2021 Virtual Events

Thanks for attending our virtual events!

In lieu of our annual symposium, we held a series of virtual events to celebrate our talented members, pay homage to our history, and honor some of our award winners.

June 14th (8:00-9:00 p.m. Eastern)
Celebrating Mark Twain Award Winners Marilynne Robinson and Rebecca Makkai

Marilynne Robinson and Rebecca Makkai, winners of the 2020 and 2021 Mark Twain Award for Distinguished Contributions to Midwestern Literature, in conversation with Phil Christman, author of Midwest Futures.

June 9th (8:00-9:00 p.m. Eastern)
Past Mark Twain Award Winners

Celebrating 50 years of SSML with a conversation about writing and the Midwest from past winners of the Mark Twain Award for Distinguished Contributions to Midwestern Writing.


Michael Martone
Bonnie Jo Campbell
Stuart Dybek
Sandra Seaton

June 3rd (8:00-9:30 p.m. Eastern)
Making Modernism: Liesl Olson’s Influence on New Chicago Scholarship

A panel recognizing the contributions of Liesl Olson, winner of the 2020 MidAmerica Award for Distinguished Contributions to Midwestern Literary Study

Panelists include:

“Teaching Chicago Studies at a Small Liberal Arts College,” Jennifer J. Smith, North Central College

“Modeling the Concept of a Large-Scale Project,” Nathan Cadle, Florida International University

“Chicago Chicanx Literature,” Olga Herrera, University of St. Thomas

“Great Lakes Modernism: Chicago Meets Buffalo,” Shannon McRae, SUNY Fredonia

“1895, Proto-Modernism Among Chicago Publishers,” Craig Saper, University of Maryland Baltimore County

May 26th (8:00-9:00 p.m. Eastern)
David D. Anderson Award Winners Meg Gillette and Mary Unger

Research talks by the 2020 and 2021 winners of the David D. Anderson Award for Outstanding Essay in Midwestern Literary Studies, followed by Q&A


May 12th (8:00-9:30 p.m. Eastern)
SSML Open-Mic Night

Several SSML members share their creative works. (Limited to current SSML members only.)

Readers included:

  • Olivia Kingery
  • Linda Nemec Foster
  • David Radavich
  • Carla Barger
  • Jan Maher
  • Michele Willman

April 26th, 8:00-9:30 p.m. (Eastern)
Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks 

Four repeat winners of SSML’s Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize reading from their prize-winning poems, from other poems, and from Brooks’ own work.

Moderator: Marcia Noe, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

John Beall, former faculty, Collegiate School, New York
Mary Catherine Harper, Defiance College
Mary Minock, Madonna University
Edward Morin, College for Creative Studies


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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