David D. Anderson Award

The David D. Anderson Award for Outstanding Essay in Midwestern Literary Studies recognizes a scholarly article that makes a substantial contribution to exploring ideas, authors, and places related to Midwestern literature. The awardee wins a $1,000 prize and gives a plenary talk at the SSML Symposium.


Any critical essay of at least 3,000 words that was first published in the previous year in a peer-reviewed periodical or edited book collection. Essays published in MidAmerica or Midwestern Miscellany are not eligible, although publications by SSML members in other peer-reviewed journals or edited collections may be nominated.


Nominations are preferred by November 30, but will be accepted until December 31 of each year.

Questions? Please contact award coordinator William Barillas barillaswilliam@hotmail.com

2022 Award Winner 

Nathaniel Mills, “Aggravated into Writing: Margaret Walker, Iowa, and the Workshopping of African American Literature.” American Quarterly, vol. 73, no. 2, 2021, pp. 233-259.   

2022 Honorable Mention Essays

T. Austin Graham, “The Unacknowledged War:’ Dunbar’s History of White Revisionism.” American Literature, vol. 93, no. 1, 2021, pp. 59–85.   

Olga L. Herrera, “Across Neighborhood and National Boundaries: Ana Castillo, Sandra Cisneros, and Mexican Chicago.” Chicago: A Literary History. Ed. Frederik Byrn Køhlert. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2021, pp. 387-399.

Previous winners of the award


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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