2020 Symposium in Chicago Cancelled

Cancellation of the 2020 SSML Symposium

It is with great regret that we are cancelling the 2020 SSML Symposium scheduled for May 14-16, 2020 at the Newberry Library in Chicago. The COVID-19 situation is making things far too uncertain, and we do not want to risk the health or safety of our participants and members by holding the Symposium.

We are hopeful that things will resolve enough in 2021 that we will be able to once again meet as a community to both celebrate the history of SSML and to share our scholarship and creativity. As many of us were excited about the Chicago location this year and the fun events that were planned, we are currently in the process of solidifying dates with the Newberry Library for May 2021. Although we will be one year on from our 50th anniversary at that point, we will still use the location and 2021 Symposium as an opportunity to celebrate moving into our next fifty years. We hope folks will either save their current work for us to enjoy at that future date or perhaps have new creations that they will be excited to share with others. We will announce those 2021 plans as they develop.

We understand that financial times are tight for many, and we will honor all refund requests. For individuals who may be more financially stable right now, we also have the ability either to roll an individual’s conference registration over to 2021 or to turn it into a donation to SSML (we are a 501c3 under federal tax law). We will be contacting paid conference participants to address which options you prefer, or you can make a request to ssmlmidwestlit@gmail.com.

When making a request, please let us know which of the following options you prefer:

  1. Full refund of all money paid to the organization (registration, banquet if applicable, and membership).
  2. A refund of ONLY conference registration and/or banquet (leaving your 2020 membership intact).
  3. Rolling your registration and/or banquet payment over to 2021 and leaving your 2020 membership intact.
  4. Turning any payment you may have made beyond membership into a tax deductible donation to SSML (we can provide recognition of that donation for your tax paperwork).

We will honor requests as quickly as we can, but as we’re an entirely volunteer run organization with no dedicated full-time staff, it may take a few days to get everything processed.

For folks who may wonder about some of the procedural details that usually take place at our annual symposium, we will not be awarding any of our prizes this year because prizes are for work presented at the Symposium. We will still be awarding the 2020 Mark Twain and MidAmerica Awards and the 2020 David D. Anderson Award for Outstanding Essay in Midwestern Literary Studies; however, clearly we will not be able to celebrate those individuals until 2021 (alongside our 2021 winners). The terms of those serving in our presidential line and on our executive advisory board which are due to expire will be extended for one year because of these extraordinary circumstances. We will vote in new board members and a new individual to the presidential line in 2021.

Thank you so much for your patience and understanding during these difficult and strange circumstances. We look forward with hope to seeing all of you in 2021 and celebrating our collective creativity, accomplishments, and friendship at that time. If you have any questions or concerns before that, please don’t hesitate to reach out at ssmlmidwestlit@gmail.com. Stay safe, friends.

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