2018 Agenda

AWP Disabled and D/deaf Writers’ Caucus  Agenda


Time: 6:00 PM to 7:15 PM

Location: Room 3 & 4, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor

6:00 to 6:05 Board: Brief welcome. Jim Ferris
6:05 to 6:10 Election of new board president and vice-president

Co-Presidents: Eileen Cronin and Anna Lys Black

Eileen Cronin

Eileen Cronin’s memoir Mermaid was translated into three languages and is on O Magazine’s Best Memoirs of 2014 list. Her first publication was a cover story for the Washington Post Outlook section. She was awarded the Washington Writing Prize in fiction, and her essays/stories have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Daily Beast, The Hill, and in various literary magazines. Eileen practices clinical psychology in Los Angeles and sometimes performs with The Moth.

Anna Lys Black

Anna Lys Black (formerly known as Cheyenne Black) serves as the editor-in-chief for Hayden’s Ferry Review at Arizona State University where she is a Virginia G. Piper global fellow and mere weeks from completion of her MFA. Black is the editor of the Sundress Publications blog, Lyric Essentials. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the anthologies We Will be Shelter and In Sight: An Ekphrastic Collaboration, as well as the journals 45th Parallel, Bacopa Review, Wordgathering, the American Journal of Poetry, and New Mobility among others.

Co-Vice-Presidents: Cade Leebron and Jeneva Stone

Cade Leebron

Cade Leebron https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1qgenrlZVxqDKvHBPq6By7_Q8lNPlI2bPJMJG-ea8ZB0/editis a writer living in Columbus, OH. She holds an MFA from Ohio State, where she served as an editor at The Journal. Her work has appeared in Brevity, Electric Literature, Day One, and elsewhere. Find her online at www.mslifeisbestlife.com or on Twitter @CadeyLadey


Jeneva Stone

Jeneva Stone is the author of MONSTER (Phoenicia Publishing), a literary hybrid on disability, caregiving and the science of rare disease. She has received fellowships from the MacDowell and Millay Colonies, as well as the Mellon Foundation in the Humanities. Jeneva identifies with disability through her own anxiety disorder, as well as the complex disabilities of her son Robert. For more: https://jenevastone.com


Advisory board membership.




6:10 to 6:25 Jillian Weise: Representation on AWP panels/keynotes and literary journals, 2018; Submittable accessibility (via Kathi Wolfe).

Cade Leebron: Caucus Submit-A-Thon

Jess Silfa: Gathering Data on Writing Residencies

(subcommittee sign-ups: Lit journals, submission & Submittable accessibility; Writing Residencies; representation in convention keynotes and panels)


6:25 to 6:40 Jess Silfa and Molly McCully Brown: Tampa Resources Accessibility of this year’s off-site venues in light of recent AWP policy of listing only events whose coordinators confirm that the venue is ADA-compliant; transportation and access in the city.

(subcommittee sign-ups for Portland 19)

6:40 to 6:50 Ellen McGrath Smith: AWP’s efforts to stagger caucus meeting dates/times for those who belong to more than one; board and caucus planning for ongoing contact, goal-setting, and transparency.

(subcommittee: caucus goals/timelines/ongoing communication)

7:00 to 7:10 Introduction to and Q&A with new AWP Accessibility Consultant Cindy Kaufman

Closing remarks (Jim Ferris)

Additional Information: Please make sure to add or check/update your caucus membership contact information at the sign-up sheet provided near the door. Sign-Ups for subcommittees will also be available. For those not attending the Tampa convention, contact AWPdisabilitycaucus@gmail.com, to sign up for a subcommittee.

Effort will be made to Facebook-live or Periscope the caucus meeting, wifi and other tech permitting.

2017 Agenda and Minutes

AWP Disabled and D/deaf Writers’ Caucus 2017


Time: 6:00 PM to 7:15 PM

Location: Room 101, Washington Convention Center, Level One

Please read the agenda and addenda prior to the caucus. Please also add or check/update your caucus membership contact information at the sign-up sheet provided near the door. Prior to the caucus, anyone who wishes to run for the openings on the board (Communications Director, Secretary) should email a biographical statement to caucus Secretary Kelly Davio at kellydavio@gmail.com.

6:00 to 6:05 Board: Brief welcome.
6:05 to 6:10 Vote on Consent Agenda

Please see addenda for consent agenda items.

6:10 to 6:20 Sandra Beasley: DC Resources

Beasley will present on the resource she has created for off-site venues in DC.

6:20 to 6:30 Jillian Weise: Representation in Literary Organizations

Weise will present observations from her experience as visiting editor at Iowa Review.

6:30 to 6:40 Board: Diversity in the Caucus and its Leadership, Vote on 2 Replacement Board Members

Discussion of ways the caucus can build a more diverse membership, especially with respect to people of color. Vote on Molly McCully Brown, running to replace Jennifer Bartlett as Communications Director, and Jess Silfa, running to replace Kelly Davio as Secretary. Please see addenda for biographical information.

6:40 to 7:00 Board: Vote on bylaws and membership in the caucus.

Discussion and a vote on bylaws governing who may be a voting member or board member of the caucus. Please see addenda for the board’s position on caucus membership.

7:00 to 7:10 Board: Surveying the Caucus Membership

Discussion of a forthcoming survey to caucus membership on their experience of the conference and the impact of AWP’s recent accessibility changes.

7:10 to 7:15 Board: Closing Remarks

Additional Information: Please make sure to add or check/update your caucus membership contact information at the sign-up sheet provided near the door.


Addendum A: Consent Agenda

Item 1:

Board: Resolution to request that AWP hire a trained disability coordinator for future conferences.

In appreciation of the fact that AWP’s disability help desk has proven inadequate as a resource, the board moves to present AWP leadership with a resolution asking that the organization hire a trained disability coordinator, or train an existing staff member to serve as a dedicated disability coordinator, to assist with all future conferences.

Item 2:

Board: Resolution to request that AWP include a disabled person in the AWP panel-selection process for the 2018 conference.

The board moves to present AWP leadership with a resolution asking that the organization include a disabled person on the selection committee for panels ahead of the 2018 conference.

Item 3:

Approval of minutes from 2016 Caucus, attached in Addendum B.

Addendum B: Board Position of Caucus Membership:


Last year there was some contentious discussion about whether membership on the caucus would be open to caretakers and people who do not self-identify as disabled. It is the position of the board that while certainly we want to be open to nondisabled–and indeed all–voices, this is the disability caucus and needs to exist precisely in order to ensure that disabled voices are heard and respected in an ableist world where they are too often overshadowed, silenced, and erased. Therefore, the position of the board is that voting membership of the caucus should be composed of persons who self-identify as disabled. We welcome all to join us, however, as supporting members. We suggest that membership be defined as such in our by-laws. This is our suggestion and we open it to discussion.

Addendum C: Minutes from Previous Meeting of the AWP Disabled and D/deaf Writers’ Caucus

AWP Disability Caucus Minutes: April 1, 2016

6pm Room 411 Los Angeles Convention Center

  1. Welcome from the Executive Board
  1. The group acknowledged the work of Jennifer Bartlett, Sheila Black, and Meg Day.
  1. The sign-in sheet for the caucus was sent around the room.
  1. Executive and Advisory Board Elections: no nominations from the floor. Jim Ferris moved to vote the slate. The slate was approved by 36 voting parties (36 in favor, 0 opposed). Attendees were asked to indicate interest in advisory board membership on the sign-in sheet.
  1. Bylaws: the draft bylaws were read aloud by the executive board.
  • objection from the floor to the inclusion of “self-identify” in clauses III.a. and IV.a.
  • objections from the floor to the omissions of “allies,” “caregivers,” or “advocates” in the membership clauses.
  • Sheila Black moved to vote on amended language.
  • The vote was 14 in favor of adding “allies” to the membership clause language. 12 were opposed.
  • The vote was 19 in favor of omitting “self-identify” from the membership clause. 9 were opposed.
  • The caucus ratified III.a. as follows: “Membership in the caucus will be open to all AWP members who are disabled or living with chronic illness, or their allies,” and for IV.a., sentence 3, as follows: “Nominees who are disabled or chronically ill will have priority when Executive Board nominations are made.”
  • The caucus voted on accepting the bylaws with the above amendments. 27 were in favor, 1 was opposed.
  1. Sheila Black read the accomplishments of the caucus thus far.
  1. Action items for the future:
  • the committee will distribute news to the email group.
  • We will have a disabled member of the AWP panel selection committee for 2017.
  • we will organize subgroups to work on journals, AWP disability guidelines, next year’s conference in DC, and panel proposals.

Addendum D: Current Bylaws of the Caucus

AWP Disability Caucus Mission
The AWP Disability Caucus’ primary mission is to work with AWP to ensure improvements & open accessibility for writers, scholars, & students with disabilities, and to help ensure that there are ongoing efforts to overcome barriers to access. We work to witness not only an increase in disability-related panels and readings, but more opportunities to network and discuss common challenges related to identity, writing, and teaching while professionally leading a literary life. We aim to archive our interests, challenges, and concerns in order to increase our visibility and emphasize our importance to this organization, along with our social and creative significance to the academic and literary communities where we live, teach, and work.

Statement of Merit
We meet as a caucus dedicated to writers who identify as within the disability community. We exist as a supportive, inclusive, intersectional, and accessible space within AWP to network and discuss issues we uniquely face as a literary community. Our caucus serves as a means within AWP to address concerns surrounding accessibility; the development of disability literature as an academic and creative discipline; and to enter into the larger dialogue of the disabled writer in society.

  1. Purpose and Mission
    1. The purpose of Disability Caucus (“the Caucus”) of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (“AWP”) is to further the theoretical, practical, professional interests of students, writers, and teachers within the disability community, and to encourage disabled students, writers, and teachers to explore disability, accessibility, & the development of disability literature as a discipline through dialogue and writing.
    2. The objectives of the Caucus are the following:
      1. To expand networking opportunities for students, writers, and teachers who identify as part of the disability community.
      2. To recognize the contributions of disabled writers nationally and internationally.
  • To expand literary and cultural dialogue to encompass all genres of creative writing specific to disabled writers.
  1. To encourage an open forum for dialogues about disabled literary perspectives.
  2. To support education about the contributions of disabled writers.
  1. Representation with Board of AWP
    1. In order to facilitate further disabled representation and communication

with AWP leadership, the Caucus may nominate/endorse representatives when a vacancy on the AWP Board of Trustees occurs.

  1. In accordance with AWP guidelines, nominations for open seats on the AWP

Board of Trustees must be submitted to the Council Chairs and/or directly to the Board of Trustees.

  1. AWP Trustee Job Description
    1. Each individual who stands for election to the board must

agree to fulfill the following duties if elected to the board:

  1. to serve on AWP’s Board of Trustees for four years.
  2. to attend two board meetings each year: a fall board meeting

(held at the site of the conference two years out, and a spring meeting at the annual conference site).

  1. to participate actively in board committees.
  2. to remain informed about AWP business and relevant news

in the field.

  1. to accept special assignments in areas such as fundraising,

publications, and advocacy, and to play a visible role at key events (e.g. plenary session, keynote, and Award Series reading) at the annual meeting.

  1. to give or to raise at least $1,000 for AWP each year. In-kind

donations (payment of one’s own travel expenses) or institutional commitments (such as sponsorship, or other assistance that comes with a benefit) are not included in this area.

  • Membership

Membership in the caucus will be open to all AWP members who are disabled or living with chronic illness, or their allies.

  1. Executive Board
    1. The Caucus will elect an Executive Board from its members. The board will normally have four members, but a fifth member is possible in the duplicate roles of Vice President or Communications Coordinator should the need arise. Each year, a majority number of the Executive Board must be in attendance at the AWP Annual Conference. Nominees who are disabled or chronically ill will have priority when Executive Board nominations are made.
    2. The Executive Board will be elected by the Caucus members at the AWP Annual Conference. Nominations will occur in an election year during the open call for agenda items. The following members will be elected for a term of two years in their respective positions:
      1. President: The President of the Caucus will chair the Executive Board, moderate the Caucus meetings, assist committees throughout the year, and serve as liaison to the AWP.
      2. Vice President: The Vice President will work closely with the President, and will assume the duties of the President in the President’s absence and shall undertake certain responsibilities in conjunction with the President. The Vice President will be in charge of completing the caucus application paperwork for each AWP conference by the deadline.
  • Secretary: The Secretary will take minutes at the annual meeting and will maintain the Caucus’s records. The Secretary will provide to the Communications Coordinator all necessary document drafts (updated bylaws, minutes, names of Board nominees) for uploading to the Caucus website. The Secretary will maintain a private list of active members & their contact information that is not to be posted publicly at any time.
  1. Communications Coordinator: The Communications Coordinator will deal with all media concerns & serve as moderator for all social media accounts (facebook, twitter, etc). They will be responsible for updating the Caucus website, including archiving meeting minutes & the ongoing DisLit bibliography in accessible ways. The Communications Coordinator will also produce or delegate production of any flyers, logos, etc necessary. The Communications Coordinator will be sure to keep the contact information of Caucus members private, especially when sending out email newsletters.
  1. Executive Board members will have the following responsibilities:
    1. Communicate with members by holding an Annual General Meeting reporting to members at the annual conference and through electronic means, and maintaining an active distribution list, website, listserve, and/or newsletter.
    2. Meet as needed to prepare for the annual conference and further the interests of the Caucus membership.
  • Issue a call for nominations and develop a slate of nominees in time for voting at the AWP annual conference.
  1. Affiliate and cooperate with related organizations.
  2. Make known the Caucus candidate to the Board of AWP and ensure that all Caucus members vote for that candidate in the AWP open elections.
  1. Committees/Task Forces/Working Groups
    1. The Executive Board may authorize committees/task forces/working groups

to handle special issue and areas of focus on behalf of the board.

  1. Committees/Task Forces/Working Groups may recruit members from the

Advisory Board and from the general membership.

  1. An Executive Board member or Advisory Board member must co-chair each

committee/taskforce/working group and regularly report progress to the Executive Board.

  1. Advisory Board
    1. The Executive Board will choose an advisory board of as many members as it deems necessary.
    2. The Caucus will include an Advisory Board consisting of Caucus members who wish to make a positive contribution to the mission of the Caucus by offering constructive advice and feedback in areas of the Caucus’s operations.
    3. The Advisory Board will meet, in person or electronically, on a regular basis to discuss new issues and to make recommendations to present to the Executive Board.
  • Changes and Amendments
    1. The Executive Board may propose changes and amendments to these bylaws

at any time.

  1. The Executive Board must approve bylaw changes by a majority vote.
  2. In the event of a tie, the Advisory Board will cast one (1) deciding vote.
  3. In the event that the Advisory Board cannot reach consensus on a deciding

vote, the Executive Board will reject changes to the bylaws.

  1. Caucus membership must ratify these changes by two-thirds vote of the

majority of members attending the Disability Caucus meeting at the AWP annual conference.

Executive Board vote to accept bylaws:

General Caucus vote to accept bylaws: April 1, 2016


Addendum E: Biographical Information for Board Candidtates

Running for Communications Director


Molly McCully Brown is the author of The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded (Persea Books, 2017), which won the 2016 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Pleiades, Image, TriQuarterly Online, Kenyon Review, The Adroit Journal, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Raised in rural Virginia, she holds degrees from Bard College at Simon’s Rock and Stanford University. Currently, she is a John and Renée Grisham Fellow at the University of Mississippi.

Running for Secretary


Jess Silfa is an MFA Fiction student at Brooklyn College. They graduated from Columbia University with a BA in Psychology and are a native New Yorker who feels strongly about bagels. Jess is currently working on a short story collection that features a lot of dead pets for some reason. You can follow them on Twitter @jesilfa.

AWP Disability Caucus AGENDA 2016

April 1, 2016

I. Welcome [Jim Ferris, nominated Caucus President]
II. Introductions and Sign-In Info [Kelly Davio, nominated Secretary]
III. Business Items      [Sheila Black & Ellen McGrath Smith, nominated Vice Presidents]

1. Accomplishments

  1. Acceptance of the 1st AWP Disability Caucus
  2. No off-site events will be posted by AWP unless they are confirmed as being held at accessible venues. Thank you to those who helped make this possible.
  3. New AWP Disability Caucus website to serve as an archive & resource during the year
  4. New AWP Disability Caucus facebook & twitter pages to stay connected throughout

2. Approval of the Caucus Bylaws (project or pass out, made public in March)

  1. Secretary should put forth for a vote the confirmation of the bylaws, (circulated &/or projected now) as posted in draft form on the Caucus website in March
  2. Secretary should record vote (paper, hands, “aye” according to the wishes of the Executive Board)

3. Board Election (project or pass out slate of nominees, made public in March)

       Executive Board

  1. Jim Ferris, Caucus President
  2. Sheila Black, Caucus Vice-Presiden
    Ellen McGrath Smith, Caucus Vice-President
  3. Kelly Davio, Caucus Secretary
  4. Jennifer Bartlett, Caucus Communications Coordinator

      Advisory Board

  1. Meg Day
  2. Mike Northen
  3. Jillian Weise
  1. Secretary should announce each nominee then ask for a vote (paper, hands, “aye” according to the wishes of the Executive Board)
  2. Congratulate the new Executive Board of 2016-2018

 4. Call for Panel Proposals for AWP 2017

  1. Call for Panel Proposals at 2017 AWP in Washington DC
  2. Call for reports on proposed panels from 2016 for purposes of archive & website.

IV. Discussion  [Jim Ferris, Caucus President elect]

  1. Open Agenda Contribution #1 – Call for a SubGroup on Literary Journals
    How can we encourage literary journals and publishers to view disability as part of diversity (and therefore make it a point to include it in their calls for diverse submissions, etc)?
  2. Open Agenda Contribution #2 – Call for a SubGroup on AWP Disability Guidelines
    Including but not limited to encouraging AWP to require panels to provide the accommodation materials (hard copies, large print, etc) or risk future panel eligibility
  3. Open Agenda Contribution #3 – Call for a SubGroup for Next Year’s AWP in DC
    How can we act now to begin planning readings & panels so that the submissions numbers for disability-related panels & readings are higher & harder to ignore?

V. Adjourn [Jim Ferris, Caucus President elect]