Contribute to an MLA Approaches Volume on the Works of George Orwell

The volume Approaches to Teaching the Works of George Orwell, edited by Patricia Rae, is now in development in the MLA series Approaches to Teaching World Literature. Instructors who have taught Orwell’s works are encouraged to contribute to the volume by completing a survey about their experiences. Information about proposing an essay is available at the end of the survey.


Results of 2021 Ratification Vote

Voting on the 2021 ratification ballot concluded at 11:59 p.m. (EDT) on 30 April. Members ratified the election of Bei Dao and Reina María Rodríguez to honorary fellowship in the association. Support for the candidates averaged 96.5% of the members who voted. Both candidates will be invited to accept the honor.

MLA Members Named Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The Modern Language Association congratulates the five MLA members who were named 2021 fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in recognition of their contributions to the humanities.

  • Ian Baucom, University of Virginia
  • Eric L. Santner, University of Chicago
  • Hortense J. Spillers, Vanderbilt University
  • Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Columbia University
  • Deborah F. Tannen, Georgetown University

MLA Endorses Twenty-First-Century Federal Writers’ Project Act

The MLA has strongly endorsed the Twenty-First-Century Federal Writers’ Project Act, proposed by Congressman Ted Lieu and Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernandez, which would establish a grant program in the Department of Labor to assist unemployed and underemployed workers whose careers have been severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Like its predecessor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Federal Writers’ Project of 1935, which documented the Great Depression, the new project aims to create opportunities for writers and researchers to engage in the crucial work of recording the immeasurable and lasting impact of this historic period on the United States.

Paula Krebs, the executive director of the MLA, whose proposal for a new WPA sparked a collaboration with Congressman Lieu’s office, affirms this bill’s importance and enormous potential, maintaining that

COVID-19 has had profound effects on the employment of writers and researchers in this country, and Congressman Lieu’s bill would serve the double purpose of collecting the stories of the pandemic for use by future generations and also putting back to work many of the nation’s most talented writers and researchers, whose careers have been devastated by the effects of the pandemic. Students and researchers benefit daily from the work made possible by FDR’s Federal Writers’ Project, and, with the passage of this bill, the same will be true for future generations looking to study the impact of COVID-19 on American culture and history.

Introduced on the eighty-sixth anniversary of the founding of the original Federal Writers’ Project, this legislation, as the American Council of Learned Societies’ president, Joy Connolly, asserts, “is urgently needed in helping us understand what we have been through and guiding us through the next steps in moving forward.”

MLA Members Awarded ACLS Fellowships

Congratulations to the five MLA members among those awarded 2021 American Council of Learned Societies fellowships, which support outstanding scholarship in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. The projects recognized include a book about free verse as a racialized construction that created barriers for Black and Indigenous poets and critics and another about renowned authors who were also transformative teachers and educational activists and whose experiences in public universities fundamentally altered the course of American literature.


Georgia Henley, Saint Anselm College
Project title: Memory on the Margins: Reimagining the Past in the Medieval Anglo-Welsh Borderlands

Erin Kappeler, Tulane University
Project title: The Songs of White Folk: Anti-Blackness, Settler Colonialism, and the Invention of Free Verse

Jay David Miller, University of Notre Dame
Project title: Quaker Jeremiad

Danica Savonick, State University of New York, Cortland
Project title: Insurgent Knowledge: The Poetics and Pedagogy of Toni Cade Bambara, June Jordan, Audre Lorde, and Adrienne Rich in the Era of Open Admissions

Erin A. Spampinato, Colby College
Project title: Awful Nearness: A Literary and Cultural History of Rape, 1740–1900

MLA Members Receive 2021 Guggenheim Fellowships

Congratulations to the seven MLA members among the winners of the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships announced in April 2021. The projects recognized include Eavesdropping: The Poetry of Blind Listening; migrant testimony, aesthetics, and resistance in the current European refugee crisis; and Islamic jurisprudence and culture in the crypto-Muslim communities of early modern Spain and Portugal.


Vincent Barletta, Stanford University
Field of study: Medieval and Renaissance History

Tarek El-Ariss, Dartmouth College
Field of study: Literary Criticism

John S. Garrison, Grinnell College
Field of study: English Literature

Stephen Kuusisto, Syracuse University
Field of study: Poetry

Tracie Morris, University of Iowa
Field of study: Poetry

Laura Otis, Emory University
Field of study: English Literature

Debarati Sanyal, University of California, Berkeley
Field of study: European and Latin American Literature

Propose an MLA Volume

The MLA book program is always eager to hear your ideas for books you would like to propose. We are especially interested in three areas at the moment:

  • our series of MLA Guides, which are companions to the MLA Handbook. These short single-authored volumes are intended to support students in developing skills they need in undergraduate study. The first volumes are on digital literacy and research in literature. We are open to your recommendations and proposals for volumes on other topics.
  • Spanish-language works for the MLA Texts and Translations series, including texts from Latin America, Spain, and any other locations. Single works and collections in any genre are welcome. We prefer new translations of works that are in the public domain and not already easily accessible.
  • further volumes in composition and rhetoric, including both edited collections and monographs

Feel free to contact the acquisitions editors at with your ideas and inquiries.

Contribute to a New MLA Volume

You are invited to submit essay proposals for a new nonseries volume tentatively titled Getting to the Finish Line: New Directions for the Dissertation Process. Edited by Gretchen Busl, Kristina Reardon, and Courtney Ferriter, this collection will address the practical and theoretical underpinnings of dissertations that look like something other than a single-authored scholarly monograph, exploring both the process and product of the dissertation as it moves into new conceptualizations. Proposals must be submitted to the editors by 15 May 2021.

1 April Deadline for MLA Bibliography Fellowship Applications

The deadline to apply for a three-year field-bibliography fellowship from the MLA International Bibliography is approaching! MLA field bibliographers examine scholarly materials and submit bibliographic and indexing information for citations in the bibliography. Open to all MLA members, including graduate students, the 2021 fellowships will run from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2024.

Field bibliographers perform a valuable service for the profession and receive institutional recognition while deepening their knowledge of the field as well as their research skills. The MLA provides materials and training and waives registration fees for fellows attending training sessions at the MLA convention. On completion of the fellowship, fellows receive a $500 stipend and a certificate at the convention awards ceremony.

For more information and to submit an application, visit the MLA Bibliography Fellowships page.