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

First Book Institute


The Ninth Annual First Book Institute

Hosted by the Center for American Literary Studies

Pennsylvania State University

June 6-12, 2021


  • 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 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 ninth 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. 

Congratulations to the eights successful applicants to this year's institute!  They are: 

  • Alison Glassie, Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Humanities, University of Virginia

Project Title: Atlantic Shapeshifters: Sea Literature’s Fluid Forms

  • Lindsey Grubbs, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Sciences, California State University, East Bay

Project Title: Moral Disorder: A Literary History of Mental Diagnosis in the Nineteenth-Century United States

  • Ayasha Guerin, Assistant Professor of Black Diaspora Studies, Department of English Language and Literatures, University of British Columbia

Project Title: Making Zone-A: Race, Nature, and Resilience in New York’s Most Vulnerable Shores

  • Alyssa Hunziker, Assistant Professor of English, Oklahoma State University

Project Title: Histories in Common: Native American Literature, U.S. Empire, and Archival Form

  • Chad B. Infante, Assistant Professor of English, The University of Maryland  

Project Title: Cool Fratricide: Murder and Metaphysics in Black and Indigenous U.S. Literature

  • Lukas Moe, Alumni Fellow in English, Yale University

Project Title:  Archives and Afterlives: U.S. Poetry’s Radical Generation, 1935—1968

  • Nancy Quintanilla, Assistant Professor of Hemispheric American Literature, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Project Title: Discourses of Failure: Empire and Crisis in Contemporary Transnational American Literature and Culture

  • Matthew Scully, Affiliated Faculty, Department of Writing, Literature & Publishing and Marlboro Institute for Liberal Arts & Interdisciplinary Studies, Emerson College

Project Title: Democratic Anarchy: Figures of Equality in United States Literature and Politics

Learn more about the First Book Institute from this short video featuring the co-directors and participants of the inaugural 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