Writing the Midwest: A Symposium of Scholars and Writers

The Annual Symposium of the
Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature

Our 52nd year

June 2 – 4, 2022

Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, East Lansing, MI

Join us in East Lansing as we meet again to celebrate Midwestern literature, scholarship, and writing. Founded in 1971, the vision of the society is to “encourage and assist the study of Midwestern literature in whatever directions the insight, imagination, and curiosity of its members may lead.”

**Every intent is for this to be an in-person conference; however, we will be monitoring continued Covid-19 developments and make adjustments as necessary.**

Our Call for Papers can be found here. The deadline for submissions is January 1, 2022.

If you are proposing an INDIVIDUAL PAPER, please fill out this form.

If you are proposing a PANEL, please fill out this form.

If you are a STUDENT applying for a scholarship, please fill out this form.

Previously . . .

Programs from previous years’ conferences are available here.

The 2022 Mark Twain Award for Distinguished Contributions to Midwestern Literature will be awarded to Gerald Vizenor. 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.

The 2022 MidAmerica Award for Distinguished Contributions to Midwestern Literary Study will be awarded to Dr. Arnold Rampersad, Sara Hart Kimball Professor Emeritus in the Humanities at Stanford University. 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.


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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