The 2020 First Book Institute
May 31-June 6, 2020
Hosted by the Center for American Literary Studies (CALS) 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, Duke University, and Co-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—now in its seventh year—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. Eight successful applicants will be awarded $1500 stipends to defray the costs of travel and lodging.
Applications to the First Book Institute are invited from scholars working in any area or time period of American literary studies who hold a PhD and are in the process of writing their first book (whether a revised and expanded dissertation or other project). Applicants should not have negotiated a formal agreement of any kind with a press to publish their manuscript.
Electronic applications, due by February 10, 2020, should include the following:
- Application letter describing the project and anticipated timeline for completion
- C. V.
- Project abstract, including chapter summaries
- Introduction or sample chapter
Please send all application materials in a single PDF file (and any queries) to [email protected].
For more information about the First Book Institute, including video testimony about the inaugural First Book Institute from the participants and co-directors, please see: