfair is, and how interesting the panels are, but you have to be there to really grasp the idea of how massive this conference is. It reminded me of my first time in New York City when I couldn’t stop looking up to see how tall the buildings were. There was just booth after booth filled with writers and publishers and editors.

I sometimes think I’m a “Jack of all trades, master of none”, because I love many different things: among those, writing. How much have I written? The last things I recall were a couple of chapters for a young-adult “novel” that ended up being a short story without an ending and the articles I write for the Flyer. I felt AWP was going to be a great experience, but I didn’t know how much I’d be able to relate to it. One pleasant surprise was to find that ALTA, The American Association of Literary Translators, was sponsoring a number of panels on literary translation. I never imagined that, in a writing conference, I would find translators, my peeps! (Should I mention I’m a translation major? That’s another thing this “Jack” loves). I got to meet and talk to literary translators, my rock stars, and a lot of interesting people.

My travel buddies were the Flyer’s Editor, Christina Hallowell, and the Assistant Editor, Gia Pilgrim, and I couldn’t have been happy to have shared this experience with them. It was great to get to meet them in a different setting and share so many good times.

I would like to take the opportunity to give you some advice: You should travel and learn fun things in different places. Go to AWP, go to any conference; just try to get out of Farmington for a while. Take opportunities like these and use the clubs to do things, to meet amazing people and places, and to try new dishes: to have a better understanding of the world. AWP was more than a conference to me, it was a learning experience.