Dr. Leslie Petty Named Director of 2018 American Literature Association Conference

Dr. Leslie Petty with award-winning author Ishmael Reed.

Dr. Leslie Petty, associate professor and chair of the English department, was named as the director of this year’s American Literature Association Conference. The 29th annual conference was held May 24-27 in San Francisco, CA. 

The conference attracts the participation of many of the most distinguished scholars and creative writers in American literature. This year, featured speakers included Ishmael Reed, the award-winning author of Mumbo JumboThe Free-Lance PallbearersYellow Back Radio Broke-Down, and Conjure, as well as author and poet Giovanni Singleton. There was also a staged reading of George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo; author Maxine Hong Kingston was one of the actors.  

“I was honored to direct this year’s ALA conference,” says Petty. “Each year, this event brings together around a thousand scholars from across the country and the world, and for three days we discuss almost every aspect of American Literature. It’s invigorating scholarly community at its best.” 

The American Literature Association was founded in 1989 to encourage the study of American authors and provide opportunities for scholarly interaction. The association, a coalition of more than 100 author societies, is committed to exploring the richness and diversity of American writing.