1921 Prize in American Literature

The American Literature Society is pleased to invite submissions for the 1921 prize, which is awarded annually for the best article in any field of American literature. The prize is named for the year the organization was initially founded “to promote and diversify the study of American Literature.” Judged by a panel comprised of members of the American Literature Society Advisory Board and other scholars in the field, the competition will be divided in two categories: one for tenured faculty and one for graduate students, scholars in contingent positions, and untenured faculty members. The winner will be announced at the 2018 MLA awards ceremony. For any questions, please contact ALS chair Claudia Stokes at cstokes@trinity.edu.

Rules for competition:

  • Submissions must be published during the calendar year of 2017. For submissions that have not yet appeared in print by the September 1 deadline, authors are requested to provide verification that their essay will be published within the calendar year.
  • Articles must appear in one of the following journals: African American Review; American Literary History; American Literature; American Periodicals; Callaloo; Early American Literature; ESQ; J19; Legacy; MELUS; Studies in American Fiction; and Studies in American Indian Literatures. Essays that appear elsewhere will not be considered.
  • Please send an electronic copy of the nominated essay (PDF preferred) to the Prize Committee by September 1, 2017 at 1921prize@gmail.com.
  • Authors must be members of the American Literature Society to be eligible for consideration. Membership is free of charge. To join the society, please visit http://www.als-mla.org/als/
  • No person may nominate more than one essay in a given year.

2017 Winners

2016 Winners

Tenured Category

Wilson, Sarah. “Black Folk by the Numbers: Quantification in Du Bois.” American Literary History 28:1 (2016), 27-45.

Untenured Category

Forbes, Erin. “Do Black Ghosts Matter? Harriet Jacobs’ Spiritualism.” ESQ 62:3 (2016).