Deadline for submissions: September 30, 2017
Full name/name of organization: Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
Contact email:

Art, Responsibility, and Satire: The Challenges of Kurt Vonnegut’s Fiction

This panel for the 2018 Annual Convention for the Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA), to be held in Pittsburgh, PA, from April 12 to April 15, 2018, will examine the fiction of Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) on the eleventh anniversary of the author’s death on April 11, 2007.

Kurt Vonnegut’s fourteen novels and three short story collections, written over the course of five decades, express complex, sometimes shifting views about the meaning of art and the dimensions of human responsibility. Throughout his fiction, Vonnegut remained a committed satirist. Over a series of interviews with The Paris Review in the 1970s, Vonnegut described fiction itself as an inherently humorous endeavor: “If you make people laugh or cry about little black marks on sheets of white paper, what is that but a practical joke? All the great story lines are great practical jokes that people fall for over and over again.”

This panel seeks papers that explore the challenges of Kurt Vonnegut’s fiction, particularly in relation to his evolving artistic vision in the various phases of his career; his speculations about human agency and responsibility; and his use of satire and humor. Papers may focus on single works or multiple books, and consider any number of topics and subtopics that touch on these larger themes.

Paper proposals (300 words) may be submitted between June 15, 2017, and September 30, 2017, and must be posted through NEMLA’s online system at

The panel description and link to submit an abstract for this panel are available at

Decision emails will be sent out after the submission deadline, no later than October 15, 2017. NeMLA requires that accepted panelists pay their membership/registration fees by December 1, 2017, in order to present at the 2018 convention. Please send any questions about the specific panel to Jeffrey Hotz at