Welcome . . .

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

Celebrating 50 Years of SSML . . .

The 2021 Symposium will be held at the Newberry Library in Chicago. We will gather from May 20 – 22 to celebrate 50+ years and to honor both 2021 and 2020 award winners. Read more here.

Mark Twain Award for 2021 . . .

We are pleased to announce Rebecca Makkai as the recipient of the 2021 Mark Twain Award for Distinguished Contributions to Midwestern Literature. Makkai’s first novel, The Borrower (2011), begins in Mark Twain’s hometown of Hannibal, MO; her next two novels, The Hundred-Year House (2014) and The Great Believers (2018), move to her own hometown of Chicago. The Great Believers, her most recent, examines the AIDS crisis as it devastates the Midwest in the 1980s. It won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, the ALA Stonewall Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. The Chicago Review of Books predicted The Great Believers was “sure to become a classic Chicago novel.”

MidAmerica Award for 2021 . . .

We are pleased to announce that the 2021 MidAmerica Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Study of Midwestern Literature will be presented to Dr. James Shortridge, emeritus professor of geography at the University of Kansas. Shortridge is the author of numerous books and articles, particularly about Kansas and the Plains region. The Middle West: Its Meaning in American Culture (1989) won the John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize for the best book in American geography by the Association of American Geographers. It is canonical in Midwestern studies, still cited for its foundational perspective on the development of Midwestern identity and culture.

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Find more notices of recent publications, conferences, and calls for papers.

On Equity & Justice . . .

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

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