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The Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature

SSML encourages the study of Midwestern literature and culture in whatever directions the insight, imagination and curiosity of its members may lead.

2023 SSML Symposium

We look forward to the 2023 SSML Symposium, which will take place June 1-3, 2023, at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing, Michigan. A call for papers will be available in Fall 2022, and we will always keep things updated on our symposium page.

On Equity & Justice

Please read our commitment to racial equity and justice within SSML here.

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MidAmerica Award for 2022

We are pleased to announce that the 2022 MidAmerica Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Study of Midwestern Literature will be presented to Dr. Arnold Rampersad, Sara Hart Kimball Professor Emeritus in the Humanities at Stanford University.  Arnold Rampersad’s long and distinguished career as a biographer, editor, and critic has deeply informed our understanding of African American literature, particularly the life and work of two prominent Midwestern literary figures: Langston Hughes and Richard Wright.  His two-volume collection The Life of Langston Hughes (1986, 1988) is widely accepted as a core biography of the poet, and the second volume was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  Our understanding of African American life and literature, particularly in the Midwest, is richer for Rampersad’s scholarship, and as such, we find him well-deserving of the 2022 MidAmerica Award.

Mark Twain Award for 2022

We are pleased to announce Gerald Vizenor as the recipient of the 2021 Mark Twain Award for Distinguished Contributions to Midwestern Literature. Vizenor is a prolific author and critic and a member of the White Earth Nation of the Anishanaabeg in Minnesota.  The author of more than thirty books, his writing explores a multitude of genres and forms, much of it emerging from and exploring Midwestern landscapes and experiences. Vizenor’s great strength in contributing to our understanding of the region is his ability to recontextualize and complicate oversimplified and whitewashed versions of the Midwest. Scholar Bradley John Monsma notes, for example, that “The spatiality of his narratives suggests inventive yet historical understandings of the diversity of Native American relations to place.”  Vizenor does this throughout his corpus of work, and we honor his contributions to the literature and culture of the Midwest through the awarding of the 2022 Mark Twain Award.

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The Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature exists to support the study and dissemination of work in Midwestern literature, art, film, and scholarly study.

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