Programs and Series

First Book Institute

First Book Institute


The 2024 First Book Institute

Hosted by the Center for American Literary Studies

Pennsylvania State University

June 2-8, 2024

First Book Institute 2


  • Sean X. Goudie, Director of the Center for American Literary Studies and Past Winner of the MLA Prize for a First Book
  • Priscilla Wald, R. Florence Brinkley Distinguished Professor of English at Duke University and Co-Editor of American Literature

The stakes of successful by early career professors in humanities fields are as urgent as ever given the many challenges confronting institutions of higher education and university presses. Responding to a glaring need in the field, the First Book Institute—now in its twelfth year—features workshops and presentations led by institute faculty aimed at assisting participants in transforming their book projects into ones that promise to make a significant impact on the field and thus land them a publishing contract with a top university press. 

Congratulations to the eight successful applicants to this summer’s institute. They are:
  • Mia Alafaireet, Assistant Professor of English, University of Texas at Austin
    Project Title: Transplanting Blackness: New Negro Botanicals and the Ecology of Black Health
  • Heidi Amin-Hong, Assistant Professor of English, UC Santa Barbara
    Project Title: Transpacific Contaminations: Ecological Aesthetics and Cold War Afterlives
  • Eve Eure, Assistant Professor of English, Lehman College, City University of New York
    Project Title: The Grammar of Kinship: Black and Native Intimacies in the Nineteenth-Century
  • Molly MacVeagh, Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Humanities, Wake Forest University
    Project Title: Novel Metabolisms: Environmental Fiction in the Molecular Age
  • Rebecca Liu, Assistant Professor of English, University of Maryland, College Park
    Project Title: Contract Spirit: Asian American Literature after the Coolie Trade
  • Alyssa Quintanilla, Assistant Professor of English, United States Naval Academy
    Project Title: Markers, Monuments, Memorials in the United States-Mexico Borderlands
  • Sidonia Serafini, Assistant Professor of English, Georgia College and State University
    Project Title: Cultivating Citizenship: Racial and Environmental Justice and African American Writing at Hampton and Tuskegee Institutes, 1890-1925
  • Arthur Wang, Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania
    Project Title: Minor Theories of Everything: On Popular Science and Contemporary Fiction.

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."