Announcing the 2024 First Book Institute: Call for Applications

deadline for submissions: 
February 12, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Center for American Literary Studies
contact email: 


The 2024 First Book Institute

June 2-8, 2024

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


Priscilla Wald, R. Florence Brinkley Distinguished Professor of English, Duke University, and Co-Editor of American Literature

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

The stakes of successful publishing by early career professors in humanities fields are as urgent as ever given the many challenges confronting institutions of higher education and university presses. Responding to a glaring need in the field, the First Book Institute—now in its twelfth year—features workshops and presentations led by institute faculty aimed at assisting participants in transforming their book projects into ones that promise to make a significant impact 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 for the institute, which is scheduled to be held in person at Penn State.

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 12, 2024, 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: