David D. Anderson Award

The David D. Anderson Award for Outstanding Essay in Midwestern Literary Studies recognizes a scholarly article that makes a substantial contribution to exploring ideas, authors, and places related to Midwestern literature. The awardee wins a $1,000 prize and gives a plenary talk at the SSML Symposium.


Any critical essay of at least 3,000 words that was first published in the previous year in a peer-reviewed periodical or edited book collection. Essays published in MidAmerica or Midwestern Miscellany are not eligible, although publications by SSML members in other peer-reviewed journals or edited collections may be nominated.


Submit essays using this nomination form. Nominations are preferred by November 30, but will be accepted until December 31 of each year.

Questions? Please contact award coordinator Andy Oler at andy.oler [at] erau [dot] edu.

Short list for the 2020 Award
Dr. Terrion Williamson, associate professor of African American and African Studies at the University of Minnesota, served as guest judge. Dr. Williamson is founder and director of the Black Midwest Initiative and author of Scandalize My Name: Black Feminist Practice and the Making of Black Social Life (Fordham, 2017). Her writing has also appeared in Souls, Belt Magazine, and the Michigan Journal of Race and Law. The prize committee selected this shortlist from a diverse field of nominated articles studying drama, poetry, fiction, and nonfiction from all over the Midwest and from the 19th century to the 21st. The winner will be announced in February.

Joseph Darda, “The Thin White Line: Veterans and the White Racial Politics of Creative Writing.” American Literature, vol. 91, no. 4, 2019, pp. 783-810.

Douglas Dowland, “The Politics of Resentment in J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language, vol. 61, no. 2, 2019, pp. 116-140.

Laura Fine, “Sexual Violence and Cultural Crime in the Country Noir Fiction of Bonnie Jo Campbell.” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, vol. 60, no. 5, 2019, pp. 515-526.

Evelyn Funda, “‘New World’ Visions and Homegrown Art: National Authenticity in Works of Willa Cather and Antonín Dvořák.” MFS Modern Fiction Studies, vol. 65, no. 2, 2019, pp. 264-284.

Jo Gill, “Gwendolyn Brooks and the Legacies of Architectural Modernity.” Humanities, vol. 8, no. 4, 2019.

Amy Lewis, “Who’ll Speak for Malinda?: Alternate Narratives of Freedom in The Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb.” African American Review, vol. 52, no. 3, 2019, pp. 255-276.

Christopher Lewis, “Mama’s Boys and Mothering Men: Dunbar’s Deviant Masculinities.” College Literature, vol. 46, no. 2, 2019, pp. 311-342.

Naomi Miyazawa, “Photography, Unconscious Optics, and Observation in Capote’s In Cold Blood.” Arizona Quarterly, vol. 75, no. 2, 2019, pp. 37-54.

Robert Dale Parker, “How to Make a Queer: The Erotics of Begging; or, Down and Out in the Great Depression.” American Literature, vol. 91, no. 1, 2019, pp. 91-119.

Vanessa Steinroetter, “Unsettling Landscapes: Prairie Madness and EcoGothic Themes in US Plains Literature.” Great Plains Quarterly, vol. 39, no. 3, 2019, pp. 291-310.

Mary Unger, “The Book Circle: Black Women Readers and Middlebrow Taste in Chicago, 1943-1953.” Reception, vol. 11, no. 1, 2019, pp. 8-20.

Previous winners of the award


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