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Northwest Undergraduate Conference on Literature (NUCL)

Saturday, March 24, 2018

NUCL 2018 Program

Keynote Speaker: Kenneth Warren, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor of English, University of Chicago

Keynote Address: "Does Literature Change Anything?: Lessons from African American Writing"

Kenneth Warren

Professor Warren’s scholarship and teaching focus on American and African American literature from the late nineteenth century through the middle of the twentieth century. In books including What Was African American Literature? (Harvard 2010), So Black and Blue: Ralph Ellison and the Occasion of Criticism (Chicago, 2003), and Black and White Strangers: Race and American Literary Realism (Chicago, 1993), Warren’s research considers how American literature by black and white writers helped consolidate, and subsequently responded to, Jim Crow America. Among other vital topics, his work explores the uncomfortable possibility that our desire to value the work of twentieth-century American authors—even those authors who, like Ellison, set out to challenge the nation's racial status quo—might, paradoxically, tend to underwrite our commitment to a social order that naturalizes forms of inequality. 

The Northwest Undergraduate Conference on Literature creates a professional atmosphere to promote student criticism and challenge student critics. NUCL gives undergraduate and advanced high school students an opportunity to present their own scholarly papers or creative works in organized panels of their peers. Students are able to share and discuss their knowledge through these presentations, and are encouraged to participate in the discussion of fellow NUCL papers. Aside from presenting their papers, and listening to papers written by their peers, students are invited to attend NUCL's keynote speakers, who are noted academics and writers in the field of literature.


  • NUCL is open to college and university students and honors or advanced-placement high school students.
  • Conference sessions include 3-4 papers, plus student respondents facilitating discussion.
  • NUCL invites 15-18 minute papers embodying your own, fresh response to an English or foreign language literary text, or texts (we will not accept papers longer than 10 pages in length and papers must be written in English). Consult "Submission Information" for more details.
  • We welcome students to submit papers as part of pre-formed panels; email for more information on how to do this.
  • While the primary emphasis of NUCL is on critical/scholarly writing, NUCL also invites student poets and essayists to submit 1 essay, or 5-7 poems. Those chosen will read their work in a few sessions reserved for original poetry and personal essays.
  • Prizes are given for best critical paper, best creative submission, best high-school paper, and the "Brass NUCL Award" for the hardest-hitting paper.

  • All whose work is chosen for NUCL will receive official record of their participation.

Come back to this website frequently for up-to-date information about NUCL, the conference speaker, deadlines, and registration. Or please contact conference chair Molly Hiro at

NUCL is sponsored by the Department of English, the Provost's Office, the College of Arts & Sciences, and the Dean of Admissions.

"To talk in public, to think in solitude, to read and to hear, to inquire, and to answer inquiries, is the business of a scholar." — Samuel Johnson, Chapter VIII, The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia