The Association of Writers and Writing Programs held its annual conference from April 9-11, and effectively took over the city of Minneapolis for four days. Approximately 12,000 writers and industry professionals attended 550 panels and checked out the AWP book fair inside the convention center, where 700 exhibitors displayed their wares.

AWP attendees were welcomed to Minneapolis the day before AWP 2015 officially kicked off by board members of Rain Taxi, a local literary organization that publishes Rain Taxi Review of Books, who handed out copies of its current issue at the airport. Left, Isaac Faleschini, a B.F.A. student at Hamline University in St. Paul, and right, Rain Taxi board member Pamela Klinger-Horn, whom many regard as the Twin Cities’ “literary godmother.”

On the morning of the first day of the conference, the Plot IS Character, Character IS Plot panel drew 250 people to the convention center. The panelists included (from l.) children’s authors Nova Ren Suma, Varian Johnson, William Konigsberg, and Jewell Parker Rhodes.

Jewell Parker Rhodes greeting two students in Hamline University’s M.F.A. program after the Plot IS Character, Character IS Plot panel.

Authors Judi Marcin, Kristin Cronn-Mills, and Molly Beth Griffin at a panel called “How to Craft True-to-Life Queer YA Characters – Writing Beyond Stereotypes.”

“Representing Responsibly: We Need Diverse Books – Authors on the Challenges of Writing Diversity for Kids and Teens” panelists: (front row) Sona Charaipotra, Renee Ahdieh, and Sarah Benwell; (back row) Bryce Leung and Kristy Shen.

Jill Smith of Gillette Children’s Hospitals in St. Paul holds up a copy of the medical center’s self-published picture book, It’s O.K. to Ask! The book is written and illustrated by Minnesota resident Nancy Carlson, author of more than 60 books for children.

(From l.): Swati Avasthi, Lilliam Rivera, Cecil Castellucci, and Meg Medina pose before the “Tackling Tragedy in Young Adult with Different Mediums” panel, which was packed to overflowing with writers.

(From l.): Laurel Snyder, Castellucci, Stephanie Kuehn, and Lynn Melnick participated in a Friday panel, “Young Adults, New Adults, & the Women Who Write Them: Navigating the Politics of Gender & Genre in Young Adult Literature.”

(From l.): PW publisher Cevin Bryerman, Adam Lerner of Lerner Publishing Group, and Daniel Slager of Milkweed Editions talk shop during Milkweed’s pre-party before the “Awesome Party” at Open Book, a building dedicated to the literary arts in Minneapolis.

Children’s author and Albert Whitman & Co. editor Wendy McClure and Pamela Klinger-Horn attended an off-site event held at The Local Irish Pub in Minneapolis, hosted by several literary presses.

The staff of the Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul was at AWP in full force, primarily to attend the many off-site events organized by local publishers and other literary organizations, including Rain Taxi’s 20th-anniversary celebration at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

Author-illustrator Kate Riggs signing books at a Saturday evening party held by the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association.

Author Margi Preus with Holly Weinkauf of Red Balloon Books at the MIBA party.