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First Book Institute


The First Book Institute

June 4-10, 2017

Hosted by the Center for American Literary Studies

at Pennsylvania State University


      • Sean X. Goudie, Director of the Center for American Literary Studies and Winner of the MLA Prize for a First Book
      • Priscilla Wald, R. Florence Brinkley Professor of English and Women's Studies at Duke University and Editor of American Literature

The stakes of successful publishing by early career professors are more urgent than ever given the current state of higher education promotion and publishing.  Responding to a glaring need in the field, the First Book Institute features workshops and presentations led by institute faculty aimed at assisting participants in transforming their book projects into ones that promise to make the most significant impact possible on the field and thus land them a publishing contract with a top university press.

Congratulations to the eight successful applicants to this year's institute!


Alex Benson, Assistant Professor of Literature, Bard College

      • Project Title: Alternating Sounds: American Literature and Ethnographic Transcription


Matthew Bolton, Assistant Professor of English, Gonzaga University

      • Project Title: A Rhetorical Approach to Adaptation: Effects, Purposes, and the Fidelity Debate


Abby Goode, Assistant Professor of English, Plymouth State University

      • Project Title: Democratic Demographics: A Literary Genealogy of American Sustainability


Jessica Hurley, Harper-Schmidt Fellow, Society of Fellows, University of Chicago

      • Project Title: Infrastructures of the Apocalypse: American Literature and the Nuclear Complex


Joo Ok Kim, Assistant Professor of English, University of Kansas

      • Project Title: Warring Genealogies: Race, Kinship, and the Korean War


Jarvis McInnis, Assistant Professor of English, Notre Dame University

      • Project Title: Afterlives of the Plantation: Aesthetics, Labor, and Diaspora in the Global Black South


Sunny Yang, Assistant Professor of English, Louisiana State University

      • Project Title: Fictions of Territoriality: Legal and Literary Narratives of Race, Geography, and U.S. Empire


Meina Yates-Richard, Assistant Professor of English, Syracuse University

      • Project Title: Echoes of the Future-Past: Slavery and Sonic Testimony in African American and Diasporic Literature 1845-Present


Learn more about the First Book Institute--now in its fifth year--from this short video featuring the co-directors and participants of the 2013 First Book Institute.

"The Institute has given me a whole new perspective on my project.  
I have all kinds of ideas for how I'm going to go forward from here."
-- Samaine Lockwood, 2013 participant

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