Busboys and PoetsThis week, thousands of writers, editors, and publishers will descend on Washington, DC for the annual AWP conference. Atticus Editors are spread out all across the US, but the magazine launched in the DC area, and a few of us have called DC home at one point or another, including myself.

People tend to think of DC in terms of politics and museums at the risk of missing out on the city’s thriving literary scene. For AWP attendees, it’s worth the time and effort to branch out from the conference hotel to explore what DC has to offer.

Before you go: Get familiar with some DC area-based literary journals and magazines.

*Beltway Poetry Quarterly is an award-winning online journal that also functions as a resource bank for locals.

*District Lit is an indie literary journal publishing fiction, poetry, and visual art.

*Out of Johns Hopkins University comes The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, an online and print literary journal which also hosts events and workshops.

*DC-based The Coalition Zine promotes work by “female and femme identifying writers and artists of colour.”

*You may be familiar with Barrelhouse, a non-profit organization that showcases poetry, fiction, and nonfiction through its website and print publications. Additionally, Barrelhouse provides numerous lit community-supporting initiatives. 

While you’re here: Venture off-site to venues worth the trip.

*Politics & Prose isn’t just a local institution; it is a national treasure.  Peruse the well-stocked bookstore, grab a bite to eat at the café, and check out their heavy-hitter list of events. Tenleytown – AU Station. Red Line.

*Speaking of Politics & Prose, P&P now stocks the small indie bookstores found in three Busboys & Poets locations, including the location at 5th and K, a short walk from the Convention Center. Here, you can also order an excellent meal in its full-service restaurant. Look for off-site AWP-related events here as well. The flagship Busboys & Poets is at 14th and V, near the U Street/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo Metro stop on the Green/Yellow Line.

*Operating since the 70s, Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe  is one of Dupont Circle’s much-loved establishments. Note that it stays open until the wee morning hours. Dupont Circle Metro Stop. Red Line.

*Two-year-old Upshur Street Books is a relatively recent, and welcome, addition to DC’s literary scene. Georgia Avenue Petworth Metro Stop. Green/Yellow Line.

*Founded by filmmakers, Sankofa Video Books & Cafe is located near Howard University and focuses selections on artists of African descent. Be sure to check out the calendar of events. 

*Visit Potter’s House in Adams Morgan for coffee and peruse their book selection specializing in “social movements, cultural studies, and spiritual traditions.”

*Find overflowing selections of used and rare books at Capitol Hill Books and Idle Time Books.

*Bridge Street Books is a small independent bookstore nestled in Georgetown. In addition to specializing in Humanities, the store carries a great selection of chapbooks, often from DC-based authors.

Safe travels to AWP. We’ll see you in a few days!

Come visit us at Table 352-T.