Each year we hold an Annual Conference in a major city of North America, with plenary panels and seminars covering a wide range of literary topics, and, often, presentations in film, music, and theatre. From our first conference (held in Minneapolis in 1995) to our most recent, we have celebrated the art of literature and encouraged the work of scholars, critics, and writers.
ALSCW annual conferences differ from many literary organizations’ in significant ways. Participants are urged to keep their presentations jargon free and accessible to those not working in their fields. People attending but not giving formal presentations are encouraged to actively participate in discussions. Our annual conferences are, in fact, designed to promote an ongoing conversation about literature and the arts. We try to make sure nothing is rushed. Plenary panels and seminars each run for two hours and offer ample opportunity for discussion. Participants move back and forth from seminars (four at a time) to plenary sessions (one at a time) to social gatherings, performances, and readings in the evening. The goal is to provide space for a constant cross pollination of materials, ideas, and personalities. We feel there’s great benefit to exchanges between well informed people who may not share a specialization. We are proud to have a very distinguished membership and part of our tradition involves mentoring younger members.
Scholars and critics who have presented include Sharon Achinstein, Mark Bauerlein, Russell Berman, Marie Borroff, David Bromwich, Jenny Clay, Stephen Cushman, James Engell, Philip Gould, Justina Gregory, Amy Hungerford, Frank Kermode, Bernard Knox, John Leonard, Herbert Marks, Giuseppe Mazzotta, Ferdinand Mount, Deborah Epstein Nord, Stephen Orgel, James Wood, and Ruth Bernard Yeazzell.
Writers who have spoken at our conferences include Margaret Atwood, John Barth, Michael Collier, Stuart Dybek, Robert Fagles, Dana Gioia, Anthony Hecht, John Hollander, Jhumpa Lahiri, Brad Leithauser, Norman Mailer, Dow Mossman, Paul Muldoon, Sigrid Nunez, Joyce Carol Oates, Tim Parks, Francine Prose, Carl Phillips, Robert Pinsky, A.E. Stallings, Rosanna Warren, C.K. Williams, and Tom Wolfe.
View photos from past conferences below