Share Your Alcott Research at the ALA Conference (May 2022)

The Louisa May Alcott Society is sponsoring two panels at the 33rd Annual Conference of the American Literature Association [ALA], to be held May 26-29, 2022, The Palmer House Hilton, 17 East Monroe, Chicago, IL 60603. 

Session 1: The Literary Nonfiction of Louisa May Alcott and Mark Twain 

Although Alcott and Twain are perhaps most famous for their later novels about young people, they each became famous in the 1860s for their hilarious but often dark nonfiction writings—Alcott’s Hospital Sketches (1863) and Twain’s The Innocents Abroad (1869)—and both continued writing nonfiction books and sketches throughout their careers. This panel aims to offer a critical reassessment of the significance of Alcott’s and Twain’s nonfiction work, within the context of nineteenth-century society and culture or in light of recent critical perspectives on literary nonfiction as a genre. Attention to major works (such as Twain’s Life on the Mississippi, Roughing It, and Innocents or Alcott’s Shawl Straps or Hospital Sketches), shorter essays and sketches, travel writings, or political writings (including Alcott’s feminist writings or Twain’s anticolonialist work) are all welcome. Papers comparing the two authors’ writings are encouraged. This session is co-sponsored by The Mark Twain Circle of America. 

Session 2: Kiddie Lit, Sassy Sissies, Tattling Tomboys, and More: Honoring Beverly Lyon Clark 

For this Alcott Society-sponsored panel, the organizers invite papers about the life and work of Scholar Extraordinaire Beverly Lyon Clark (1948-2021). Bev blazed a trail for the academic study of children’s literature in works such as Girls, Boys, Books, Toys: Gender in Children’s Literature and Culture (co-edited with Margaret R. Higonnet, 1999) and Kiddie Lit: the Cultural Construction of Children’s Literature in America (2003). In Alcott Studies, Bev co-edited “Little Women” and the Feminist Imagination (with Janice M. Alberghene, 1999) and collected Alcott’s Contemporary Reviews (2004). In 2014, she published The Afterlife of “Little Women” (2014), drawing from a breathtaking array of resources to trace the scholarly and popular fortunes of Alcott’s most well-known novel. She edited the Norton Critical Edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and recently she published an essay on “The Most Scorned of the Newbery Medalists?: Daniel Boone (1940).” With contributions to the scholarship of adaptation, including illustrations, and with an intelligence that knew no bounds, Clark was a formidable, influential, and beloved figure in our field. Presenters should demonstrate how Bev’s scholarship has inspired and/or influenced their own work, honoring her accomplishments while delineating the ways that her scholarship will endure. 

Please send 300-word abstracts for either panel to Gregory Eiselein at The deadline for proposals is Friday, January 14, 2022. Early submissions welcome. Additional details about the 2022 ALA Conference may be found online on their conference website
Sarah Elbert Travel Grants 
The Alcott Society is offering up to three travel grants of $400 each to support students and non-tenure-track members of the Society to attend present on Alcott at an academic conference in the 2022 calendar year. Applying is easy. Please just send the abstract for your paper, information about its acceptance and conference venue, and a one-page vita to Gregory Eiselein at . We encourage students and NTT members of the Society to see these travel grants as a possible source for financial support for attending and presenting on Alcott at the ALA Conference in May.

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Alcott Society CFP for ALA 2022