May 14 – 16, 2020
Celebrating 50 Years of
Writing the Midwest:
A Symposium of Scholars and Writers
The Newberry Library
60 W. Walton St.
Chicago, IL 60610
We are honored and thrilled to be celebrating 50 years of SSML at a prestigious institution in a world-class Midwestern city. You can find the call for proposals here.
To propose an individual paper or reading, go to this form.
To propose a panel, and serve as the primary contact and organizer, use this form.
If you are a student, and are requesting a travel award, you must fill out this form at the same time as you make a paper or panel proposal.
A different schedule this year . . .
Unlike our traditional symposiums in East Lansing, and because the Society is growing, this year in Chicago we will need to hold sessions all day (8 AM to 5 PM) on each day, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Evening events will be off-site. Please make travel arrangements accordingly.
Housing info . . .
We have reserved blocks of rooms at two hotels close by. Room availability is limited, so book early if you want to secure a spot at one of these hotels at these rates.
The 2020 Mark Twain Award for outstanding contributions to Midwestern literature will be presented to Marilynne Robinson in May. Robinson has written four highly acclaimed novels: Housekeeping (1980), Gilead (2004), Home (2008), and Lila (2014). Gilead was awarded the 2005 Pulitzer. She has also received the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, the National Book Critics Circle award for Fiction, a National Humanities Medal, and the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. Robinson was named in Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people. Her numerous articles, essays, and reviews can be found in Harper’s, The Paris Review, and The New York Review of Books, which includes a two-part conversation between Robinson and former President Barack Obama.
We’re also pleased to announce that Dr. Liesl Olson, director of Chicago Studies at the Newberry Library, has won the 2020 MidAmerica Award for distinguished dontributions 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). Olson has led several seminars sponsored by the NEH focused on Chicago art, literature, and culture.
Previously . . .
Programs from previous years’ conferences are available here.