You are here: Home / Programs & Series / First Book Institute

First Book Institute

June 4-10, 2017
Hosted by the Center for American Literary Studies
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