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Call For Papers: The Short Fiction of Carson McCullers

24 Feb

Proposed submissions are requested for an edited collection of essays tentatively titled Understanding the Short Fiction of Carson McCullers. This collection will contribute to current scholarship by 1. Analyzing lesser-known short texts by McCullers, and 2. Examining (or reexamining) McCullers’ short texts using current contemporary perspectives. Potential topics for discussion include, but are not limited to:

•Comparative readings of the short work of Carson McCullers (short fiction compared with other short fiction, or short fiction compared with longer texts);

•The reception and evolution of McCullers’ shorter works across national boundaries;

•Representations of disability and illness within the stories of McCullers, or reading her short work though the theoretical lens of disability and illness;

•Explorations of justice, war, violence, the greater good, and morality within her work;

•The intersections of race and gender in McCullers, including how her stories might figure within postcolonial studies, critical race theory, and other analyses of racial and national formation;

•McCullers’ narrative techniques;

•Ongoing critical reception to McCullers, both her life and work; for example, what newly available archival material adds to the conversation surrounding McCullers’ short fiction

•Gender identity studies, sexuality studies, LGBT studies, queer theory;

•Critical animal theory;

•Trauma in the work of McCullers;

•McCullers’ work in connection with new approaches in southern studies;

•Reading her short fiction in light of other social, cultural, political, philosophical, and religious movements of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century.

Article abstracts (approximately 500 words) and a brief CV should be submitted by March 15, 2018 to Dr. Alison Bertolini ( and Dr. Casey Kayser ( Longer outlines or drafts are also welcome at this time.

Selected authors will be notified by April 15, 2018. For those invited to contribute to the collection, chapters should be 5,000-7,000 words (MLA format, minimal footnotes or endnotes please), and completed essays should be submitted by August 1, 2018. Queries are welcome concerning submission topics. A contract for this book through a peer-reviewed academic press is pending, following a review of proposed chapters.


Carson McCullers Annual Outstanding Conference Paper Award (for 2017)

24 Feb

The Carson McCullers Society invites submissions for an annual scholarly “Prize for Outstanding Conference Paper,” to be awarded to an essay on the life and work of Carson McCullers presented at a conference in the past year. Entries should provide evidence that the paper was presented at a regional, national, or international academic conference during the previous calendar year (January to December 2017) and that the winner is eligible for the award as an active member of the Society.

Submissions are welcome from graduate students and all levels of scholars. Judging will be a blind process, and the award carries a $100 honorarium. Please send submissions to Carson McCullers Society President Alison Graham-Bertolini ( by April 1, 2018. The winner will be announced in early May.

Annual Award for Outstanding Conference Paper 2016 Winner

31 Mar

Congratulations to Kassia Waggoner, the winner of our annual award for outstanding conference paper, and the recipient of the $100 honorarium.

Waggoner’s paper, “Embodied Listening: Singer as Feminist Listener in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” was presented at PAMLA 2016 as part of a panel on “disabilities in American literature”.

Our judges were unanimous in choosing the winner, and their comments included:

“Valuable analysis, most applicable to other works, most fully worked out. The writing is quite clear.”

“I learned from this essay. Clear and well done.”

“Not only is the essay polished and well-considered, but the author provides a fresh way of considering Singer’s role in Lonely Hunter from the perspectives of feminism and disability studies.”

Congratulations once again to our winner. Look out for our 2017 award, the details of which will be announced later in the year. We look forward to an exciting year for McCullers studies.

Carson McCullers Society Prize for Outstanding Conference Paper of 2015

8 Aug
Congratulations to Sarah-Marie Horning, whose essay, “Experiencing the Artfulness of the Object: The Function of the I, Off-Colored Seasons, and Defamiliarized Sexuality in Carson McCullers’ The Member of the Wedding was selected as the Carson McCullers Society Prize for Outstanding Conference Paper of 2015.

Sarah-Marie Horning is a PhD student at Texas Christian University where she directs an online undergraduate research journal. Her papers and presentations have covered Southern women writers such as Flannery O’Connor, Carson McCullers, and Zora Neale Hurston. Her current research explores the topic of androgyny in the works of Flannery O’Connor and Carson McCullers.

Many thanks to our judges, who chose her essay through a blind judging process, and praised her essay’s “rather sophisticated argument.”
Sarah presented her essay at a symposium at the University of Central Florida.

Congratulations, Sarah!

We hope others will keep this annual award in mind if they present any work on McCullers at academic conferences during the 2016 calendar year!

Carson McCullers in the World: A Centenary Celebration

29 Jun

Carson McCullers in the World: A Centenary Conference

A Call for Proposals / Papers / Panels

John Cabot University, the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians, and the Carson McCullers Society will celebrate the centennial of Carson McCullers’s birth by hosting Carson McCullers in the World: A Centenary Conference in Rome, Italy, 14-16 July 2017.

As a child growing up in Columbus, Georgia, McCullers discovered the world through reading writers from around the world.  Like the young McCullers, the characters in her work often longed to leave their small-town lives and become a “member of the whole world.”  McCullers’s work has been translated into nearly forty languages, has wide appeal for international readers, and has inspired scholarly interest throughout the world. As we approach the centennial of her birth, we invite proposals for both panels and individuals papers that offer new perspectives on McCullers’s life and work, especially on such topics as the international appeal of her work and its significance in global contexts, and it resonance and relevance in the twenty-first century.  Topics related to any other aspects of McCullers’s life and work are also welcomed.  Please send a 250 to 500-word paper abstract, or panel proposal with abstracts, to by 15 Sept. 2016.


14 May

South Atlantic Modern Language Association 2016
Raleigh, North Carolina

In light of the conference theme of utopia/dystopia, the Carson McCullers Society and the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians invite papers that explore the ways in which McCullers’ work presents settings and characters situated and interacting within ideal or imperfect structures and relationships. Further, 2017 will mark McCullers’ 100th birthday, and we might consider how her life and work resonates as we look to this centennial and what it offers to contemporary understandings of utopia/dystopia. Presentations about McCullers and her work that are not directly related to the conference theme are also welcome. Please send abstracts of 300-500 words to Casey Kayser at by June 1, 2016.

McCullers at 2016 American Literature Association

14 May

Carson McCullers Reconsidered
Organized by the Carson McCullers Society and the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians

Chair: Alison Graham Bertolini, North Dakota State University

1. “Queer Heterosexuality: Gender Fluidity and Atypical Desire in The Ballad of the Sad Café,” Jamiee Cook, California State University, Stanislaus

2. “She’s Every Woman: Why Mick Kelly and Carson McCullers’ The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter Still Matter,” Rhonda J. Rogers, Mills College

3. “Homophilia and the Homophile in Carson McCullers’s Clock Without Hands,” Eric Solomon, Emory University