Update on the 2021 Convention

Although the 2021 convention will be shaped by the current crisis and may look different from what we anticipated, we are looking forward to the opportunity to bring MLA members together again in January and are working toward this goal. Many members have already submitted session proposals, which the Program Committee will review in May. We have also increased the number of just-in-time sessions and will invite your submissions for these in early August. The convention reflects the best intellectual energies of so many MLA members, and we are committed to creating a substantial platform to facilitate that exchange while ensuring the safety of our community. Please check here and on MLA 2021 page of the Web site for the latest updates on the convention, and we hope to see you in Toronto.

Suggestions Invited for PMLA Editor

The MLA is seeking a new editor of its flagship journal, PMLA. The term of the current editor, Wai Chee Dimock, ends in June 2021, and the new editor’s term, a three-year appointment, would begin 1 July 2021. Responsibilities include reviewing submissions, leading meetings of the editorial board, writing an editor’s column and selecting the content for each issue, and commissioning material and updating features and formats for the journal. The MLA offers the editor significant support from the staff, as well as resources for networking on behalf of the journal, including participation at the association’s annual convention.


The ideal candidate has a capacious intellectual vision and is conversant with developments in a wide range of fields. PMLA is a membership journal, and it is vital that the diversity of MLA members and their work be represented in the journal.

The editor should be able to work innovatively within the structures of the MLA and PMLA and to communicate and collaborate well with staff members and authors.

The editor must be a member of the MLA and preferably have had some experience with PMLA (as an author, a reviewer, or a member of the advisory committee or editorial board) or substantial editorial experience with another peer-reviewed scholarly journal in the field.

Please send your suggestions, along with background information on the people you suggest, to pmlaeditorsearch@mla.org by 22 July 2020.

Contribute to New MLA Volumes

The volume Approaches to Teaching the Poetry of Robert Frost, edited by Sean Heuston, is now in development in the MLA Approaches to Teaching World Lit­erature series. Instructors who have taught this work 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.

You are also invited to submit essay proposals for a new volume in development in the Options for Teaching series, Teaching Anglophone South Asian Diasporic Literature, edited by Nalini Iyer and Pallavi Rastogi. Abstracts must be submitted to the editors by 1 August 2020.

MLA Launches Matching Challenge to Fund COVID-19 Emergency Grants

To fund emergency grants for part-time faculty members who’ve been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the MLA has launched its first ever matching gift challenge. The MLA Executive Council, former MLA presidents, and the Teagle Foundation have pledged to match up to $10,0000 in contributions to the Paving the Way fund to underwrite the grants, which will help support contingent faculty members who may be losing income because of canceled classes, putting in additional hours without compensation to move classes online, or paying for technology to facilitate their online teaching.

If members and supporters contribute $10,000 to Paving the Way, the matching challenge will enable the MLA to distribute $20,000—or forty grants—to contingent faculty members. If you’d like to contribute and have your donation matched dollar for dollar, please choose Paving the Way on our online donation form.

COVID-19 Updates

MLA staff members are working remotely to make sure MLA resources are available to you, and we’ve created a new site that has information to help you move your course online. Please check this page regularly for the latest updates related to COVID-19 and the MLA.


  • The MLA has launched an emergency grant program to help part-time faculty members who’ve been hard hit by the outbreak. The $500 grants will be awarded by lottery. The application deadline is 1 May.
  • We’ve developed a new tool for teachers who want to set up a course site quickly. Log in to your Humanities Commons account or set up a free one. Choose Create a site, and then select Is this a course site? The Web site theme comes with sections for syllabi, lesson plans, a calendar, and more. Need help? Check out the demo and instructions.
  • To provide additional resources to those teaching remotely, we’ve released an early preview of Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities, a curated collection of syllabi, lesson plans, videos, and other resources for teaching and research. Check out the keywords and build your own collections of artifacts.
  • To help teachers find and evaluate resources for teaching, including remote instruction, the MLA has made relevant sections from recent MLA books available for free on the Scholarly Communication Web site.
  • Teaching MLA style remotely? A recording of our webinar MLA Style 101: A Hands-On Workshop is available for free.

Deadline Changes

  • The deadline for submitting proposals for the 2021 convention has been extended to 6 April. The Program Committee realizes that the COVID-19 situation, school closings, and shifts in teaching expectations will affect your ability to put together a convention proposal and will take all these factors into consideration when evaluating proposals.
  • All 1 April 2020 deadlines for MLA publication prizes have been changed to 1 May. If you or your publisher has submitted or is planning to submit a work for a 2020 publication prize, we ask that you send electronic copies to awards@mla.org.
  • The deadline to apply for an MLA Bibliography fellowship has been changed to 14 April.
  • The deadline to nominate yourself for a Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship or Seed Grant has been changed to 1 May. Find out more about the nomination process.


  • The Executive Council has issued a statement on COVID-19 and academic labor and signed on to a joint statement on faculty review and reappointment processes during the crisis.
  • Paula Krebs, the executive director of the MLA, has written an op-ed on how the COVID-19 outbreak and the move to online teaching is bringing to light the problems of higher education’s reliance on contingent labor.

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 2020 fellowships will run from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2023.

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.

Contribute to an MLA Approaches Volume on the Works of Margaret Atwood

The volume Approaches to Teaching the Works of Margaret Atwood, edited by Lauren Rule Maxwell, is now in development in the MLA series Approaches to Teaching World Literature. Instructors who have taught Atwood’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.

Contribute to an MLA Approaches Volume on the Works of Ralph Ellison

The volume Approaches to Teaching the Works of Ralph Ellison, edited by Tracy Floreani, is now in development in the MLA series Approaches to Teaching World Literature. Instructors who have taught Ellison’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.