Host Publications at AWP - San Antonio 2020

We absolutely loved our time at San Antonio, AWP 2020!

Our Host Publications staff worked incredibly hard during the winter to bring you our new chapbook prize winner Threshold by Julie Howd and the second volume of the I Scream Social Anthology just in time for AWP San Antonio!

our staff at dinner at Liberty Bar on March 7th, 2020

:: The Bookfair ::

We were fortunate to be stationed in an accessible and bustling space at booth #2056, meeting tons of wonderful book sellers, publishers, and writers. 

From Thursday - Saturday, our staff took turns working the bookfair from 9am to 5pm. On Thursday we featured a book signings with Julie Howd, author of Threshold and Stephanie Goehring, author of from The Water [Inaudible]. On Saturday, mónica teresa ortiz, signed the last batch of her chapbook autobiography of a semiromantic anarchist

Our bookfair experience was worlds better than we could have dreamt. Our book sales were higher than they've been the past, and we had the opportunity to engage with our readers and passersby in more meaningful and genuine ways. The atmosphere was more relaxed, as the conference this year was at least 50% less crowded. The space lacked pretension and encouraged everyone to slow down. It meant so much to us to feel so much love this time around.

Oh, we also $pent quite a bit of money supporting other booksellers. Our publisher Joe Bratcher purchased a total of 46 books, including When the Whale Leaves (Milkweed Editions) by Yuri Rytkheu and Margery Kempe by Robert Glück (NYRB). Our senior editor Claire Bowman proudly took home INRI (NYRB) by Raúl Zurita and I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World (Black Ocean) by Kim Kyung Ju. Our managing editor Annar Veröld was also swooned by Black Ocean and took home Kim Kyung Ju's Whale and Vaporand The Word Pretty by Elisa Gabbert. Other treasures that fell into a couple of our collections include: The Loneliest Band in France (Texas Review Press) by Dylan Fisher and Temporary (Coffee House Press) by Hilary Leichter.

:: Events + Panels ::

I Scream Social x AWP

A tricky part of our AWP experience was navigating the events and panels, due to so many being canceled or moved throughout the conference. Because of these abrupt changes, the conference guides were not up to date, and most folks played a guessing game. Fortunately, the Host team came through with plenty to do.

On Thursday night, I Scream Social celebrated their anthology book launch with an AWP reading at Paletería San Antonio, featuring Julie Howd, Stephanie Goehring, and Julia Lattimer. We also enjoyed a tremendous open mic with AR Rogers, mónica teresa ortiz, Gina Bastone, Lauren Klotzman, Kate Kelly, and Mary E. Higgins.

The reading was laid out to where our audience sat on a beautiful grassy hill facing a wooden stage up against the back wall of the popsicle shop. We set up a fun booksale table and invited all readers and open mic-ers to sell their books to guests. Folks received wristbands to claim their free ice cream.

Our friends and audience were warm, welcoming, and so much fun to entertain. Everyone enjoyed free popsicles (the double Oreo seemed to be the ultimate winner, but I personally think the fruity pebbles popsicle was transformative) courtesy of Host Publications, and purchased and signed books. Best compliment of the night: "that reading was so Austin."

Step into the Water & You Remember Everything Exhibit
On Friday night, we were invited to celebrate two artists that we've worked with at Host Publications for the I Scream Social Anthology covers, Nat Bradford / Power and Tsz Kam aka Big Chicken and Baby Bird. They had a gorgeous exhibit of their work titled Step into the Water & You Remember Everything at Clamp Light Studios.  We each took home zines, prints, and a memorable experience. So much love and gratitude for these two brilliant artists!

Panels w/ the Host Team

On Saturday, the Host team was very busy day as panelists for multiple AWP panels. 

mónica teresa ortiz was featured in Obsessed with Texas: Writing New Stories about an Old Place beside Vincent Cooper, Heather Harper Ellett, and Joe Jiménez.

Annar Veröld and Schandra Abigail Madha participated in Inclusive Who?: Running a Reading Series That Supports Marginalized Writers beside Interfaces' KB, and Allston Living Room Read's Julia Lattimer. Annar and Schandra spoke on behalf of their 5 year old feminist reading series I Scream Social. The panelists discussed a wide range of subjects regarding how to run an inclusive reading series—from community guidelines, funding, ensuring how to meet their demographic's needs, and so much more. 

Our final panel for AWP was Poetry's First and Last Stop: Libraries as Partners in the Publishing Process featuring Annar Veröld alongside Tomás Q. Morín, Gina Bastone, Sam Treviño, and (our dear friend & former Host editor!) Katelin Kelly! A panel full of poets, librarians, and publishers drove a fascinating and engaging conversation about how libraries can elevate the writer's experience in new and innovative ways.

:: A Tiny Guide to San Antonio ::
Paletería San Antonio

Back in October, our team took a delicious adventure to scope out ice cream shops in San Antonio as potential I Scream Social AWP venues, and we came across the mom & pop owned popsicle shop Paletería San Antonio located at the heart of the park. Their popsicles are made with real ingredients and it was a dream to host our event with them!

On Wednesday, after setting up, we admired the sunset and celebrated our staff with a meal at the cajun and creole restaurant Cookhouse (we highly recommend the boudin balls!). It was a wonderful setting with contemporary vibes and plenty of food for our mix of pescatarians, vegans, picky eaters, and the full-blown carnivores on our staff. Oh, also, please get the beignets & thank us later.
Liberty Bar
Saturday night, we closed out our AWP 2020 with a final staff meal at Liberty Bar. As we were driving up, 4 out of 5 of us in the car squealed with delight as we saw the giant pink building that was formerly a Benedictine convent with a neon sign that read Liberty Bar. In the "about" section of their website it begins with The Liberty Bar began in a bookstore and that's about all we need to know, really. Despite eating well all week, we were all famished and enjoyed enormous plates of house-made pasta, eggplant purée with toast, burgers, and grilled vegetables. 
What's Brewing Coffee
Honorary mention is What's Brewing Coffee / San Antonio Coffee Roasters. Annar had the pleasure to attend a close friend's baby shower in San Antonio the day after AWP. This coffee shop is part coffeeshop, part pinball arcade, and part coffee roasters in this massive and delicious smelling warehouse. What's Brewing has the beans and Annar went home with their a pound of Costa Rican Las Trojas and their Vienna Roast blend, and swears she has been transformed every morning in her own home. Order their coffee online.
Everyone loves The Twig! This bookstore, in the heart of the impressive Pearl District, was bustling with readings and events and lovers of literature during AWP! Though, we didn't make it out during AWP, during our visit in San Antonio we enjoyed browsing the space and a coffee from Merit Coffee in the courtyard afterwards.
The Original
After I Scream Social on Thursday, our staff and their zombie hungry bodies trekked back to the hotel to put away our event materials. It was 10 p.m. and what could possibly be open? Thus, we discovered The Original at the heart of the Riverwalk. They sat our large party right away, slinged an enormous horchata, chips and salsa, and a ton of cheesy, hot Texas-Mex food onto our table. We swear we teleported back to our hotel after this meal.
The Cove
Before we went to Tsz and Nat's exhibit at Clamp Light Studios on Friday, the Host staff attended the highly recommended restaurant The Cove. We all ordered tacos, in true The Cove fashion, enjoying their sustainable, organic, and local ingredients. Joe highly recommends the vegan "twinkie"!
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