WLA Co-Presidents for 2017 will be Professors Susan Maher, University of Minnesota Duluth,
and Florence Amamoto, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN.
Minnesota, the “Star of the North” and the eastern edge of “the West,” is border country. It is the land of Manabozho and Nokomis, Paul Bunyan and his Babe, of Longfellow’s Hiawatha and Minnehaha, of Keillor’s Lake Woebegone and the Coen brothers’ Fargo. Here one finds the headwaters of the Mississippi, the international Boundary Waters, and the celebrated Guthrie Theater. Held at the Marriott City Center in downtown Minneapolis, the conference will allow participants to take advantage of the Twin Cities’ exciting theater, music, and food scenes.
Our conference’s theme grew from the short story collection Sweet Land by Minnesota writer Will Weaver (made into a movie in 2005) and Minnesota’s long heritage of nature and regional writing. The state is also known for its mythic figures and master storytellers, and the Twin Cities are a thriving theater center with an increasingly diverse ethnic population. For this reason we will present the Distinguished Achievement Award, for the first time, to a playwright, Rick Shiomi, also a director and the founder/artistic director of Theater Mu, one of the top Asian American theaters in the country.
We welcome proposals on any aspect of the literatures of the North American West, but we especially encourage panels and papers that explore the conference themes:
• Myth, storytelling and storytellers, broadly interpreted
• Nature writing and literature of place
• Plays, theater, performance
• Native American and other ethnic writers and writing
• Borders and border crossing
• Minnesota/Midwestern writers/literature
• Food writing
We are also open to sessions on teaching, workshops, and roundtable discussions. Submissions must include a 250-word abstract, name, affiliation, contact information, and A/V requests. Proposals for panels and roundtable discussions should include an abstract for each paper or presentation. Deadline: June 15, 2017. Please submit abstracts, proposals, or questions to Florence Amamoto or Susan Maher.
More information to come as it becomes available.