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    The resolute but congenial atmosphere of the WLA has set the tone for my approach to teaching and scholarship, and established my regard for active service to my institution and the profession.
    William V. Lombardi
    Assistant Professor, Missouri Valley College (Grad student rep 2012-2014)

WLA Conference 2019

54th WLA Conference

Estes Park, Colorado
Sept. 18-21, 2019

THEME: Not Cloudy All Day: Climates of Change in the American West

Alex HuntThe 2019 Conference will be co-hosted by Professors  Alex Hunt (West Texas A&M) and SueEllen Campbell (Colorado State University). 

SueEllen Campbell








Not Cloudy All Day: Climates of Change in the American West

The 2019 annual conference of the Western Literature Association will take place September 18-21 at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado. 

Our location in the high Colorado mountains at the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park is a majestic landscape claimed by Arapaho and Ute tribes, US expansionists, British nobility, millions of visitors (44.4 million in 2017), and the federal government, notably the National Park Service. It is a fitting place to think about changes sweeping the West, especially the material and cultural effects of climate change (and the often unrecognized importance of weather and climate) and changing attitudes and policies concerning public lands.

Our Distinguished Achievement Award winner is Leslie Marmon Silko. We will be joined by a number of excellent Colorado authors and activists.

We welcome proposals on any aspect of the literatures (broadly conceived) of the North American West. We especially encourage panels, papers, and “structured conversations”* that explore the following topics as they apply to these literatures:

• The likely effects of a changing climate (and weather) on the lands, peoples, and cultures of the American West

• Defeat, resilience, denial, unrealistic and realistic hope, and other emotional literary and cultural responses to changes in climate (e.g., in Dust Bowl literatures)—or to other basic shifts in material realities

• Public lands, especially those maintained by the National Park System

• Environmental history and its relations to literature and other cultural expressions

• The varying abilities of different genres to deal with such topics: YA fiction, speculative vs realistic fiction, experimental eco-poetics/poetry vs traditional poetic forms, film, social media, visual arts, feature journalism, personal nonfiction literature, and so on

• The work of Distinguished Achievement Award Winner Leslie Marmon Silko

Proposals for panels and roundtable discussions should include an abstract for each paper or presentation. *For the experimental “structured conversations,” which we envision as collaborative discussions driven by one-page “prompts” by 3-4 participants on a focused topic directly related to the conference theme, please submit a short description of your topic and the primary questions/ideas to be posed/proposed by your leading participants.

Please note: Due to the earlier-than-usual conference date, the deadline for submissions is May 20, 2019. Please submit questions to Alex Hunt or SueEllen Campbell at wlaconference2019@westernlit.org.

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  • 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.

  • Western American Literature (WAL)

    (The Journal)

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