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WLA Conference 2014

49th WLA Conference – “Border Songs”

Date: November 5-8, 2014


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Laurie RicouAnneKaufman

WLA Co-Presidents for 2014 are Laurie Ricou (left) and Anne Kaufman (right).


CONFERENCE REGISTRATION is now OPEN. This LINK will take you to the University of Victoria registration page. Please email wlaconference14@gmail.com if you are having trouble with your registration.


The Department of English at the University of Victoria will be the host institution for the Western Literature Association’s annual conference in 2014. The WLA returns to Canada remembering two very successful past Canadian meetings (Vancouver 1995; Banff 1998).

The 49th Annual Meeting of the Western Literature Association will be held just south of the 49th parallel, returning to Canada for the first time since 1998. The conference will take place at the Fairmont Empress Hotel (booking link: https://aws.passkey.com/event/10813168/owner/27337/home) in downtown Victoria, BC (Conference rate: Can$149). To highlight a conference site from which two countries, and the homelands of several nations, are visible, we have taken our title theme from Washington State writer Jim Lynch‘s novel Border Songs. Singer-songwriter Connie Kaldor’s concert will be a highlight.

In addition to proposals on any aspect of the literatures of the North American West, we encourage panels and papers that cross disciplines and/or explore dimensions of the conference theme, singing borders and bordering on song:

border crossings broadly interpreted
first nations/Native American song, story, and writing
songs in, and musical settings of, western writing
the singer/songwriter, the cowgirl/cowboy poet, the storyteller
poetry, stories, creative non-fiction with musical accompaniment

We are open to session proposals focused on storytelling and teaching, to workshops and round table discussions, and to other sessions that stretch conventional academic formats. Deadline: June 15, 2014. Please submit abstracts, proposals, or questions to Anne Kaufman and Laurie Ricou at WLAconference14@gmail.com.

Graduate Students: awards and funding opportunities are available to support your WLA paper presentations. See  http://www.westernlit.org/students-attending-the-wla-conference/

From our conference hotel, at least on a clear day, both Canada and the United  States are visible. To highlight this unique conjunction we have borrowed for the Conference’s theme, the title of Olympia, Washington, writer Jim Lynch‘s perceptive and amusing novel Border Songs. We hope to present the Distinguished Achievement Award, for the first time, to a singer-songwriter, Connie Kaldor.

In addition we have invited Connie Kaldor to give a concert at the Bordersongs meeting.  Kaldor is a folk singer currently living in Montreal but whose literal and imaginative home is the western prairie. She is a prolific songwriter in a wide range of forms: ballads, histories, children’s songs, blues laments, love songs, work songs, burlesque and lullaby. Much of her work is feminist and politically activist.

Download the Call for Papers!


  • Western Literature Association (WLA)

    Founded in 1965, the Western Literature Association (WLA) is a non-profit, scholarly association that promotes the study of the diverse literature and cultures of the North American West, past and present.

    Conference Proposals

  • Western American Literature (WAL)

    (The Journal)

    Published by the Western Literature Association, Western American Literature is the leading journal in western American literary studies.

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