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Programs and Series

First Book Institute

First Book Institute


The Tenth Annual First Book Institute

Hosted by the Center for American Literary Studies

Pennsylvania State University

June 12-18, 2022

First Book Institute 2



  • 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 tenth 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 eight successful applicants to this year’s institute! They are:

    • Justine M. Bakker, Assistant Professor of Comparative Religious Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen (NL)
      Project Title: Demonic Ocean: Parareligion in the African Diaspora


    • David M. de León, Lecturer in English and Senior Editor, The Yale Review
      Project Title: Epic Black: Poetics in Protest in the Time of Black Lives Matter


    • DeLisa D. Hawkes, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
      Project Title: Separate Yet Intertwined: Black and Native Bonds in the Ongoing New Negro Renaissance


    • Hannah Manshel, Assistant Professor of English, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
      Project Title: Without the Law: Theories of Freedom from Early America


    • Alden Sajor Marte-Wood, Assistant Professor of English, Rice University
      Project Title: Overseas Filipina Writers: Reproductive Fictions and Fantasies in the World-Literary System


    • Cole Morgan, Assistant Professor of English, University of California, Irvine
      Project Title: The World Before Us: Blackness, Narration, and Photography


    • Amrah Salomón, Assistant Professor of English, University of California, Santa Barbara
      Project Title: Burning Fences, Mending Labyrinths: An Indigenous Border Critique

    • Talia Shalev, Fellow, American Council of Learned Societies
      Project Title: Some Inarticulate Major Premise: Poetry, the Will of the People, and the U.S. Supreme Court

See here for a full write-up of the 2022 First Book Institute. Thanks to all our wonderful participants for making this year’s event such a success!

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."