CFP: The Space Between Creative Nonfiction and Literary Criticism: Writing and Publishing Critical/Creative Hybrids (MLA, Portland, January 9–January 12, 2020; DEADLINE March 15, 2019)

deadline for submissions: 
March 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Janine Utell
contact email: 

Proposals are sought for a session at MLA 2020 where speakers and audience will consider the forms of creative nonfiction and scholarly/academic essays, and to envision the affordances made possible by their overlapping, intersection, and hybridization.  It will bring together academics and editors who are exploring the possibilities and practicing the craft of literary scholarship and criticism opened up by creative nonfiction—scholarly writing within and transformed by the critical/creative hybrid space. 

Writers and editors selected will be invited to prepare 5–7-minute comments on the craft and publishing of hybrid forms of creative nonfiction/academic and scholarly essays in literary criticism.  This interactive session will allow for robust audience discussion.

Participants will share their experiences in research and writing critical/creative hybrids and in the development of their craft; in finding or creating hospitable venues for nontraditional or experimental scholarship including navigating the peer review process; in the ways in which such writing invigorates literary critical practice or pedagogy; in what the creation and publication of such pieces might mean for the promotion and tenure process as well as facilitating collaboration between literary studies and creative writing faculty colleagues; in how these forms open up new spaces beyond the academy. 

Along these lines, potential participants are also invited to consider in their proposals in response to this CFP:

+ The standards, aesthetics, affordances, and constraints of these forms;

+ The ways in which the “arrangements of elements—an ordering, patterning, or shaping” (Caroline Levine, Forms, 3) in the writing itself, as well as in the ways such work makes its way into the world, shape conversations within the academy and beyond;

+ The “restrictive containers and boundaries” (also Levine) that exist to order our writing and publishing—and the potentialities of this hybrid form to manipulate, liberate, breach, break;

+ The implications for disciplinary thinking, for political resistance, for the emergence of new voices and new experiences of reading;

+ The potential for what “imaginative users” (also Levine) might do with the forms of academic or scholarly writing when they overlap or intersect with creative nonfiction, and vice versa;

+ The ways in which creative nonfiction is “portable” into the realm of scholarly communication.

Potential session participants are requested to respond to this CFP by emailing proposals of 300 words along with a biographical statement to Janine Utell, Professor and Chair of English, Widener University ( by MARCH 15, 2019.  Queries welcome.

NOTE: Proposals are also being solicited for a similar roundtable at AWP (San Antonio, March 4–7, 2020; DEADLINE March 15, 2019).  Potential participants interested in being considered for both roundtables should make this clear in their submission.