Paper Submissions

Eligibility

Eligible members are invited to submit one (1) original critical essay OR one (1) creative work (creative non-fiction, poetry, or fiction) to be considered for presentation at the annual convention. Critical essays on any topic of interest in the discipline are welcome; papers on the works of our featured speakers or on the convention theme are especially encouraged.

Submissions for Common Reader

Individuals may submit one (1) additional submission on the Common Reader: Dear Martin, by Nic Stone to be considered for presentation at the annual convention. Submissions will follow the guidelines for Critical Essays and Creative Fiction. These submissions will include an explanatory description of fewer than 100 words that clarifies the connection between your own work and the Common Reader.

For more information, review the additional rules about what individuals can submit.

Stemmler/Dennis LGBT& Awards

To be considered for the new Stemmler/Dennis LGBT& Awards, any work that corresponds to an LGBTQ+ theme must select “LGBTQ+” under the Theme keyword, and any work that uses Queer Theory / LGBTQ+ Theory must select “Queer Theory / LGBTQ+ Theory.”

Paper Submission Guidelines

  • Submissions should not exceed either word or 15-minute time limits. Longer works or collections will not be considered.
    • Prose submissions should not exceed 2,000 words (excluding the title, footnotes, or bibliography/Works Cited) and should take no longer than 15 minutes to read.
    • Poetry submissions should take no more than 15 minutes to present; introductions to individual poems should be kept at a minimum or avoided entirely. Poets may present only those poems submitted and accepted. A poetry collection (two or more works) should have a title.
    • Collections of flash fiction will be considered, provided that the total length of the submission does not exceed the 2,000-word limit. The collection should have a title in addition to the titles for individual pieces within the collection.
    • Very short prose submissions, single poems, or very short poetry collections will be evaluated but will not be privileged over longer submissions. (We define “very short submissions” as those works that take fewer than 8 minutes to present).
  • Due to space constraints, any title of more than 50 characters will be abbreviated in the program. You are strongly encouraged to limit your own title accordingly. Remember that word processors will count characters for you.
  • Members will be asked to describe their works in more detail using keywords provided during the submission process with one keyword from each of the following four groups:
    1. a theme keyword
      (Any work that responds to the convention theme must select “convention theme” to be considered for a “convention theme” award; any work that corresponds to an LGBTQ+ theme must select “LGBTQ+” to be considered for the Stemmler/Dennis LGBT& Awards.)
    2. a genre keyword to characterize the genre of your creative work or the genre of the piece your critical work discusses;
    3. an author keyword to identify the author of the piece your critical work addresses or the author you respond to creatively; and
    4. a critical methodology keyword for your critical piece. For creative works, select “other” for critical methodology.
      (Any work that uses Queer Theory / LGBTQ+ Theory must select “Queer Theory / LGBTQ+ Theory” to be considered for the Stemmler/Dennis LGBT& Awards.)
    5. Common Reader submissions may be submitted under any of the Critical Essay or Creative Writing categories. These submissions will include an explanatory description of fewer than 100 words that clarifies the connection between your own work and the Common Reader.
  • Authors should submit only unpublished critical or creative works for consideration in a paper session.
  • Submissions remain anonymous for those who judge them, as the evaluation process is “blind.” Acceptance is based on the merit of the work alone. Members must not include any identifying information on submitted documents, including their name, the name of their institution, or the name of the faculty member to whom the work was originally submitted.
  • Decisions of the judges are final. No opportunity for revision and resubmission of a denied work will be provided.
  • Members must be present at the convention to read their own submissions. Essays or creative works will not be read on the author’s behalf.
  • Authors must be available to present anytime between Thursday, March 31 and Saturday, April 2, 2022. Exceptions will be made only for students who, for religious reasons, are unable to present on a particular day.
  • All works accepted for and presented at the convention automatically will be considered for the convention awards. Authors must present their works at the convention to be eligible for awards. No work that includes identifying information about the author will be considered for an award.

Categories of Submissions

Critical Essay

  • British Literature before 1500
  • Early Modern British Literature (1500-1750)
  • Enlightenment and Romanticism (1750-1850)
  • Victorian and Pre-War British Literature (1830-1914)
  • 20th/21st Century British Literature
  • Colonial American Literature
  • 19th Century American Literature
  • 20th/21st Century American Literature
  • Multicultural American Literature (African, Latinx, Native, Asian)
  • World Literature (Anglophone)
  • World Literature in translation
  • Popular Culture, Film, and Media
  • Teaching English Language/Literature; Practices/Pedagogy; ESL/TESOL
  • Linguistics or Rhetoric
  • Children’s/Young Adult Literature
  • Graphic Novels/Memoirs
  • AltLit
  • Common Reader Dear Martin

Creative Writing

  • Original Prose (Short Story/Flash Fiction/Fiction/Drama/Screenplay)
  • Original Poetry
  • Creative Non-Fiction
  • Common Reader, Dear Martin

Submission Descriptions

Critical Essay Thesis Statement

If your submission is a critical essay, include your one- to two-sentence thesis statement. If your want your work to be considered for a Common Reader award, you must add a second sentence that explains the relationship between your submission and Dear Martin.

Creative Work Project Description

If your submission is a creative work, add a one-sentence description of your process. E.g., “This collection of four poems was inspired by my relationship with my mother and took form in my fall 2020 poetry workshop.” If your want your work to be considered for a Common Reader award, you must add a second sentence that explains the relationship between your submission and Dear Martin.

Paper Format

Contributors must not identify themselves in any way on any page of text submitted. Your work may be disqualified should your name appear on any part of your submission, and you will not be considered for a convention award if your name appears in the document or file name.

Poetry

  1. Polish: Submitted work should be free of grammatical errors and mechanical mistakes.
  2. Formatting: Use a standard 12-point font (Times New Roman or Arial recommended). A collection of poems must be contained in one Word document file (doc, docx, or PDF). Each poem within the document should begin on a new page. Provide the title of your collection at the beginning of your document.
  3. File Name: Use the title of your collection as your file name. Do not use your own name in the file name.
  4. A poetry submission may consist of a collection of poems or one poem; presentations may not exceed 15 minutes, so manuscripts (and any introductory information) must be adjusted accordingly.
  5. Though formatting should be appropriate to the poem, most poems will be single-spaced, and both title and individual lines or stanzas will be left justified, that is, aligned on the left-hand margin. Avoid bold letters or underlining in titles, and do not put quotation marks around your own title(s).

Prose (Critical Essays, Creative Works)

  1. Polish: Submitted work should be free of typographical and grammatical errors. Titles of literary works identified within essays should be properly formatted.
  2. Formatting: Use a standard 12-point font (Times New Roman or Arial recommended). Essays should follow appropriate and updated style guidelines, such as MLA or APA. Work must be submitted as a Word document file (doc or docx).
  3. File Name: Use an abbreviated version of your title as your file name. Do not use your own name in your file name.
  4. Manuscripts should not exceed 2,000 words (excluding title, works cited/references, and notes) and should be double-spaced with one-inch margins. Titles should appear at the top of the first page, rather than in a running header or on a separate cover page, and should be centered. Avoid bold letters or underlining in titles; do not put quotation marks around your own title.
  5. Flash fiction: In addition to adhering to all other guidelines for prose, a flash fiction collection must include a title; each new piece should begin on a separate page. Also, be sure to use the phrase “flash fiction” when prompted to provide keywords in the submission process.

Submission Deadlines and Notifications

Submitters will receive confirmation, acceptance, and registration information via the email addresses associated with their accounts. Therefore, it is vital that members use email addresses that they check regularly and that will be active through April 2022.

  • Submissions are due Monday, November 1, 2021, 5:00 p.m. Central Daylight Savings Time (CDT).
  • Acceptance and denial notifications will be emailed no later than Wednesday, December 15, 2021.
  • Your confirmation to secure a presentation slot is due by Tuesday, January 18, 2022.

Submission Link

Locate the submissions link under the submissions menu tab of this website.

Please submit using a desktop computer or laptop. 
Be sure to set up your account with an email address you will retain through April 2022.

Questions

Questions regarding the online submission process should be addressed to the 2022 convention staff at englishconvention@niu.edu.

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