Call For Papers (Closed)

Thank you for your submissions!

September 19, 2019
Pre-conference sessions for graduate students, creative writers, and early career scholars and teachers in their 20’s and 30’s
In his 2012 NYTimes op-ed “Has Fiction Lost Its Faith?”, Paul Elie described representation of Christian belief in contemporary literary fiction as “something between a dead language and a hangover.” Similarly, in “The Catholic Writer Today” (First Things, 2013), Dana Gioia lamented the dwindling visibility of Catholic literary culture and proposed ways to renovate and revive it. Since then, myriad voices from the Catholic world have amplified and questioned these claims, provoking theoretical and practical debates about the relationship between the Catholic imagination (and the religious imagination more generally) and contemporary literary and popular culture. How do writers “make belief believable” in an age of unbelief? How does the Catholic imagination shape narrative, and how do today’s narrative shapes reflect or diverge from those of past Catholic writers? Does Flannery O’Connor’s mode of “shouting” and “drawing large and startling pictures” still apply today, or are whispers and “intentional blur” photography more effective and appropriate analogies? In an increasingly divisive culture, does the grotesque or the beautiful, the ironic or the sincere, carry more weight? What characterizes a particularly Catholic literary aesthetic and how is it similar to and/or distinct from other faith and literary traditions?
We welcome papers on these or other topics related to the Catholic literary imagination. In addition to academic papers, we are especially interested in responses by creative writers, poets, stage and voice actors, and digital artists to conference themes.
Several need-based scholarships for travel and accommodations are available and will be awarded to conference participants.
Proposals up to 300 words and a C.V. should be sent as email attachments to on or before June 15, 2019. Creative writers and artists should include samples of work to be read or performed and links to published work and/or a digital portfolio if available.  
More information about the Catholic Literary Imagination conference is available at
For questions, please contact Dr. Michael P. Murphy at