Welcome . . .

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

CANCELLED: Celebrating 50 Years of SSML . . .

Unfortunately, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone at this point, the 2020 Symposium at the Newberry Library in Chicago has been cancelled. We will gather again in 2021, in Chicago, to celebrate 50+ years and honor the 2020 award winners. Read more here.

Mark Twain Award for 2020 . . .

Marilynne Robinson has been chosen to receive the Mark Twain Award for outstanding contributions to Midwestern literature. Robinson has written four highly acclaimed novels: Housekeeping (1980), Gilead (2004), Home (2008), and Lila (2014). Housekeeping was a finalist for the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (US), Gilead was awarded the 2005 Pulitzer, and Home received the 2009 Orange Prize for Fiction (UK). She has also received the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award (1981), the National Book Critics Circle award for Fiction (2004, 2014), a National Humanities Medal (2012, and the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction (2016). She taught at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop for 20 years and makes her home in Iowa City.

MidAmerica Award for 2020 . . .

Dr. Liesl Olson, director of Chicago Studies at the Newberry Library, has been chosen to receive the 2020 MidAmerica Award for distinguished contributions to the scholarship and study of Midwestern literature. Among her many scholarly contributions, Olson is author of Chicago Renaissance: Literature and Art in the Midwest Metropolis (Yale UP, 2017). It earned a starred Kirkus Review, which noted the book was “a valuable, perspective-shifting work of both cultural and Midwestern history.” Olson has led several seminars sponsored by the NEH focused on Chicago art, literature, and culture. These seminars have contributed to the careers of many scholars and helped shape scholarship on Chicago and the Midwest. She was nominated by several members of SSML, with endorsement by many of her former NEH seminar participants.

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