2019 Catholic Imagination Conference

The Third Biennial Catholic Imagination Conference
The Future of the Catholic Literary Tradition
Loyola University Chicago | September 19-21, 2019

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This international biennial conference, sponsored by Loyola’s Hank Center, features over 60 writers, poets, filmmakers, playwrights, journalists, editors, publishers, students, and critics who will explore a variety of questions surrounding the Catholic imagination in literature and the arts. What is the future of the Catholic literary tradition? What is the state of discourses in faith and Christian humanism in a world increasingly described as “Post”—postmodern, post-human, post-Christian, post-religious? How is Catholic thought and practice (or the absence of it) represented in literature, poetry, and cinema? If, as David Tracy observes, religion’s “closest cousin is not rigid logic, but art,” what might literary art be trying to communicate to its “cousin”—and to us all—as we travel along the first decades of the 21st century?

Plenary Speakers

Paul Mariani
Poet, biographer
Tobias Wolff
Alice McDermott
Paul Schrader
Writer, director, film critic
Richard Rodriguez
Dana Gioia
Angela Alaimo O'Donnell
Poet, writer, Fordham University professor


Kirstin Valdez Quade | Phil Klay | Fanny Howe
Ron Hansen | Mary Gordon | Samuel Hazo
Dorothy Fortenberry | John F. Deane | Paul Elie
Micheal O'Siadhail | Molly McCully Brown | Randy Boyagoda
Lawrence Joseph | James Matthew Wilson

and many other writers, poets, filmmakers & scholars.

Special Events

  • The Flannery O'Connor Lifetime Achievement Award Banquet honoring Paul Mariani (registration required)
  • The Hunt Prize Banquet for excellence in poetry (in conjunction with America Media--registration required)
  • Theatre Performance: Flannery O'Connor's Everything That Rises Must Converge. Developed at University of Iowa in 1998, Sundance in 1999 and then opened off-Broadway in 2001. Set in September for the Newhart Family Theatre at LUC.
  • The Troubadour's Lounge featuring poetry readings, live music, and a Chicago blues panel
  • Preconference workshops and presentations for and by graduate students and emerging scholars (no registration required)

Call For Papers

Thursday, September 19th will be dedicated to conference sessions for graduate students, creative writers, and early career scholars and teachers in their 20s and 30s. See the full call for papers for more details. Proposals are due on June 15, 2019.

Thank you to our generous cosponsors:

The Mary Flannery O'Connor Charitable Trust (Major Cosponsor)
Loyola University Chicago: President's Office, Office of Mission Integration, Gannon Center for Women and Leadership, College of Arts and Sciences, and the Jesuit Community

America Media | Commonweal Magazine | Georgetown University | Dominican University
Curran Center, Fordham University | Boisi Center, Boston College | McGrath Center, University of Notre Dame
IFACS, The University of Southern California | Pepperdine University
Loyola Academy | Lumen Christi, University of Chicago | The Polish Book Institute