deadline for submissions: 
February 5, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
IUP English Graduate Organization
contact email: 

The year 2020 was an unprecedented year for many. We lived in a world of isolation from friends and family, deprivation of many normal activities (e.g. going out to a restaurant), and the constant state of paralyzing fear of getting sick or worse, watching our loved ones perish from the insidious virus that forced us all into a state of undesired pause. If we could only use one noun to describe the year that was 2020, it would be adversity. Where there is great adversity, there is great opportunity to rise like the mythological phoenix from the ashes to become stronger, greater, and more evolved. With this in mind, the 2021 English Graduate Organization’s Conference, entitled Phoenix: Responses to Adversity, will celebrate human achievement during times that have “tried men’s souls” (as Charles Dickens would aptly say). 


For this virtual conference, the English Graduate Organization is seeking original submissions that address and exuberate the act of achievement in the face of incredible adversity that has crippled not only our nation, but the world. Both scholarly and creative pieces are encouraged. Our conference will be held in an online format from March 1-6th, 2021. Video submissions of your paper will be submitted for viewing March 1-4th, 2021 with panel questions and answers being held on the 5th and 6th. We hope that this conference is a time to bring light into the darkness, to combat fear with love, and to remember the joy that it is to be alive.


Questions to Consider:

  • How is adversity defined?

  • What other moments of phoenix-like adversity in history have been memorialized in literature?

  • How do other cultures respond in the face of adversity?

  • How does the language respond/change during difficult times?

  • What pieces based on adversity have you written?

  • How has the phoenix been represented within literature as a symbol of facing adversity?


All submissions should be emailed to by February 5th, 2021. 

If you have any questions, please email Kimberly Bressler, EGO President (