Academics wanted for Updike encyclopedia entries

The online Literary Encyclopedia is commissioning entries on the works of John Updike. Entries are usually between 1500 and 2500 words and deadlines can be negotiated according to the needs of the individual contributor. Please contact the editor of the Encyclopedia, Grace Moore ( if you are interested in writing one or more entries. Entries may be by academics at any career stage, including PhD candidates and early career scholars. Authors receive free access to the publication, which contains almost 10,000 peer-reviewed articles.

  1. Rabbit, Run
  2. Rabbit Redux
  3. Rabbit is Rich
  4. Rabbit at Rest
  5. Couples
  6. The Centaur
  7. Of the Farm
  8. The Witches of Eastwick
  9. The Widows of Eastwick
  10. Bech: A Book
  11. Bech is Back
  12. Bech at Bay
  13. Gertrude and Claudius
  14. My Father’s Tears, and Other Stories
  15. Too Far to Go
  16. Problems, and Other Stories
  17. Pigeon Feathers
  18. The Same Door
  19. The Music School
  20. Museums and Women
  21. The Afterlife, and Other Stories
  22. Toward the End of Time
  23. Seek My Face
  24. The Poorhouse Fair
  25. Marry Me
  26. The Coup
  27. Brazil
  28. Trust Me
  29. Villages
  30. Memories of the Ford Administration
  31. Licks of Love: Short Stories and a Sequel, ‘Rabbit Remembered’
  32. Self-Consciousness
  33. Endpoint, and Other Poems
  34. Higher Gossip: Essays and Criticism
  35. More Matter: Essays and Criticism
  36. Due Considerations: Essays and Criticism
  37. Odd Jobs: Essays and Criticism
  38. Hugging the Shore
  39. Picked-Up Pieces
  40. Just Looking: Essays on Art
  41. Still Looking: Essays on American Art
  42. Facing Nature: Poems
  43. Americana and Other Poems
  44. Telephone Poles
  45. Tossing and Turning
  46. The Carpentered Hen, and Other Tamed Creatures
  47. Buchanan Dying
  48. The Early Stories: 1953-1975
  49. Collected Poems, 1953-1993
  50. Seventy Poems
  51. Golf Dreams
  52. Jester’s Dream

India-based journal to publish special Updike issue

Dossier of the Muses, an International Journal of Literary Studies, announced that Vol. 2:1 (July 2023) will be devoted to John Updike. The journal is based at Govt. College for Women M.A. Road, Srinigar Cluster University, Srinigar, J&K India, and the editor-in-chief, Prof. (Dr.) Ruhi Jan Kanth, is still accepting submissions until March 15, 2023, with revisions of accepted papers due April 30. Before submitting to, read the updated submission guidelines at

Participants sought for Updike panel at ALA-Santa Fe symposium

Drury Plaza Hotel, Santa Fe

The John Updike Society will hold their 7th biennial conference in Tucson, Ariz. in the fall of 2023, but there’s an opportunity for some scholars to go to a different part of the American Southwest a year earlier.

After a two-year hiatus, the ALA will host a fall symposium in Santa Fe, N.M. in October 2022 on “The Historical Imagination in American Literature,” with Deborah Clarke (Arizona State University) serving as keynote speaker.

The Updike Society has been invited to sponsor a session, and a natural topic for papers or a discussion-based panel would seem to be “The Backdrop of History and Imagined Significance in John Updike’s Fiction,” which allows presenters to explore some of the many historical references in the novels and short stories and explicate their connections to Updike’s themes and narrative action.

The symposium will take place October 27-29 at the Drury Plaza Hotel in Santa Fe. The conference fee is $175, and rooms are $135 per night. Santa Fe has a population of 87,505 but is part of the metropolitan area of Albuquerque/Santa Fe/Las Vegas, which has a population of 1.2 million. Santa Fe is known for the arts and for its connections to indigenous people.

As for the topic, conference director Olivia Carr Edenfield offers these thoughts-as-prompts:

Hotel lobby

“The Historical Imagination in American Literature:  What does it mean to envision and embody history in American writing?  How does a “usable past” shape our fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction? What philosophical, psychological, and political factors shape how writers look at a moment of time?  How do regional differences shape our historical perspectives? How do race, class, and gender influence the perception and presentation of historical realities? How important is the historical novel to our culture? How do the alternate histories of speculative fiction transform our understanding of time? 

Three papers and a moderator are needed for a traditional panel; five participants and a moderator make up a discussion-based roundtable. The direction the Society takes will be shaped by the response.

Participation is not limited to members of the Updike Society. Send proposals and expressions of interest to James Plath,

Artisan Market, Palace of the Governors, downtown Santa Fe

Announcing a Call for Papers for the 6th John Updike Society Conference

The John Updike Society is now accepting proposals for papers to be presented at the Sixth Biennial John Updike Society Conference at Alvernia University, Reading, Pennsylvania, in fall 2020. The conference will coincide with the October 3 grand opening and October 3 dedication of the newly restored John Updike Childhood Home in Shillington, Pennsylvania, which the Society purchased in 2012 and has turned into a museum. Attendees will also be able to register for group side trips to Updike sites in Berks County and/or a day trip to Philadelphia.

We welcome one-page proposals for 15-20 minute papers on all aspects of Updike’s life and work, but especially seek proposals on:

—Works dealing with Updike’s childhood as described in his fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, including Midpoint, Pigeon Feathers, Self-Consciousness, The Centaur, and Olinger Stories.

—Updike works celebrating a milestone anniversary in 2020: Rabbit, Run (60th), Bech: A Book (50th), Rabbit at Rest (30th), and Gertrude and Claudius (20th).

Toward the End of Time, since 2020 is the year in which the novel is set.

We will also entertain proposals for panel discussions focused on individual works, groups of works, or themes in Updike’s fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Scholars who have recently published a book or are in the process of writing a book on Updike are encouraged to submit proposals for panel discussions.

Send proposal and a brief one- or two-paragraph bio to:  Program director Larry Mazzeno:

Successful proposals will be acknowledged within two weeks of receipt. To present a paper or moderate a panel at the conference, participants must be members of The John Updike Society and register for the conference. For membership information, see the Society’s website at Those who have papers accepted can join when they register for the conference. Registration information and further conference information will be forthcoming.

The very first John Updike Society conference was hosted by Alvernia University in 2010 (Ann Beattie, Lincoln Perry keynotes), with the second conference held at Suffolk University in Boston (Joyce Carol Oates, keynote), the third at Alvernia again (Adam Begley, Chip Kidd keynotes), the fourth at the University of South Carolina (Garrison Keillor keynote), and the fifth at the University of Belgrade in Serbia (Ian McEwan keynote). All are welcome to attend, whether presenting papers or not, as the John Updike Society is a gregarious blend of scholars, teachers, aficionados, Updike family and friends, and the kind of “just plain readers” that Updike so appreciated.


Participants sought for New Orleans panel on Updike short fiction

John Updike Society board member Robert Luscher is looking for Updike enthusiasts to participate in a panel at a September 5-7, 2019 symposium in New Orleans hosted by The Society for the Study of the American Short Story. Proposals are due by June 15, 2019. If interested, send a short abstract (100-200 words) on proposed topics to Robert Luscher (luscherr@unk) no later than June 7.

Further information on the conference, “The American Short Story: New Considerations” can be found in the official Call for Papers. The symposium will be held at the Hotel Monteleone, a historic 1886 hotel in the heart of the French Quarter located within a short walk of virtually all the literary locations. It’s one of the last great family-owned and operated hotels in New Orleans, now operated by a fifth generation. Some of the famous writers who stayed there include Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Truman Capote, Anne Rice, Stephen Ambrose, and John Grisham.

Updike and David Foster Wallace societies to sponsor ALA panel

The David Foster Wallace and John Updike societies are co-sponsoring a session on “Great Male Narcissists” at the 29th Annual Conference of the American Literature Association, May 24-27, 2018, in San Francisco, Calif.

The purpose of the panel is to explore “Great Male Narcissists,” a phrase Wallace used to describe Updike, Philip Roth, and Norman Mailer in his acerbic review of Updike’s late work, Toward the End of Time. This panel intends to explore the connections and disparities between Updike’s and Wallace’s work, especially with regard to their depictions of masculinity. The aim is to complicate and introduce new ideas to both fields.

Here are more details.

Please note that the deadline for abstracts of no more than 300 words is January 15. Include your name, institutional affiliation, and contact information and attach your abstract as a Word document. Also indicate if you’ll need AV equipment and remember that scholars are limited to one presentation at this conference. Send your abstracts to:

ALA Annual Conference information

Wanna get away to Serbia? Schiff Travel Grant deadline approaching

The November 30 deadline is fast approaching for those Updike scholars and up-and-coming Updike scholars wanting to apply for a Schiff Travel Grant to help them attend the 5th Biennial John Updike Society Conference in Belgrade, Serbia. The conference, hosted by the Faculty of Philology at the University of Belgrade, will take place the first week in June 2018. The conference is shaping up to be one of the most memorable.

First-time programs always get fewer applicants than one imagines. Don’t miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime. Propose a paper to present! Up to four $1500 grants will be awarded to scholars under 40 and up to three $1000 travel-to-conference grants will be awarded to society members needing assistance. And these days, who doesn’t?

The travel grants are the result of a generous donation from The Robert and Adele Schiff Family Foundation, whose support has enabled The John Updike Society to purchase and restore The John Updike Childhood Home in Shillington, Pa. Applicants need not be members at the time of application, but must join the society before grants can be paid.

Both types of grants are merit- and need-based.

TO APPLY:  Interested scholars should send to James Plath (

—a one-page proposal for a 15- to 20-minute paper appropriate for the conference

—one additional paragraph about yourself, what grant you are applying for, and why the grant is important to you.

The selection committee will make their decisions and announce successful applicants by the end of the first week of December 2017.

Registration and conference information

Call for papers: A Political Companion to John Updike

John Updike Society members Scott Dill (Case Western University), Yoav Fromer (Tel Aviv University), and Matthew Shipe (Washington University in St. Louis) are editing a book with the working title A Political Companion to John Updike and have put out a call for papers. Chapters should be 6,000-9,000 words (including endnotes and works cited) and follow guidelines established by The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition.

The editors are “particularly interested in engaging Updike’s later (or less explored) works,” though they welcome proposals about all of his writings, both fiction and non-fiction. The deadline for proposals is Monday, January 30, 2017. Abstracts of 300-400 words and a one-page CV should be sent to: Any questions can also be directed to the editors at that email address. Below is the complete Call for Papers.


ALA call for papers: Frontiers and Borders

The American Literature Association is holding a symposium at the Sheraton Gunter Hotel, San Antonio, Texas, from February 25-27, 2016, on “Frontiers and Borders in American Literature.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 8.26.54 PMJohn Updike is often pegged as a mainstream writer, from The New Yorker “School of Johns,” but he was ahead of the curve with a number of novels and highly experimental with others.

The John Updike Society would like to propose a panel on “John Updike as Vanguard Writer.” The Society is looking for 4-5 people to volunteer. This is not a guarantee of participation at this stage, only a proposal. But Updike worked on the forefront in a number of texts.

Couples was certainly a vanguard novel—so much so that its publication created a stir and made Updike the spokesperson for the “post-pill generation.”

While many novelists plumbed the depths of myth to use as allusions and allegories, with The Centaur Updike brought myths to the surface and treated it so matter-of-factly that one might consider it an early example of American magical realism.

Popular novelists recycled heroes in series of books, but with the Rabbit series Updike did something no serious literary novelist had done: he revisited the same character over the course of that character’s lifetime in four books, telling the story of a middle-class middle American and America’s story in the process.

And there are other examples as well. What other books did Updike push the boundaries or work on the border? This seems like an opportunity to draw attention to Updike’s innovative texts.

Members (or persons wanting to be on the panel and join the society) who are interested in participating should contact James Plath, Proposals are due by December 1, so please respond by mid-November if interested in serving on a panel. Spaces will be filled on a first-come-first-served basis. Indicate, along with your willingness, a few of the Updike texts that you feel are on the “frontier” or “border” and what you’d feel comfortable talking about.

For more information about the symposium (and its rates), visit the American Literature Association’s website.

Papers still needed for ALA panel

One session is now full, but The John Updike Society still needs a moderator and papers for a second session sponsored by The John Updike Society at the American Literature Association Conference, May 21-24, 2015, West Copley Place, Boston Mass.

Papers are welcome on any aspect of John Updike’s life and work, including (especially?) comparisons to other authors. Send abstracts to: Peter Quinones, Sessions Coordinator at

The deadline for submission is January 20. Peter will acknowledge receiving your abstract within a day or two of receiving it and notify those selected for participation by January 28. Thank you in advance for your willingness to share your insights on Updike with the greater literary community. Presenters must register for the conference, and more information will be provided later. Presenters should also be members of the Society, but dues are minimal: regular dues are $25/year and dues for grad students and retirees are $20/year. We welcome all who enjoy Updike’s work.