This year’s conference will take place on Friday, April 17, 2020

Any current UMA student may submit work written for a literature, American Studies, film, theory, or creative writing course to the conference. Email Lisa Botshon ( with questions.


  • We will accept either abstracts (200 to 300-word summaries) or full essays.
  • Please make sure your name and contract information is on everything you submit.
  • Essays should be about 5 pages long.
  • For poets, 3 to 5 short poems equals one submission.
  • Essayists should submit only 1 essay.
  • Fiction writers should submit only 1 story.
  • The deadline for submission is Friday, March 13.

Why submit a proposal?

  • to give your scholarly work a wider audience than it gets in a class
  • to deepen your discussion of literature with your student colleagues as well as your professors
  • to develop skills in public speaking and presentation
  • to add professional experience to your résumé

Selection and notification

Proposals will be read and selected by students in the ENG 499 Senior Seminar course. All students will be contacted by March 28.

Submitting your Abstract

Please send an email with the following information to:

  • Your name
  • phone number
  • email address
  • the type of submission (critical or research paper, poetry, fiction or non-fiction)
  • the abstract or paper. Please include a title for your paper. Abstracts should not exceed 150 words.
  • when on Friday, April 17, you will most likely be available to present your work, if selected: morning, 9:00 am-12:00 noon, or afternoon, 1:00 pm-3:00 pm

When and where will the conference be held?
The conference will be held on Friday, April 17, 2020, on the Augusta campus. Panels will be held in various classrooms. Bangor area students may request a round-trip bus ride from the Bangor campus to Augusta.

Who is eligible to submit proposals?
Any UMA student may submit a proposal to present work written either independently or for an upper-division (200+) course in literature, American studies, film studies, theory, or creative or professional writing.

Who may attend?
All members, alumni, friends, and guests of the UMA English Department are welcome to attend.

Why should I participate?
Conference participation helps you hone your writing, research, and presentation skills, allows you to share your work with colleagues, and helps you to build your resume for graduate or professional school.

How long should the paper be?
Presentations should be about 10 minutes long. This translates into approximately 5 double-spaced pages.

If something has been previously published, is that appropriate? 
Yes, it is entirely appropriate to present creative work that has been previously published.

What is the deadline for submission?
The deadline for submission is Friday, March 13.

When will I hear whether my submission has been accepted for the conference?
Acceptance notices will go out via email by March 28, if not before.

What happens if something conflicts with my presentation time, a conflict that comes up between submission and acceptance? Can I reschedule?
We will make every effort to change your time. Contact

How is the conference organized?
The conference will feature multiple panels, each featuring three or four presenters. Each presenter will have 10-15 minutes to make their presentation. Each panel will have a moderator who introduces the speakers and facilitates discussion in a way appropriate for the particular session. The moderator is also the timekeeper and may stop a speaker who goes over the time limit.

How early before my presentation do I need to arrive?
Plan to arrive at the room assigned to your presentation at least 5-10 minutes before the session start time to meet your session chair (make sure the chair can pronounce your name) and other panel members.

Will people ask me questions about my presentation?
Yes! Each session will have a moderator who will facilitate a question and answer session after all presenters have presented their work. This is a time to learn, ask questions, and celebrate your work and that of others. It’s entirely okay to say, “I don’t know” or “I’ll check on that and get back to you.” Relax and let the moderator get the conversation going.

Do I have to stay for the entire conference?
No, we recognize that you may have class, job, or family commitments. We very much hope you will attend all or most of the sessions. It’s important for each presenter to have a good audience and for all of us to have a chance to interact and share ideas. Keep in mind that at conferences it is considered professional for presenters to stay for the entire panel session in order to hear all speakers and engage in discussion.

What is a proposal? And what does one look like? 
For this conference you may submit either an abstract or the entire paper. An abstract is a short 100-200-word summary of what your work is about. A good abstract will give the organizers a good idea of what you want to say, why you are saying it, and why they should be interested. If you are planning to read poems or a short piece of fiction, a short summary or excerpt of the piece is sufficient for the purposes of this conference.


Tips for Presenters:

How should I prepare for the presentation?
Practice out loud. Test your presentation on a family member or friend. Make sure it’s within the 15-minute limit and that it reads smoothly. Practice making occasional eye contact with your audience.

Experiment with format. You don’t have to hand in conference papers for a grade. Try using slightly larger type and double spacing to make it easy to read and to write in last minute edits or suggestions from the discussion. Page numbers are essential.

Consider printing an extra copy of your paper in case you need a backup.

Should I use a handout or PowerPoint?
Speakers usually prepare handouts only when they have a lot of complicated or long quotations that would be too difficult to follow aurally. PowerPoint presentations are also encouraged.