Richard Wright Society at the American Literature Association 2023 Conference

deadline for submissions: 
January 21, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
The Richard Wright Society
contact email: 

American Literature Association

Richard Wright Society

May 25-28, 2023

Westin Copley Place, Boston, MA


The Richard Wright Society announces two sessions on Wright to take place at the 34rd Annual American Literature Association Conference, May 25-28 in Boston. 

Panel: The Posthumous and Unpublished Works of Richard Wright  

The smashing success of Richard Wright’s posthumous The Man Who Lived Underground (2021) reminds us that Wright’s vital contributions extend well beyond his long-canonical works such as Native Son and Black Boy. This panel invites examination of Wright’s long-lost and lesser-known works, whether drawn from unpublished manuscripts housed in the Richard Wright archive, or from posthumously published volumes (including, but not limited to, Lawd TodayAmerican Hunger, Wright's Haiku, The Man Who Lived Underground, and "Memories of My Grandmother"). How have the periodic emergence of major new texts from the archive affected how we see Wright's better-known contributions?  How do these lesser-known or newly emergent writings unsettle established understandings of Wright, illuminating his times as well as our own? 

Roundtable: Teaching Richard Wright 

This roundtable will bring together experiences and reflections on teaching the works of Richard Wright, in varied institutional and pedagogical contexts. How do students today respond to Wright’s work? What still resonates? What meets with resistance? How do different audiences respond to Wright differently? How do contemporary social conditions inflect Wright’s reception? What pedagogical strategies facilitate engagement with Wright’s work and the issues it illuminates? How can juxtaposing Wright with his and our contemporaries (from James Baldwin and Ta-Nehisi Coates, to Zora Neale Hurston and Isabel Wilkerson or Ibram X. Kendi) highlight the importance of Wright’s project for critical discourse and social movements today? We welcome success stories as well as tales of obstacle or impasse, and we remain open to contributions from those both inside and outside of traditional higher education classrooms: from high schools to public humanities and other community contexts—any place where Wright is read and taught.  

Abstracts of 250 words for either the roundtable or the panel should be submitted by January 21, 2023, to Joseph G. Ramsey at Please include a short bio and indicate if you would require any audio/visual equipment.