Vermillion Writing and Literature Conference

The Vermillion Writing and Literature Conference is a national literary conference held at the University of South Dakota.

September 28–30, 2023

“Beginnings: New Approaches in Creative Writing, Literary Studies, and Pedagogy”

Please join us September 28–30, 2023 for the 1st biennial Vermillion Writing and Literature Conference at University of South Dakota. The 2023 conference theme, “Beginnings: New Approaches in Creative Writing, Literary Studies, and Pedagogy,” looks with hope to possibilities for new voices, ideas, forms, and projects in the literary arts. VWALC’s panel sessions and public readings will address these and other overlapping concerns.

Call for Papers

We invite proposals for critical and creative panels, roundtables, and individual submissions engaging with the exploration of our conference theme. Possible areas of focus and approaches include, but are not limited to:

  • indigenous and Native American literature, history, and culture;
  • hybrid texts, blurred genres, fact vs. fiction, and/or experimentation; 
  • innovation in creative writing pedagogy that addresses diversity, emerging forms, shifting landscapes in education, or disability inclusion;
  • discourses of marginalization, including race, ethnicity, multiculturalism, or ability; 
  • women, gender, and/or sexuality;  
  • representations of disability or mental illness in literature and/or popular culture; 
  • postcolonial literature and/or theory; 
  • western American literature, history, and culture; 
  • cultural and media studies, including but not limited to popular culture, or speculative fiction; 
  • the relationship between specific landscapes and forms of identity; 
  • writing’s ability to question/challenge categories of gender, race, or ability;
  • relationships between representation and textual experimentation.

Deadline for submissions: 1 April 2023

Please send to

Submission Guidelines:

For critical work, please submit a 250-word abstract, along with a brief biographical note, by 1 April 2023. Panel and roundtable proposals should include biographical notes for all presenters and a 250-word description for the session. Panel proposals should also include individual presenters’ abstracts. We welcome panel proposals that incorporate both critical and creative presentations.

For creative submissions, please provide either 8-10 pages of poetry or no more than 10-12 pages of creative prose writing, along with a short biographical note, by 1 April 2023. While creative work that explicitly or implicitly engages with the conference theme 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.


Conference Schedule

Keynote & Featured Readers

Author Benjamin Percy smiling.

Benjamin Percy is the author of seven novels -- most recently, Sky Vault (William Morrow) -- three story collections, including Suicide Woods -- and a book of essays titled Thrill Me that is widely taught in creative writing classrooms. 

He co-wrote the feature film Summering with director James Ponsoldt. Produced by Sony's Stage 6 and Bleeker Street, it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2022. He is also currently writing an adaptation of Urban Cowboy for Paramount Plus with James Ponsoldt attached to direct. He has sold scripts to Starz, FOX, and Paramount Pictures. 

He wrote two seasons of the audio drama -- Wolverine -- produced by Marvel and Stitcher. The first season, "Wolverine: The Long Night," was listed as one of the top 15 podcasts of the year by Apple and won the iHeartRadio Award for Best Scripted Podcast. 

His latest audio drama -- Old Man Starlord -- is produced by Marvel and SiriusXM/Pandora and stars Chris Elliot, Timothy Busfield, Vanessa Williams, and Danny Glover.

He writes Wolverine, X-Force, and Ghost Rider for Marvel Comics. He has also written for DC Comics and Dynamite Entertainment and is known for his celebrated runs on Green Arrow, Teen Titans, Nightwing, and James Bond.

His fiction and nonfiction have been published in Esquire (where he is a contributing editor), GQ, Time, Men's Journal, Outside, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Ploughshares, Tin House, McSweeney's, and the Paris Review.

His other honors include the Whiting Award, an NEA fellowship, the Whiting Award, the Plimpton Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, and inclusion in Best American Short Stories, 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories, and Best American Comics. 

He has lectured at Harvard and taught at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Author Lisa Fay Coutley smiling.

Lisa Fay Coutley is the author of tether (Black Lawrence Press, 2020), (Southern Illinois University Press, 2015), winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition, and In the Carnival of Breathing (BLP, 2011), winner of the Black River Chapbook Competition. She is also the editor of the forthcoming anthology, In the Tempered Dark: Contemporary Poets Transcending Elegy (BLP, 2024). She’s the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, fellowships and scholarships to the Sewanee and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences, an Academy of American Poets Levis Prize, chosen by Dana Levin, and the 2021 Gulf Coast Poetry Prize, selected by Natalie Diaz. Recent prose and poetry appears or is forthcoming in Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day Barrelhouse, Black Warrior Review, Brevity, Copper Nickel, Gulf Coast, and The Massachusetts Review. She is an Associate Professor of Poetry and Creative Nonfiction in the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the Chapbook Series Editor at Black Lawrence Press.

Author Steven Wingate smiling.

Steven Wingate is the author of the novels The Leave-Takers (2021) and Of Fathers and Fire (2019), both part of the Flyover Fiction Series from the University of Nebraska Press. His short story collection Wifeshopping (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008) was selected by Amy Hempel as winner of the 2007 Bakeless Prize in Fiction from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. His experimental work includes the prose poem collection Thirty-One Octets (CW Books, 2014) and the digital interactive memoir daddylabyrinth, which premiered at the Art/Science Museum of Singapore in 2014. He has taught at the University of Colorado, the College of the Holy Cross, and South Dakota State University, where he is currently professor of English and coordinator or creative writing.

Celebrate the
written word

The Vermillion Writing and Literature Conference is the perfect place to learn new skills, meet new people, and get inspired. Register before July 28 and receive an early bird discount!
A sidewalk and sign on downtown Vermillion.

Plan Your Visit to Vermillion

To learn more about the city of Vermillion and the accommodations available to you, visit the Vermillion Area Chamber and Development Company website.


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