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Submission Information

Conference Theme: Contemporary Responses, Critical Contexts.

Kenneth Burke once described the process of doing literary criticism by comparing the work to attending a cocktail party. You arrive late, he noted, and find that a conversation is occurring. After standing on the fringes of the group long enough to apprehend the nature of the conversation, you decide to enter it and offer your opinion.

Our conference theme seeks to employ both elements of Burke's metaphor: the context in which a critical conversation has taken place and the current discussions about the issue in question. By becoming aware of what has been said can we as critics hope to enter the conversation and have an impact on its direction? Our conference provides a forum for just these sorts of conversations, as we invite students to present their ideas about literature in the form of analytical and research papers, and then facilitate discussions of these papers in small-group settings. Finally, our keynote speech aims to interject another critical perspective to help foster conversations even after the conference ends.

Types of Submissions

Scholarly papers should engage contemporary literary criticism as they grapple with a work of literature, an author, a literary problem. Analytical and interpretive papers should be carefully argued, as comprehensive as possible in their treatment of a text or texts, and aware of the influence on their views of the contemporary cultural context. The conference is particularly interested in encouraging students to investigate how the mix of contemporary literary criticism and contemporary student readers can provide insights into potentially age-old questions surrounding literary works.

While the primary emphasis of NUCL is on critical writing, we also invite student poets and essayists to submit 1 essay, or a suite of 5-7 poems. Those chosen will read their work in a few sessions reserved for original poetry and essays. Submitted student poetry and essays should reflect reading experience in contemporary poetry and creative non-fiction.

  • Argumentative Scholarly papers on American, British, or World Literature
  • Analytical/ interpretive papers that present a well-supported argument aware of the influence on it of the contemporary cultural context
  • Original poems
  • Original personal essays
  • Presentation of a special research project (completed and presented with an attending faculty sponsor)

Qualifications and Requirements:

  • Open to undergraduate students and advanced high school students
  • Submission must be an original work (see below for evidence requirement)
  • Presentation of submission cannot exceed 18 minutes when read aloud. We will not accept papers longer than 10 pages in length
  • Student poets should submit 5-7 poems
  • Student essayists should submit only 1 essay (length limited to what can be read in 15 minutes)

How to Submit:

Complete the NUCL Submission Form here.

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