Christian Teresi, the longtime director of conferences at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, has left the literary organization in order to pursue other interests.
Both interim executive director Chloe Schwenke and board chair David Haynes told PW that AWP's conference department recently underwent a major reorganization and Teresi declined a new position offered to him on the conference team. In May, PW reported on allegations against Teresi of gender discrimination, bullying, and retaliation, from a number of former AWP employees.
Schwenke said she has "no information" regarding the allegations, and declined to respond when asked whether the complaints PW reported played any role in Teresi's departure.
Cynthia Sherman, previously director of exhibits and associate director of conferences at AWP, has been promoted to director of conferences. As such, she will oversee the planning for AWP’s annual writers’ conference, which draws between 10,000-13,000 attendees each year. AWP 2019 will be held March 27-30 in Portland, Ore.
Teresi, who launched his career at AWP in 2003 through a part-time work-study program while a grad student at George Mason University, served as director of conferences for the past 10 years. In addition to the complaints lodged against him by former employees, Teresi has also come under fire in recent years for not doing enough to make AWP's conference accessible to people with disabilities.
"With new leadership, it's fair to assume that changes are coming," Haynes wrote in an email, "Over the next few months, watch for announcements of various kinds. It's all good news. Board and staff all very excited about where we're headed." The board continues to search for a permanent executive director to replace former executive director David Fenza, who was terminated in March.
AWP's annual conference draws between 10,000-13,000 attendees; this article has been updated.