Author Archives: sarataylorboissonneau

First Time Conference Presenter? We Have Some Last-Minute Tips for You!

Dear Colleagues,

We know that some of you will be presenting a paper at a national conference for the first time in a few days – congratulations! Presenting scholarly work at conferences is an important part of how we in academia nurture and disseminate knowledge about our chosen fields. Hopefully those of you who are new to this sphere of our profession have received help and advice from the advisers and professors with whom you work at your home institutions. But just in case, we thought we’d prepare a few tips so as to smooth your path and allay any anxiety you have about the experience.

First, double check your allotted speaking time (your session chair can provide you with this information). Depending upon whether you have three or four presenters on your panel, your allotted time will differ – make sure you know exactly how long you have to present. Speakers who go far overtime are a bane of conference-goers everywhere and in every field! Going over the limit steals time from panelists who follow you, and also, potentially from the Q & A; neither action will endear you to your peers, and it’s simply unprofessional. So tailor your paper accordingly: a good rule of thumb is that it will take you two minutes to read one double-spaced page.

Also, if your chair hasn’t already requested one from you, send her or him a brief biographical blurb or bring one with you to your session, so you can be introduced before you speak. (Brief is the key word here; remember, “brevity is the soul of wit”!)

Find your panel location in advance of giving your paper to avoid confusion and delay at your slotted time. Many of us “elders” have had the experience of being blasé and “winging it,” then not being able to find the room we’re supposed to be in, getting flustered and worried about tardiness – it’s not fun. Preparedness really is key, as some of us might remember from Girl Scout or Boy Scout days!

And perhaps most important: If you are unsure about how to give a conference paper – anything from pacing to making your argument – do approach colleagues who are experienced conference presenters. A good presentation really is its own creature: standing up and reading straight from a dissertation chapter, no matter how scintillating that chapter might be (and we’re sure it is!), is NOT a good idea. Listening to someone speak is a vastly different experience from reading, and the best public speakers have always taken that into account. So, for example, if your presentation began as text for a written venue (e.g., a draft journal article from which you’re taking one section), be sure to listen on your final practice runs for sentences you’ll want to shorten and/or words that can’t be processed by an audience hearing you speak your paper.

Also think about how you present yourself: many of us speed up when we’re nervous, and reading too quickly can also make your presentation difficult to follow. Take a deep breath, and take a drink of water if you need to do so; modulate your voice, and really talk to your audience. (Do you like to listen to a monotone voice? We didn’t think so! And BTW, that reminds us – make sure you have water with you!) LOOK at your audience – don’t look down and hide. (This also makes you hard to hear, especially for those not seated in the front.) Relax: anyone who comes to your panel has a real interest in your topic. They want to hear what you have to say, so think positively and say it!

During the Q and A, if it happens that one panelist doesn’t seem to be drawing as many comments and questions, reach out by re-directing a query his/her way: “What do you think about that question in the context of your project?”

That’s all for now! We hope that this little bit of advice, from people who totally have been there, helps! And once again, we’re very glad you’ll be joining us in Denver very, very soon!

-The Conference Planning Team


Graduate Student Dinners

Attention SSAWW Graduate Student Attendees,

We’re looking forward to meeting you all at the conference in just two weeks! We thought it would be nice to set up dinner groups so graduate students can hang out and get to know one another away from the conference venue. Please join us for food and fun at the following locations and times:

Wednesday, October 10: 7 PM meet in lobby and go to Rock Bottom Brewery 1001-16th St, 80265 (303) 534-7616 (hosted by Larisa Asaeli and Sara Taylor Boissonneau)

Thursday, October 11: 7 PM meet in lobby and go to The Cheesecake Factory, 1201-16th St., 80202 (303) 595-0333 (hosted by Larisa Asaeli [TCU] and Sara Taylor Boissonneau [UNCG])

Friday, October 12: 7PM meet in lobby and go to Marco’s Coal Fired Pizza (local, upscale pizza place. Pizza menu includes gluten free option. A little pricier but could be reasonable if pizzas are shared) (hosted by Kassia Waggoner [TCU] and Carrie Tippen [TCU).

Saturday, October 12: 7PM meet in lobby and go to TBA. (hosted by Jay Jay Stroup [TCU]).

Special thanks to Sarah Berg for compiling this information

Hoping to see many of you at one or more of these get-togethers,
Larisa Asaeli and Sara Taylor Boissonneau

Check out our Creative Writers!

Check out our creative writing panelists. We’re so excited to feature such a talented group. Books will be available for purchase and the authors will be available for signing. Our keynote speaker, Dorothy Allison, will read at 5pm following these two exciting panels!

Highlighting Today’s American Women Writers I

Friday, October 12:30-1:45pm

Maricela DeMirjyn, Ph.D., will chair the panel. She is Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at Colorado State University. She is the author of Las Madonnas Morenas: Feminist Narratives of Cultural & Sexual Spirituality. For more information, visit

Emma Pérez, Ph.D., is Chair and Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. She is the author of two novels Gulf Dreams and Forgetting the Alamo, or, Blood Memory, as well as the monograph The Decolonial Imaginary: Writing Chicanas into History. For more information, visit

Joy Castro, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English and Ethnic Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is the author of two memoirs, The Truth Book and Island of Bones, as well as the forthcoming novel Hell or High Water. For more information, visit and

Lily Hoang, is Assistant Professor of English, teaching Fiction in the MFA program at New Mexico State University. She is the author of Changing, Parabola, Unfinished, and The Evolutionary Revolutionary. For more information, visit and

Highlighting Today’s American Women Writers II

Friday, October 12, 2:00-3:15pm

Sasha Steensen is Professor of English at Colorado State University. She is the author of correspondence (with Gordon Hadfield), The Future of an Allusion, A History of the Human Family, A Magic Book, and The Method. Steensen plans to read from Sentences and Waters: A Lenten Poem. For more information, please visit and

Julie Carr is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Colorado-Boulder. She is the author of Mead: An Epithalamion, Equivocal, 100 Notes on Violence, and Sarah-Of Fragments and Lines. Carr will read from her poems “Real Life” and “Rag.” For more information, please visit and

Michelle Naka Pierce is Associate Professor and Director of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. She is the author of Continuous Frieze Bordering Red; She, A Blueprint (with artwork by Sue Hammond West); Beloved Integer; and Tri/Via (with Veronica Corpuz). Pierce will be reading from Continuous Frieze Bordering Red. For more information, please visit and

Keynote Speaker

Friday, October 12, 5:00-6:30pm

Dorothy Allison is the critically and popularly acclaimed author of the award-winning short-story collection, Trash (1989, expanded in 2002); a collection of poems, The Women Who Hate Me (1991); the novel Bastard Out of Carolina (1992), which was a finalist for the National Book Award; a collection of essays, Skin: Talking about Sex, Class and Literature (1995); a memoir, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure (1996); a second novel, Cavedweller (1999); and the forthcoming novel, She Who.

In 2007, Allison received the Robert Penn Warren Award for Fiction. She has also held several positions as writer-in-residence and/or Visiting Professor at universities across the U.S. According to Allison’s website, “she describes herself as a feminist, a working class storyteller, a Southern expatriate, a sometime poet and a happily born-again Californian.” Born in Greenville, South Carolina, Allison currently resides in Northern California with her partner and son.
Allison will speak at this year’s conference on Friday, October 12, from 5:00-6:30. Several of her works will be available for purchase, and she will do a signing after her talk.

Registration Reminder

Dear conference-goers:

As the final days wind down to the conference, we want to bring your attention to the closing date for on-line registration.

For those who have not yet registered for the conference but plan to come, please note that pre-registration will end on Thursday, September 27. After that date, we will no longer be accepting on-line registration. But don’t despair: you can register in Denver at the conference. Remember, however, that we can only accept cash and checks in Denver.

The cut-off date for signing up for meals is also September 27. Because we need to give our counts to the Westin in advance, we won’t be able accept any more meal reservations after that date. So while you can register at the conference, you won’t be able to sign up for the Mentoring Breakfast or Networking Lunch there.

If you’ve already registered on-line and wish to add one or both of the meals, please contact Virginia Uzendoski prior to September 27:

Everything seems to be falling into place, and we’re incredibly excited about it all. Looking forward to seeing you in Denver!

Your indefatigable conference team,

Deb Clarke, Sarah Robbins, and Maria Sanchez

Early Registration Deadline-July 16

This is just a reminder that the early registration deadline of July 16 is just a few days away.  Please visit the following link to register:

Creative Conversations Update!

Creative Conversations Update

New to the conference, “Creative Conversations” are an exciting opportunity to merge pedagogy and scholarship.  These sessions focus on the teaching of American women writers in a range of diverse contexts. Presenters will share content ideas for curriculum and/or pedagogical strategies. These sessions invite extensive dialogue, with all participants encouraged to share their ideas for enhancing teaching.

Here’s what’s in store:

Friday, October 12 at 9:30am

Creative Conversation #1:  Moving Young Adult and Children’s Literature into Our Teaching Canons (Cook)

Amanda Irvin, facilitator (Texas Christian University): “Teaching a Course with Girls at the Center”

Katharine Capshaw Smith (University of Connecticut): “Teaching Children’s Literature”

Derek Pacheco (Purdue University): “Transcendentalist, Whimsical, and Fantastical Children’s Fictions: Caroline Sturgis Tappan and Nathaniel Hawthorne”

Mary McCulley (Texas Christian University):“Teaching the Bildungsroman: The Secret Life of Bees

Friday, October 12 at 11:00am

Creative Conversation #2: Developing Creative Classroom Strategies (Cook)

Jill Gatlin, facilitator (New England Conservatory): “Acting out Early Environmental History: Public Citizenship and Moral Pollution Discourse in Rebecca Harding Davis, Boosterism, and Social Reform Rhetoric (an interdisciplinary town hall activity contextualizing Life in the Iron Mills)”

Terri Pantuso (Prairie View A & M University): “Creative Assignments for Studying American Women Writers”

Randi Lynn Tanglen (Austin College):“How to Use Literature Circles to Teach Popular and Canonical Literary Traditions”

Friday, October 12 at 2pm

Creative Conversation  #3: Citizenship as a Focus for Studying American Women Writers (Cook)

Ellen Gruber Garvey, chair (New Jersey City University)

Derek Pacheco (Purdue University): “Let Them Be Sea Captains: Women in Early America”

Michelle Sizemore (University of Kentucky): “Popular Culture and Civic Performance in a ‘Literature and U.S. Citizenship’ Course”

Rickie-Ann Legleitner (University of South Dakota): “Abandonment and the Nuclear Family: Revisioning Motherhood in Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping (a 1980 Novel)”

Friday, October 12 at 3:30pm

Creative Conversation #4:  (Re)figuring American Women Writers (Cook)

Priscilla Leder, facilitator (Texas State University at San Marcos)

Rita Bode (Trent University): “Increasing the Visibility of Women Writers in Courses using Other Organizing Rubrics”

Cynthia L. Patterson (University of South Florida): “Recovering Caroline Howard Gilman”

Namorah Gayle Byrd (Gloucester County College): “New Approaches to Teaching about Pocahontas”

Jennifer Jay Stroup (Texas Christian University): “Making Connections: ‘An Essay on Friendship’ from Milcah Martha Moore’s Book”

Saturday, October 13 at 9:00am

Creative Conversation #5:  Extending Our Ideas of What “Belongs” in Our Classrooms (Cook)

Julie Goodspeed-Chadwick, facilitator (Indiana University – Purdue University-Columbus: “Teaching American Women Writers in Cross-Listed Classes: Women Writers in/and Women’s Studies”

Emily Garcia (Northeastern Illinois University) :”Teaching Nineteenth-Century Women Writers Transnationally: Leonora Sansay and María Amparo Ruiz de Burton”

Courtney D. Marshall (University of New Hampshire):“Teaching Women’s Prison Literature and Gendering the Prison-Industrial Complex”

Saturday, October 13 at 2:30pm

Creative Conversation #6:  New Voices in the Classroom (Cook)

Annette Portillo, facilitator (University of Texas at San Antonio): “Feminist Writers of Color: Innovative Pedagogies (Testimonio, Creative Projects, & Service Learning)”

Jill Gatlin (New England Conservatory): “Student Book Reviews: Uncovering the Rhetoric of Otherness”

Larisa S. Asaeli (Texas Christian University): “Teaching Indigenous Women’s Rhetorics: Hawai`i’s Story by Hawai`i’s Queen by Liliu’okalani


Mentoring Breakfast and Regional Networking Luncheon at SSAWW Conference

Dear SSAWW Members

As you register for the conference, we’d like to remind you of some exciting opportunities at this year’s conference.  You can sign up for these events as part of your conference registration, here

On Friday, October 12 from 7:30am-9:15, there will be a Mentoring Breakfast.  This breakfast will include a roundtable presentation, “Belonging in the Profession:  Hearing from Mentors” with brief presentations from Susan K. Harris on P&T, Barbara McCaskill on service, and Kristin F. Allukian on graduate student concerns.  Following the roundtable discussion, the following people will staff individual tables to enable participants to discuss the designated topic.

Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman (Brandeis University): Going through the P&T process

Karen Kilcup (University of North Carolina at Greensboro): Evaluating P&T Cases

Kristin Allukian (University of Florida): Graduate Student Needs and Concerns

Deborah Clarke (Arizona State University): Directing Dissertations

Beth Widmaier Capo (Illinois College): Faculty Life at Small Colleges

John Ernest (West Virginia University): Publishing

Sharon M. Harris (University of Connecticut at Storrs): Getting a Book Accepted

Susan K. Harris (University of Kansas): Promotion to Full Professor

Kristin Jacobson (Stockton College): Academic Networking through Social Media

Donna Campbell (Washington State University): Setting up Professional Website

Barbara McCaskill (University of Georgia): Dealing with the Demands of Service

Carolyn Sorisio (West Chester University of Pennsylvania): The Job Search

Beth Lueck (University of Wisconsin at Whitewater): The Challenges and Rewards of Teaching-Intensive Jobs

We hope you’ll consider registering for this exciting opportunity.  Even though several of these topics are aimed at graduate students and junior faculty, we encourage anyone—regardless of career stage—to attend and share advice during the informal discussions following the roundtable.

On Saturday, October 13, from 12:30-2:00pm, there will be a Regional Luncheon designed as a networking opportunity for SSAWW members from across the country.  The idea here is that anyone, even if not affiliated with a regional chapter of SSAWW, can use this luncheon to make contact with SSAWW members from their home regions.  Leaders of regional chapters will have an opportunity to speak, and members from areas without regional chapters can ask questions about starting SSAWW activities in their area


SSAWW conference team