Matti Ron Wins the Literary London Society Prize for Best Paper Presented by a Postgraduate Researcher at Their 2019 Conference

WCSA member and current Elections Chair Matti Ron has won the Literary London Society prize for best paper presented by a postgraduate researcher at their 2019 conference.

Ron’s paper ‘Zadie Smith’s and James Kelman’s counter-narratives of working-class (de)composition in post-industrial London’ stood out to judges, and received the following feedback:

A lively and sharp-sighted account which developed an innovative approach to Smith and Kelman’s sounding out of the death of the working-class political subject. This evaluative enquiry is additionally prescient during times ‘after Brexit’ when questions of race, ethnonationalism, and the ‘nativist instrumentalisation’ of class are uppermost in public and political discourse.

The focus on ‘lost radicalism’ is a fascinating topic – one that is intently cross-disciplinary in its attention to tracing ‘existential angst’, detachment and destitution within British society. There is a value in this work and the way it traces the attempt to build counter-narrative to ‘nativist notions of class’ in post-crisis times (now post- post- crisis!). I was convinced by the argument that such a process of ‘constructive deconstruction’ also has a role in identifying new forms of class solidarity, affiliation and self-definition.

Congrats to Matti!

Book Notes ~ Spring 2019

Please take a look at recently published books related to the field of working-class studies.  Full descriptions for each are available here.


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Tokarczyk’s new poem published

Past-president Michelle M. Tokarczyk , author of Bronx Migrations and The House I’m Running From, has a new poem, “Philomela in the Rooms,” published in the feminist literary collective, Writers Resist.





Easton Awarded Faculty Grant

In summer 2018, immediate past-president, Terry Easton, was awarded a FUSE grant to conduct collaborative research and writing with an undergraduate student at their host institution, the University of North Georgia. They aim to publish their results, an analysis of Sherman Alexie’s novel Reservation Blues using working and poverty-class lenses, in a peer-reviewed journal.

Easton continues his role in the McNair Scholars Program, where he is currently mentoring an undergraduate student studying literary Naturalism, Realism, and Working-Class studies. The program prepares for post-graduate studies first-generation college students with financial need and members of traditionally underrepresented marginalized or minority groups in graduate education.

CFP on Representations of Class Intersectionality

Simon Lee, this year’s Constance Coiner Dissertation Award recipient, is organizing a panel with Nick Bentley on “Representations of Class Intersectionality,” at the ACLA conference to be held at Georgetown University in March 2019.  Click here for the CFP.

New Novel on Southern Working-Class Literature



David Joy, winner of the 2018 WCSA Tillie Olsen Award for Creative Writing, is on tour promoting his latest novel, The Line That Held Us. For more information on Joy’s work, you can listen to him on NPR. His recent essay, “Rural Literature Isn’t What You Think,” challenges the representation of rural working-class life.




New Book on Deindustrialization

Sherry Lee Linkon, Professor of English and American Studies at Georgetown University, has published a new book, The Half-Life of Deindustrialization Working-Class Writing about Economic Restructuring, by the University of Michigan Press.


Paul Lauter Receives ADE March Award

At this year’s MLA conference, the ADE Executive Committee awarded Paul Lauter, Gwendolyn Miles Smith Professor of English, Emeritus at Trinity College (Connecticut), the Francis Andrew March Award, which honors exceptional service to the profession of English. The award is named for Francis March (1823–1911), professor of English at Lafayette College and the first professor of English in America.  Lauter served as president of the American Studies Association and is the founding general editor of the influential Heath Anthology of American Literature.  He is also the author or editor of several books, including From Walden Pond to Jurassic Park: Activism, Culture, and American Studies and, most recently, A History of American Working-Class Literature.  He was one of the founding editors of the Feminist Press and of the journal Radical Teacher.  Lauter has been an active member of the WCSA and co-wrote its constitution with Sherry Linkon.