The University of South Dakota Department of English will be hosting the biennial John R. Milton Writers’ Conference October 27-29, 2011. The three-day literary event will include readings and book signings by award-winning featured authors, scholarly panel sessions exploring the conference theme of “Outlaw!: Law and (Dis)order in the American West,” as well as creative writing panels and pop culture sessions. Other conference highlights include a showcase presentation of University of South Dakota graduate creative writing students, a conference book fair, as well as a poetry slam sponsored by the Vermillion Literary Project at the Muenster University Center pit lounge featuring poet Kristin Naca. Conference lunches (with musical entertainment), and a conference banquet will provide opportunities to socialize and interact with other writers, scholars, and conferees.
This year’s visiting featured writers will include Mark Spragg (keynote), Sherwin Bitsui, Kristin Naca, Karen Gettert Shoemaker, William Trowbridge, and USD visiting writer David Marshall Chan, who will give readings and book signings along with permanent USD creative writing faculty Ed Allen and Lee Ann Roripaugh. Prior year’s conferences have brought in well over 100 attendees, including presenting writers and scholars from all across the region and nation—including even the occasional international conferee.
The biennial John R. Milton Writers’ Conference was established in 1998 to celebrate the life and work of University of South Dakota English Professor and South Dakota Review founder John R. Milton. The conference pays tribute to John R. Milton’s lifelong engagement with and commitment to Western writers and literature. With respect to this year’s theme of “Outlaw!: Law and (Dis)Order in the American West,” conferees are invited to submit paper and/or panel proposals that consider (but aren’t limited to) some of the following topics: law and (dis)order in Western American literature, history, and culture; law and (dis)order in relationship to broken treaties, obligatory assimilation, as well as post-colonial and/or indigenous studies in American Indian literature, history, and culture; law and (dis)order in the American West with respect to environmental issues and ecocriticism; outlaw as myth and fantasy space in the American West; outlaw as Other; gender outlaws, and/or queering the American West; borders, border crossings, and boundary transgressions; virtual outlaws, and/or outlaws in the “new frontier” of cyber-space; and representations of outlaws and/or law and (dis)order in popular culture (including, but not limited to, HBO’s Deadwood and Joss Whedon’s Firefly, Westerns (both film and television), graphic novels, and science fiction.
This year’s event is sponsored by the College of Arts & Sciences, the Department of English, Barnes & Noble, South Dakota Review, the John R. Milton Endowment and the Wayne S. and Esther M. Knutson Endowment of the USD Foundation, and Mr. and Mrs. Philip A. Riley, Jr., as well as by grants from the South Dakota Humanities Council.
Registration is open to the public and USD alumni/ae are especially welcome. For detailed conference information, please visit https://miltonconference.wordpress.com or contact the Department of English at (605) 677-5229.