Navigating AWP in a Wheelchair

Coronavirus Proves Accessibility in the Writing Community is Complicated

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Me, my wheelchair, and my crutch at AWP

Planning for AWP with an injury

As AWP drew closer, I didn’t give the event much thought. Then, in January, I fell and broke my knee.

When “All Hell Breaks Loose”: Coronavirus and AWP

Then, two days before the conference, AWP’s Twitter feed said they had a big announcement incoming.

  • Do I have immunocompromised people around me at risk?
  • Is there a risk of increasing the spread of the virus?
  • Will my university/organization allow me to travel now? Will they still fund my travel?
  • Can I afford to lose the money I’ve already put into this?
  • Can I get any of my travel money back?

Attending AWP with a Broken Knee

I was pleasantly surprised at how well-run the conference was as far as accessibility goes. When I got to the conference center I picked up my wheelchair easily near the front entrance and they had it ready (although not labeled for me, but I doubt anyone else would have taken it given its leg rest). It was really useful for getting around. Having my spouse attend and help me was a key point too. It was really helpful (and convenient that he’s a physical therapist!) The two accommodations AWP made for me were what I needed.

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I'm a writer, editor, and poet. Find me online at www.hlwalrath.com.

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