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.

Please note that participation in the Writers Museum event is limited to people who register by March 15, and that there will be no refunds after April 1.

To register for the Symposium, use your credit card or PayPal at our secure online store. You will be taken to a different website and a new browser window will open. After you choose the appropriate membership category, click the cart button to the left.

If you want to register by paying with a check, please download and print this form, follow the directions for sending it by snail mail.

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.

Raffaelo Hotel, 201 East Delaware Place, Chicago, IL 60611 (about 5-6 blocks from the Newberry)
Our contract is for king rooms only. $154/night (does not include taxes). The online booking link:
The Raffaelo requires a deposit of $180.80 at the time of booking (applied to the eventual billing rate for one night). The deadline for receiving a refund on your deposit is May 10, 2020. The deadline for reserving rooms at the Raffaello is Monday, April 13, 2020.


Talbott Hotel, 20 East Delaware Place, Chicago, IL 60611 (about 2-3 blocks from the Newberry)
There are double queen rooms for $259/night and king rooms for $249/night (neither includes taxes).  Mention SSML. The online booking link: The deadline for booking rooms at the Talbott is Friday, March 13, 2020.

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.

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