Final Reminder: First Book Institute Applications Due by 2/14 (Hard Deadline)

deadline for submissions: 
February 14, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Center for American Literary Studies
contact email: 


The 2022 First Book Institute

June 12-18, 2022

Hosted by the Center for American Literary Studies (CALS) at Pennsylvania State University


Sean X. Goudie, Director of the Center for American Literary Studies and Winner of the MLA Prize for a First Book

Priscilla Wald, R. Florence Brinkley Professor of English and Women’s Studies, Duke University, and Co-Editor of American Literature

The stakes of successful publishing by early career professors are more urgent than ever given the current state of higher education promotion and publishing.  Responding to a glaring need in the field, the First Book Institute—which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year—features workshops and presentations led by institute faculty aimed at assisting participants in transforming their book projects into ones that promise to make the most significant impact possible on the field and thus land them a publishing contract with a top university press.  Eight successful applicants will be awarded stipends to defray the costs of travel and lodging if the institute is held, as is tentatively planned, at Penn State.  However, a final decision on whether to hold the institute in person or virtually will be made prior to applicants being notified about the status of their applications in March.   

Applications to the First Book Institute are invited from scholars working in any area or time period of American literary studies who hold a PhD and are in the process of writing their first book (whether a revised and expanded dissertation or other project).  Applicants should not have negotiated a formal agreement of any kind with a press to publish their manuscript.  

Electronic applications, due by February 14, 2022, should include the following:

·       Application letter describing the project and anticipated timeline for completion

·       C. V.

·       Project abstract, including chapter summaries

·       Introduction or sample chapter

Please send all application materials in a single PDF file (and any queries) to

For more information about the First Book Institute, including video testimony about the inaugural First Book Institute from the participants and co-directors, please see: