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The biennial John R. Milton Writers’ Conference is a national literary conference established in 1998 and held at the University of South Dakota.

This Lonely Frontier: Exploring Boundaries of Space, Identity and Genre

Please join us from Oct. 25-27 for the 11th biennial John R. Milton Writer's Conference at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, South Dakota. The 2018 conference theme, “This Lonely Frontier: Exploring Boundaries of Space, Identity, and Genre,” celebrates the 50th anniversary of Milton’s poetry collection This Lonely House (1968). We are excited to confirm Percival Everett, Ellen Forney and Erika Wurth as keynote and featured authors. In addition, Ellen Forney will deliver a workshop on creating comics, and the conference will feature readings by USD’s Department of English faculty Duncan B. Barlow, Leah McCormack and Lee Ann Roripaugh.

Call for Papers and Creative Presentations

Deadline for Submissions: May 1, 2018

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We invite proposals for critical and creative panels, roundtables and individual submissions engaging with the exploration of space, identity and genre - or with other topics Milton investigates in This Lonely House: “The Human Dream,” “Our Human Trust,” “Margin Dwellers” and “A Faulty Memory.” Possible areas of focus and approaches include, but are not limited to:

  • Western American literature, history and culture
  • Indigenous and Native American literature, history and culture
  • Discourses of marginalization, including race, ethnicity, multiculturalism or ability
  • Women, gender and/or sexuality
  • Representations of mental illness in literature and/or popular culture
  • Postcolonial literature and/or theory
  • Comics and/or graphic narratives
  • Hybrid texts, blurred genres, fact vs. fiction and/or experimentation
  • Cultural and media studies, including popular culture, television, film, “fake news” or speculative fiction
  • The relationship of “frontiers” to writing, scholarship or pedagogy
  • The relationship between specific landscapes and forms of identity
  • Writing’s ability to question/challenge categories of gender, race or ability

Submission Guidelines

Critical Work: Submit a 250-word abstract, along with a brief biographical note, by May 1, 2018. Panel and roundtable proposals should include biographical notes for all presenters and a 250-word justification for the session. Panel proposals should also include individual presenters’ abstracts. We welcome panel proposals that incorporate both critical and creative presentations.

Creative Submissions: Provide either 8-10 pages of poetry or no more than 10 pages of creative prose writing, along with a short biographical note, by May 1, 2018. While creative work that explicitly or implicitly engages with the conference theme, or is related in some way to Milton’s This Lonely House collection, is especially welcome, we will gladly consider all types of creative work on any theme and in any style for readings at the conference’s creative writing panels.

Contact with any questions or for additional information.