Call for Papers on Willa Cather:
American Literature Association 2017, May 25-28, Boston

The Willa Cather Foundation seeks proposals for two panels for the 28th annual conference of the American Literature Association at the Westin Copley Place in Boston on May 25-28, 2017 (Thursday through Sunday of Memorial Day weekend).

1. "Cather's 'Apprenticeship' Revisited." As many have pointed out, Cather's career as a novelist began only after more than two decades of serious published writing across multiple genres, including journalism, criticism, poetry, and the short story. Critics and biographers have thus frequently treated the prolific period before 1913 and O Pioneers! as a kind of necessary "apprenticeship" or discovery of voice. This panel seeks papers that explore the work of these decades (in any genre) in ways that significantly expand or complicate the teleological narrative.

2. "New Scholarship in Willa Cather." Open Topic. This panel will feature papers involving innovative approaches and perspectives on any topic other than the early work.

Please direct inquiries and submit proposals (300 words maximum) electronically and no later than December 14, 2016 to John Swift, Professor of English, Occidental College, email Proposals should include a title, your name, academic affiliation, and email contact information. Please attach your proposal as a Word document and paste the text into your e-mail message. Notification of acceptance decisions will be by mid-January. Papers accepted for these panels will not undergo any additional level of review—acceptance for the panels constitutes acceptance for the conference.

The ALA's deadline for all proposals (including fully organized panel proposals) is January 30, 2017. For further information about the conference, please consult the ALA website at or contact the conference director, Professor Olivia Carr Edenfield at with specific questions. For questions about the Cather panels, please contact John Swift.

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