The Dorys Crow Grover Awards

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    I can't overstate the importance of WLA to my career. I felt so welcomed as a graduate student that WLA has become my intellectual home.
    Nancy Cook, 2007
    Taylor Award recipient 1988, repeat EC Member, WLA President 2011, and Treasurer since 2014

Archive for the ‘WLA Awards’ Category

The Dorys Crow Grover Awards

Friday, June 12th, 2015

In 1966, Washington State University graduate student Dorys Crow Grover joined the fledgling Western Literature Association and started attending its conferences. From her books on WLA’s first Distinguished Achievement Award recipient, Vardis Fisher, to her work on Hemingway and Graves, Professor Grover helped to develop the field of western American literary studies. After teaching for over two decades at East Texas State University, Professor Grover retired in 1993, splitting her time between Texas and Pendleton, Oregon, where she grew up.

One of her doctoral students, Joyce Kinkead, Professor of English at Utah State University, created the Dorys Crow Grover Awards in recognition of her mentor’s dedication to both western American literature and to graduate students. She funded two awards until Dr. Grover’s passing at 101 in 2023.

The WLA is happy to announce the continuation of the Dorys Crow Grover Awards, with support from the WLA and Nic Witschi.

Two graduate students whose papers given at the conference contribute to our critical understandings of region, place, and space in western American literatures will receive a $200 cash prize and a conference banquet ticket.

Creative work is not considered for the Dorys Crow Grover Awards.

Please submit an essay (not exceeding 15 pages) that you plan to deliver at the conference with a cover letter indicating that you wish to be considered for the Dorys Crow Grover Award. 

Email your submission to Bill Handley, chair of the Dorys Crow Grover Judging Committee, with the subject line “GROVER AWARD SUBMISSION.”

Deadline for submission: August 1, 2023.

The award consists of a $200 cash prize plus a banquet ticket.

You may submit the same paper for the Taylor Award, if you wish.

Note: To be eligible for this award, you must be registered as a graduate student at your institution at the time of the awards ceremony. And the award can only be received once. 

The Dorys Grover Award Recipients

2022Dylan Couch, University of Idaho
2022Cara Schwartz, University of Saskatchewan
2021Sarah Jane Kerwin, University of Michigan—Ann Arbor
2020Sarah Nolan, University of Southern California
2020Renee Sprinkle, West Texas A&M University
2019Maria Alberto, University of Utah
2019Travis Franks, Arizona State University
2018Meagan Meylor, University of Southern California
2018Amanda Monteleone, University of Texas at Arlington
2017April Anson
2017Lisa Fink
2016Amy Gore
2016Michael Olausen
2015William V. Lombardi
2015Michael P. Taylor
2014Brittany Henry
2014Lisa Locascio
2014Ashley Reis


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WLA/Charles Redd Center K-12 Teaching Awards

Monday, April 6th, 2015

WLA/Charles Redd Center K-12 Teaching Awards

Note: This award will be given in 2023.

Most years, the Western Literature Association and the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies are sponsoring up to two K-12 Teaching Awards that will provide teachers with the opportunity to attend and present at the Western Literature Association Annual Meeting.

The prize then includes conference registration, an award banquet ticket, a WLA membership, and $700 cash toward conference related costs such as hotel and airfare. Prize winners must attend the WLA conference and present on the WLA/Redd Center K-12 Educator Prize panel on Saturday. Continuing Education credit may be available. Please check with your district’s professional development office.


Required application materials

•    Resumé
•    Instructional Plan (K-12, any level)
•    Teaching Statement (how the Instructional Plan contributes to your teaching goals)
•    One letter of support (from principal, administrator, or colleague)


Instructional plans

Instructional plans may focus on any author or theme related to the literature of the American West, broadly defined. We encourage teachers to submit their new and existing teaching ideas. The following topics and approaches are encouraged:

•    Women writers of the American West
•    American Indian authors
•    Latina/o authors
•    Creative slants to teaching the “canonical” authors of the American West
•    Interdisciplinary teaching plans as well as approaches to teaching drama of and about the American West
•    Environmental Writing
•    Instructional plans that integrate the conference theme, “Home on the Rez

Instructional Plans should be based on a focused 2-4-week unit on a specific theme, author, work of literature, etc. You do not need to include daily lesson plans, but you may submit supplemental discussion questions, assignment sheets, etc. The provided instructional plan format is very flexible and just a guideline. You are welcome to develop a format and structure that applies to your teaching and classroom context and grade level.

Award details, including the instructional plan format and scoring rubric, can be downloaded by clicking on the links.

All applicants for the prize will be sent a written release that allows the WLA and the Charles Redd Center to post your lesson plans on their websites and to possibly include your lesson plans in other publications. Your work will remain your own and you will be given appropriate citation and credit in any digital or print reproductions of your work. The release must be signed and returned for you to be eligible to win the prize.


Interested in viewing the winning instructional plans of previous years?


Katharine Amber Anthony, Palo Duro High School, Amarillo Independent School District, TX, “Establishing Roots: Place-Based Learning in a Multicultural, Title I High School”


Nathan Parker, Holland Hall School, Tulsa, OK, “Teaching Plains Writer Susan Glaspell’s ‘A Jury of Her Peers’”


Jennifer Kawecki and Hakan Armagan, Burke High School, Omaha, NE, “My Land, Our Land: Exploring the Ethics of Energy Policy, Consumption, and Sustainability Using Aldo Leopold’s ‘The Land Ethic’,” a cooperative effort by an English and a physics teacher.


Hali Kirby, Gardiner Public Schools, Gardiner, MT, “‘Letters from Yellowstone’: Stories of Women Scientists in Yellowstone National Park”


Tom McGuire, Santa Cruz Catholic School, Austin, TX, “The Forgotten Role of Native Americans in the Texas Revolution”

Jamie Crosswhite, Canyon High School, Canyon, TX, “Identity through Place”

Cheryl Hughes, Sentinel High School, Missoula, MT, “Using Service Learning and Oral History Projects to Teach Indian Creek Chronicles by Pete Fromm”


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Western Literature Association Awards

Monday, June 14th, 2010


Distinguished Achievement Award: for an influential scholar in the field of western American literature (creative writer or critic)

Delbert and Edith Wylder Award: for exceptional service to the Western Literature Association by a longtime member

Thomas J. Lyon Book Award: named after a former editor of Western American Literature, this award goes to an outstanding monograph in western literary or cultural studies

Don D. Walker Prize: given to the best journal essay or book chapter from an edited collection in Western North American literary and cultural studies, published during the previous year

J. Golden Taylor Award: named after the first editor of Western American Literature, this award goes to the graduate student who submitted the best paper to the annual conference

Dorys Crow Grover Award: given to a graduate student who submits an outstanding paper that meets the criteria of the current year’s conference

Creative Writing Award: this award goes to the best creative writing submission at the annual conference

Susan J. Rosowski Award: named after a longtime WLA member, this award goes to a generous and caring mentor and teacher in the field of western American literary studies

Louis Owens Awards: provide financial support for diverse and international graduate students to attend the annual WLA conference

WLA/Charles Redd Center K–12 Teaching Award: provides teachers with the opportunity to attend and present at the WLA Conference; sponsored by the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies and the WLA

Composition of Award Committees


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WLA’s Distinguished Achievement Award

Monday, June 14th, 2010


The WLA’s Distinguished Achievement Award Recipients

2022Luci Tapahonso
2021No award was given due to rescheduling of the conference to 2022.
2020Juan Felipe Herrera
2020Stephen Graham Jones
2019Leslie Marmon Silko
2018Percival Everett & José E. Limón
2017Rick Shiomi
2016Maxine Hong Kingston
2015LeAnne Howe & Robert Laxalt
2014Connie Kaldor
2013Robert Hass & Louis Owens
2012Richard Slotkin & Joss Whedon
2011Thomas McGuane
2010Luis Valdez
2009Cormac McCarthy
2008William Kittredge and Patty Limerick
2007 Sherman Alexie
2006Terry Tempest Williams
2005Gerald Vizenor and Joan Didion
2004Mary Clearman Blew and Thomas King
2003Sandra Cisneros and José David Saldívar, Ramón Saldívar, and Sonia Saldívar-Hull
2002Annette Kolodny and Alberto A. Ríos
2001Patricia Hampl and Roderick Nash
2000Joy Harjo
1999James D. Houston and Gerald Haslam
1998Rudy Wiebe
1997Rudolfo Anaya
1996Tillie Olsen
1995Robert Kroetsch
1994James Maguire, Wayne Chatterton, and James Welch
1993Tony Hillerman
1992Louise Erdrich
1991Ann Zwinger
1990Elmer Kelton
1989Ivan Doig and Mildred R. Bennett
1988Ken Kesey and Max Westbrook
1987Larry McMurtry and Thomas J. Lyon
1986 Benjamin Capps and Don D. Walker
1985Américo Paredes and William Eastlake
1984Gary Snyder
1983N. Scott Momaday
1982 Thomas Hornsby Ferril
1981Dorothy Johnson
1980Sophus Keith Winther and Bernice Slote
1979Wright Morris
1978Edward Abbey
1977Thomas McGrath
1976William Stafford
1975Jack Schaefer
1974Wallace Stegner and J. Golden Taylor
1973Paul Horgan
1972A. B. Guthrie, Jr.
1971Harvey Fergusson and John G. Neihardt
1970Henry Nash Smith
1969Walter Van Tilburg Clark
1968Frank Waters
1967Frederick Manfred
1966Vardis Fisher

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WLA’s Delbert and Edith Wylder Award for Exceptional Service to the WLA

Monday, June 14th, 2010


Instituted in 1993 and named for a WLA president and two founding members of the association, this award goes to a longtime WLA member for exceptional contributions to the association.

Delbert Wylder was not just a WLA president and founding member of the WLA, but a lifelong contributor to all things WLA, who kept in touch personally with many of the early members. At his memorial, he was described as follows: “Family, friends, books, and wine: these were the four elements of Delbert Wylder. Put them together and you get The Quintessential Deb, a charming, occasionally eccentric combination of humor, warmth, and high spirits.” Deb Wylder himself described his wife, Edith, as “such a pleasure to live with every day” (communication with Dorys Grover, 2000).

In order to nominate someone for the Wylder award, please collaborate with WLA colleagues and solicit at least three detailed letters of support, from students, WLA members, or anyone else who seems appropriate. They can be submitted together or separately to the WLA Awards Coordinator/s. The Awards Coordinator/s will submit the nominations to the Past Presidents and current presidential line, who will make the decision.

Members who have previously won the award will not be considered for a second nomination.

Please send nominations to our Awards Coordinator, Anne Kaufman.

Recipients of the Delbert and Edith Wylder Award for Exceptional Service to the WLA

2022Krista Comer
2021Due to covid-related rescheduling of the 2021 conference, no award was given.
2020Nicolas S. Witschi
2019Susan Kollin
2018Tom Lynch
2017Sara Spurgeon
2016Susan Naramore Maher
2015Nancy S. Cook
2014William R. Handley
2013Melody Graulich
2012Susanne George Bloomfield
2011Ann Putnam
2010Judy Nolte Temple
2009Charles Crow
2008Martin Bucco
2007 Laurie Ricou
2006Phyllis Doughman
2005Gerald Haslam
2004Melody Graulich
2003Robert Thacker
2002Stephen Tatum
2001Susan J. Rosowski
2000James C. Work
1999Ann Ronald
1998Barbara Meldrum
1997Jim Maguire
1996Thomas J. Lyon
1995Glen A. Love
1994George F. Day
1993Helen Stauffer

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Thomas J. Lyon Book Award in Western American Literary and Cultural Studies

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Fifty-seven years after the founding of the Western Literature Association and Western American Literature, scholarship of the literary West is thriving in both quantity and quality. To honor outstanding, single-author scholarly books on the literature and culture of the American West, the Western Literature Association seeks nominations for the annual Thomas J. Lyon Book Award.


* have a 2022 publication date
* be an outstanding, single-author, book-length study on the literature and culture of the American West

The past presidents of the Western Literature Association sponsor this award and invite you TO NOMINATE A BOOK FOR THIS AWARD.

Readers who want to nominate a book can submit a statement of support to Anne Kaufman by June 1, 2023.

Self-nominating authors and presses, please send books directly to the committee members by June 15: 

Susan Bernardin, Chair
TJLyon Book Award 2023
3035 NW McKinley Drive
Corvallis OR 97330

Jada Ach
TJLyon Award 2023
639 S. 35th Pl.
Mesa AZ 85204

Travis Franks
TJLyon Award 2023
Department of English
3200 Old Main Hill
Logan UT 84322-3200

Nominations are due by June 1, 2023

Please contact Anne Kaufman for any questions you might have regarding this award.


The WLA’s Thomas J. Lyon Book Award in Western American Literary and Cultural Studies Recipients

2022Audrey GoodmanA Planetary Lens: The Photo-Poetics of Western Women’s Writing
2021Susan NanceRodeo: An Animal History
2020Cathryn HalversonFaraway Women and the Atlantic Monthly
2019Kirby BrownStoking the Fire: Nationhood in Cherokee Writing, 1907–1970
2018Richard EtulainErnest Haycox and the Western
2017Priscilla Solis YbarraWriting the Goodlife: Mexican American Literature and the Environment
2016Susan KollinCaptivating Westerns
2015Lisa TatonettiThe Queerness of Native American Literature
2014Christine BoldThe Frontier Club: Popular Westerns and Cultural Power, 1880-1924
2013Annette KolodnyIn Search of First Contact: The Vikings of Vinland, the Peoples of the Dawnland, and the Anglo-American Anxiety of Discovery
2012Daniel WordenMasculine Style: The American West and Literary Modernism
2011Krista ComerSurfer Girls in the New World Order
2010John BeckDirty Wars: Landscape, Power, and Waste in Western American Literature
2009Tom LynchXerophelia: Ecocritical Explorations in Southwestern Literature
2008Robert McKee IrwinBandits, Captives, Heroines, and Saints: Cultural Icons of Mexico's Northwest Borderlands
2007 John-Michael RiveraThe Emergence of Mexican America: Recovering Stories of Mexican Peoplehood in US Culture
2006David Dorado RomoRingside Seat to a Revolution: An Underground Cultural History of El Paso and Juárez 1893-1923
2005Stephanie LeMenagerManifest and Other Destinies: Territorial Fictions of the Nineteenth-Century United States (University of Nebraska Press, 2004)
2004Nathaniel LewisUnsettling the Literary West: Authenticity and Authorship (University of Nebraska Press, 2003)
2003Audrey GoodmanTranslating Southwestern Landscapes: The Making of an Anglo Literary Region (University of Arizona Press, 2002)
2002James M. CahalanEdward Abbey: A Life (University of Arizona Press, 2001)
2001Gary ScharnhorstBret Harte: Opening the American Literary West (University of Oklahoma Press, 2000)
2000Susan RosowskiBirthing a Nation: Gender, Creativity, and the West in American Literature (University of Nebraska Press, 1999)
1999Thomas PilkingtonState of Mind: Texas Literature and Culture (Texas A&M University Press, 1998)
1998Andrew ElkinsThe Great Poem of the Earth: A Study of the Poetry of Thomas Hornsby Ferril (University of Idaho Press, 1997)

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Don D. Walker Prize

Monday, June 14th, 2010

The Don D. Walker Prize is given annually to the best journal essay or book chapter from an edited collection in Western North American literary and cultural studies, published during the previous calendar year (for example, the 2023 winner’s essay will have a publication date of 2022). “Western” in this context is defined broadly and refers to all of North America that historically or critically has been considered “West” as well as to comparative studies of the American West that cross regional or national boundaries.

Nominations are solicited from presses and journals, as well as from individuals. Self-nominations are accepted. The prize selection committee is made up of Western Literature Association members.

The award will be given at the annual Western Literature Association conference. 

It is not necessary to be a member of the association to win the award.

Please submit the essay or article you wish to nominate (preferably by electronic attachment) to the committee chair, Emily Lutenski.

In the event of print submission, please send 5 copies to

Emily Lutenski
Walker Prize Chair
Saint Louis University
Adorjan Hall
3800 Lindell Blvd 131
St Louis MO 63108

Deadline for nominations: June 1, 2023.

If you have any questions, please email Dr. Emily Lutenski directly.

Don D. Walker Prize Recipients

2022Krista Comer for “Staying with the White Trouble of Recent Feminist Westerns,” Western American Literature 56.2
2021Joshua Smith for “Uncle Tom’s Cabin Showdown: Stowe, Tarantino, and the Minstrelsy of the Weird West,” in Weird Westerns: Race, Gender, Genre , ed. by Kerry Fine, Michael Johnson, Rebecca Lush and Sara Spurgeon
2020Emily Lutenski for "Dickens Disappeared: Black Los Angeles and the Borderlands of Racial Memory," American Studies
2019Marcel Brousseau for "Allotment Knowledges: Grid Spaces, Home Places, and Storyscapes on the Way to Rainy Mountain, " Native American and Indigenous Studies
2018Jessica Hurley for "Impossible Futures: Fictions of Risk in the Longue Durée," American Literature
2017Christopher Pexa
2016Lori Harrison-Kahan and Karen E. H. Skinazi
2015Joanna Hearne
2014Jayson Gonzales Sae-Saue
2013Kay Yandell
2012Kirby Brown
2011Chadwick Allen
2010Hsuan L. Hsu
2009Mark Rifkin
2008Chadwick Allen
2007 Stephen Tatum
2006Janet Dean
2005Susan Bernardin
2004Stephanie LeMenager
2003Susan Scheckel
2002Victoria Lamont
2001Susan Kollin
2000Chadwick Allen
1999Krista Comer
1998Forrest Robinson
1997Gary Scharnhorst
1996Susan K. Bernardin
1995Stephen Tatum
1994Susan Lee Johnson
1993Annette Kolodny
1992Roxanne Rimstead
1991Glen A. Love
1990Lee Clark Mitchell
1987Roger Stein
1986 Margery Fee
1985William Lemon
1984Melody Graulich
1983Robert Roripaugh
1982 Richard Slotkin
1981Anthony Hunt
1980 Forrest G. Robinson
1979Jarold Ramsey

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The J. Golden Taylor Award

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Named in honor of the first editor of Western American Literature, and also one of the Western Literature Association’s founders and presidents, the Taylor Award is a prestigious award juried by a team of experts in the field and given annually to a work of scholarship submitted by a graduate student for the annual conference. Creative work is not considered for the Taylor; however, creative work may be submitted to the association’s Creative Writing Award, and graduate student participants have been successful in winning that in the past (see Creative Writing Award).

To be considered for the Taylor Award, submit a complete, conference-length paper (not exceeding 15 pages) that you will be presenting at the conference with a cover letter indicating that you wish to be considered for the Taylor Award.

Email your submission to Bill Handley, chair of the Taylor Judging Committee with the subject line “TAYLOR AWARD SUBMISSION.”

Deadline for submission: August 1, 2023.

The award consists of a $200 cash prize plus a banquet ticket.

The award will be given during the conference banquet. 

Note: To be eligible for this award, you must be registered as a graduate student at the time of the awards ceremony. 

The award can only be received once. 

The J. Golden Taylor Award Recipients

2022Bowen DuUC Davis
2021Meagan MeylorUniversity of Southern California
2020Surabhi BalachanderUniversity of Michigan
2019Amanda MonteleoneUniversity of Texas at Arlington
2018Travis FranksArizona State University
2017Elena ValdezRice University
2016Jada AchUniversity of South Carolina
2015Jenna HunnefUniversity of Toronto
2014Aubrey Streit KrugUniversity of Nebraska, Lincoln
2013Heather DundasUniversity of Southern California
2012Sylvan GoldbergStanford University
2011Christopher MunizUniversity of Southern California
2010Alex YoungUniversity of Southern California
2009Joshuah O'Brien West Texas A&M
2008Matthew J. LavinUniversity of Iowa
2007 Patrick GleasonUniversity of California, San Diego
2006Angela Waldie University of Calgary
2005John Gamber Univ. of California, Santa Barbara
2004Ianina ArnoldUniversity of Idaho
2003Matt BurkhartUniversity of Arizona
2002Laurie Clements LambethUniversity of Houston
2001Virginia KennedyMontclair State University
2000Jenny Emery DavidsonUniversity of Utah
1999Jenny Emery DavidsonUniversity of Utah
1998Anne L. Kaufman
1997Jonathan PittsSUNY-Buffalo
1996Wes Mantooth
1995Phil Coleman-Hull
1994David Mazel
1993Evelyn I. FundaUniv. of Nebraska-Lincoln
1989Nat Lewis
1988Nancy CookSUNY-Buffalo
1987Cheryll Burgess GlotfeltyCornell University
1986 Linda A. Hughson-Ross
1984Anne K. Phillips

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Creative Writing Award

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Instituted in 2001, the Creative Writing Award celebrates the creative writers among our members.

You can submit poetry, short story, memoir, or other creative nonfiction. Please submit the piece that you are planning on reading at the conference (in other words, this is your conference paper).

The award comes with a small stipend.

To be eligible for the award, a piece cannot have been accepted for publication in any form by the submission deadline. 


— You must be a WLA member.

— You must include a statement that your submission has not been accepted for publication at this time.

— Please submit your entry in full length (no longer than 10 double-spaced pages) to with the subject heading “CREATIVE WRITING AWARD SUBMISSION” by August 1, 2023.

Judging Committee:


Recipients of the Creative Writing Award

Year RecipientPiece
2022Lawrence Coates“A Great Man among His People”
2021Melody Graulich"The Magpie"
2020Raul B. Moreno"Sleepier Than Me"
2019Joshua Dolezal"Darkness and Light"
2018Sydney Thompson"Thataway"
2017Cheyenne Marco"Water Signs"
2016Erin Flanagan"The Rule of Threes"
2015Michael Branch"Dark Cliffy Spot: Naming a Place, Placing a Name"
2014Lisa Knopp"Groundwork"
2013No prize was awarded.
2012David Thacker"The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness and Other Poems"
2011Doreen Pfost"Trailing Consequences"
2010Liz Stephens"Ten Years I'll Never Get Back"
2009Denice Turner"Shadow Legacy"
2008J. J. Clark“As Is”
2007 Joshua Dolezal“Selway by Headlamp”
2006Russ Beck“When I Believe in Faith”
2004Terre Ryan“In the Name of the Bomb: Confessions of a Cold War Catholic Kid”
2003Laurie Clements Lambeth“Fluid on the Brain”
2002Michael L. Johnson“Southwestern Afllatus”
2001Lee Ann Roripaugh“‘Mitten Springs’ and Other Poems Searching for Home: Japanese Americans in the American West”

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The Susan J. Rosowski Award

Monday, June 14th, 2010


This award was instituted by the WLA Executive Council in 2005 and was given for the first time at the 2006 WLA Conference in Boise. It is awarded every other year (in even years).

The Susan J. Rosowski Award recipients

2022No award given.
2020No award given.
2018No award given.
2016William R. Handley
2014Evelyn I. Funda
2012Melody Graulich and Annette Kolodny
2010Cheryll Glotfelty
2008Susan Naramore Maher
2006James H. Maguire

Susan Rosowski (1942–2004), long-time WLA member and University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Adele Hall University Professor, epitomized what it means to be a generous and caring mentor and teacher. While her service to the Association and to Cather studies on a national level was exemplary and her scholarship (The Voyage Perilous [1986] and Birthing a Nation [1999]) was singular and remains widely used, Sue is best remembered as a teacher and mentor of unparalleled quality.


Nominating Procedure:

In order to nominate someone for the Rosowski Award, please collaborate with WLA colleagues and solicit at least five separate letters of support, from students, WLA members, or anyone else who seems appropriate. Letters should address the nominee’s long-standing support of WLA members, as well as graduate students. They might address service in WLA that benefits graduate students; evidence of mentoring younger colleagues; information about support letters written; number of students who have become involved in WLA’s curriculum development; pedagogical publications, etc. Please submit materials in one packet to the WLA Awards Coordinators, who will keep track of the files.

Once nominated, the candidate remains in the pool of nominees for two award cycles. However, members who were nominated prior to the previous award cycle may be re-nominated. Members who have previously won the award will not be considered for a second nomination.

Nominations or questions about the award may be addressed via email to Anne Kaufman, Awards Coordinator.


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The Louis Owens Awards for Graduate Student Presenters at WLA Conferences

Monday, June 14th, 2010

The WLA honors the great writer and scholar Louis Owens for his contributions to western American and American Indian literary studies and for his unfailing generosity as a colleague, teacher, and mentor. The goal of the Louis Owens Awards is to build for the future of the Western Literature Association by modeling Owens’ own support and encouragement of diverse graduate student engagement in western literature and culture studies.

The Owens Awards are intended to foster ever-greater diversity within the WLA membership, to help broaden the field of western American literary studies, and to recognize both graduate student scholarship and financial need. Since its inception in 2004 through an anonymous donation and with the help of yearly donations from our members, 32 scholarships have been awarded so far.



The monetary amount of this year’s scholarships: TBA.

If you are interested in applying for this award, submit a paper proposal for participation in the conference. If your paper is accepted, you can then submit the award application materials via Google Forms:

Application deadline: August 1, 2023

If you are awarded one of the Owens stipends, you are expected to attend most of the conference. Please see conference details for the 2023 WLA Conference. 

If you have any questions regarding the Owens Awards, please contact  Prof. Lydia Heberling, Chair of the Owens Committee.

 • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


Originally named the Minority Student Award

2004:  JOSHUA SMITH, University of Southern California

2005:  JESSICA BREMMER, University of Southern California

    ANDREA DOMINGUEZ, University of Arizona

Renamed Louis Owens Award/s

2006: ELIXABETE ANSA-GOICOECHEA, Indiana University

    JENNIFER CLARK, University of Southern California

2007: NAVEED REHAN, University of Alberta

2008: JESSICA BREMMER, University of Southern California

2009: CAROLE JUGE, Université Paris, Sorbonne

    JAMES E. MURRAY, University of South Dakota

2010: ELISA BORDIN, University of Verona

   STEPHEN SIPERSTEIN, University of Southern California

2011: JOHANNES FEHRLE, University Freiburg, Germany

2012: CHRISTOPHER MUNIZ, University of Southern California

   AUBREY STREIT KRUG, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

2013: RENATA GOMES, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil

   JASMINE JOHNSON, University of British Columbia

2014: JANE WONG, University of Washington

2015: SHANE JOSEPH WILLIS FRANKIEWICZ, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany

   LORENA GAUTHEREAU, Rice University

   JULIE WILLIAMS, University of New Mexico

2016: MIKA KENNEDY, University of Michigan

   MARIA MACKAS, Georgia State University

   HO’ESTA MO’E’HAHNE, University of Southern California

2017: LAURA DE VOS, University of Washington

           NADHIA GREWAL, Goldsmiths University of London, UK

2018: LYDIA HEBERLING, University of Washington-Seattle

           TISHA REICHLE, University of Southern California

           BERNADETTE RUSSO, Texas Tech University

2019: MARIA ALBERTO, University of Utah

           SURABHI BALACHANDER, University of Michigan

2020: No awards were given.

2021: No awards were given.

2022: TACEY ATSITTY, Florida State University

           DOMINIC DONGILLI, Goldsmiths University of London

           LAUREN WHITE, University of Southern California

 • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


Note: Our 2018 award recipient, Lydia Heberling, is this year’s award committee chair! She is now an assistant professor at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in the Department of Ethnic Studies.

Meet one of our Owens Recipients: Lydia Heberling (2018)

Photo of Lydia Heberling

The Western Literature Association is truly one of the most welcoming professional organizations for graduate students entering the field of Western literary studies. WLA faculty are generous with their mentorship, feedback, and encouragement, and the graduate student cohort is deeply collaborative and supportive. I have been energized and encouraged by the vibrant exchange of ideas and collaborative spirit I found in the WLA since I first attended in Reno, Nevada, in 2015.

It is through the generous support of the Louis Owens Award committee that I was able to attend the 2018 conference in St. Louis, Missouri, and present work on reimagining 17th and 18th century Spanish missions in California as Indigenous hubs of resistance. This work in progress examined the rich mixed-media, mixed-genre book Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir (2013) by Chumash and Costanoan Ohlone-Esselen writer Deborah Miranda, which reframes dominant narratives about Indigenous erasure in California. The WLA is particularly supportive of work in the field of American Indian and Indigenous literary studies, and I am so grateful that awards such as the Louis Owens Award exist to support work by Indigenous scholars and scholars of color in this field. 

Through the WLA I have made several lasting friendships and connections that will continue to shape my professional work and enrich my personal life. At WLA conferences I have had the immense pleasure of interacting with scholars such as Krista Comer, Lisa Tatonetti, Susan Bernardin, Joanna Hearne, Jenn Ladino, and Kirby Brown. The WLA is a fantastic space for emerging scholars to develop work in any area of Western literary and cultural studies. 

~Lydia Heberling, University of Washington (2019)

Posted in WLA Awards | Comments Off on The Louis Owens Awards for Graduate Student Presenters at WLA Conferences


Friday, January 1st, 2010


Below you’ll find conference programs from previous years. The earlier copies do not include last-minute changes.

WLA Conference Program 1999 (Sacramento)

Conference Program 2003: The West of the 21st Century (Houston, Texas)
Conference Program 2004 (Big Sky, Montana)
Conference Program 2005 (Los Angeles, California) [Word file]
Conference Program 2006 (Boise, Idaho)
Conference Program 2007 (Tacoma, Washington) [Word fiile]
Conference Program 2008 (Boulder, Colorado)
Conference Program 2009 (Spearfish, South Dakota)
Conference Program 2010 (Prescott, Arizona)
Conference Program 2011 (Missoula, Montana)
Conference Program 2012 (Lubbock, Texas)
Conference Program 2013 (Berkeley, California)
Conference Program 2014 (Victoria, British Columbia)
Conference Program 2015 (Reno, Nevada)
Conference Program 2016 (Big Sky, Montana)—final copy, including corrections
Conference Program 2017 (Minneapolis, Minnesota)—final copy, including corrections
Conference Program 2018 (St. Louis, Missouri)—final copy, including corrections
Conference Program 2019 (Estes Park, Colorado)—final copy, including corrections
Conference Program 2020 (First Virtual Conference)
No conference held in 2021 due to covid-19.
Conference Program 2022 (Santa Fe, New Mexico)—final copy, including corrections


Posted in conferences, wal-research, WLA Awards | Comments Off on PAST CONFERENCE PROGRAMS

  • 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.

  • Black Lives Matter

    The Western Literature Association (WLA) is in solidarity with Black communities, after the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, and the ongoing pattern of systemic racism and injustice that targets black and brown bodies. ...