Richard Wright Society Announces Two ALA Sessions

deadline for submissions: 
January 21, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Alison Arant, Wagner College
contact email: 

American Literature Association

May 26-29, 2022

Palmer House, Chicago, Illinois


In an effort to organize a new Richard Wright Society, this call announces two sessions on Wright, along with an organizing meeting, to take place at the 33rd Annual American Literature Association Conference.


Roundtable: Richard Wright’s Place in the Canon

This roundtable will feature approximately seven scholars and focus on Wright's place in the canon and his achievements. The recent publication of The Man Who Lives Underground--hailed by some as his most significant work--makes this an especially opportune moment to reconsider Wright and his ongoing relevance to contemporary issues like police brutality, notions of American exceptionalism, and the role of the publishing industry itself in shaping Wright’s work and reputation.  


Panel: Richard Wright and Chicago

This panel examines Wright and his relationship to Chicago, his first home in the urban North. Possible topics could include his relationship to the great migration, his initial engagement with communism, his early successes as a writer and the formation of his relationships with other Chicago writers and intellectuals, his relationship to the Chicago School of Sociology, and many others.


Roundtable contributors, panelists, and any other interested attendees are warmly encouraged to participate in the organizing meeting for the new Richard Wright Society and to help shape the Society’s structure, priorities, and plans.


Abstracts of 250 words for either the roundtable or the panel should be submitted, along with a short bio, to Alison Arant at by January 21, 2022.