The Society for the Study of Southern Literature is a nonprofit organization founded in 1968 devoted to scholarship on writings and writers of the American South. Membership is open to all who have an interest in the literature of the South.

SSSL sponsors a number of programs, including:

  • The Biannual SSSL Conference: a conference with papers and discussion panels–and other activities–at different sites throughout the South.
  • Current and Recent SSSL Newsletters: The Newsletter informs the members of the SSSL as to what the Society and their colleagues are doing and offers an ongoing bibliography of notable scholarship published in southern studies.
  • SSSL Conference Panels: the SSSL sponsors lively and provocative panels for meetings of leading literary conferences, including the Modern Language Association, South Central Modern Language Association, and the American Literature Association.
  • The C. Hugh Holman Award for the best book of literary scholarship or criticism in southern literature during a given calendar year. The SSSL makes this award annually at one of its sessions at the December Modern Language Association conference.
  • The Richard Beale Davis Award for distinguished lifetime service to southern letters. The SSSL makes this award every other year at its biannual conference.
  • The Louis D. Rubin, Jr. Prize for best article on southern literature published by a society member in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Graduate Student Travel Awards: The SSSL awards five travel prizes to graduate students attending the biannual conference, one named in memory of Dorothy M. Scura, two named in memory of Noel Polk, and two named in honor of Peggy Whitman Prenshaw.  Winners are selected by the Program Committee from among graduate student submissions to the conference. The Scura, Polk, and Prenshaw Awards help to defray up to $500 of travel expenses for each winning student.
  • Publications: The SSSL sponsored the publication of The History of Southern Literature, edited by Louis D. Rubin, Jr., Blyden Jackson, Rayburn S. Moore, Lewis P. Simpson, and Thomas Daniel Young (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985).

Statement on Diversity

The Society for the Study of Southern Literature is committed to social equality, critical and rigorous discourse about the U.S. South, and the voices of writers from various backgrounds.

We contest revisionist versions of southern history and culture that white supremacists have used to maintain racial hierarchies, inequality, and injustice. We support scholarship that examines the multiplicity and heterogeneity of both the past and present South. We encourage dynamic critical dialogue that examines and expands the borders of the region; that analyzes the region’s history of settler colonialism, slavery, segregation, misogyny, violence, and nativism; that engages the region’s literature and culture; and that implements multiple theoretical and critical perspectives.

We support others who advocate for diversity, community, inclusivity, and equality.

The Executive Council of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature endorses the American Historical Association’s Statement on Confederate Statues:


Past Presidents of SSSL

2017-2018 Coleman Hutchison
2015-2016 John T. Matthews
2013-2014 Eric Gary Anderson
2011-2012 Michael Kreyling
2009-2010 John Lowe
2007-2008 Susan V. Donaldson
2005-2006 Robert L. Phillips, Jr.
2003-2004 William Andrews
2001-2002 Dorothy M. Scura
1999-2000 David B. Kesterson
1997-1998 Martha E. Cook
1995-1996 John L. Idol Jr.
1993-1994 Lewis A. Lawson
1991-1992 Peggy Whitman Prenshaw
1989-1990 Richard S. Kennedy
1987-1988 Richard J. Calhoun
1985-1986 James H. Justus
1983-1984 Rayburn S. Moore
1981-1982 Mary Ann Wimsatt
1979-1980 Thomas Daniel Young
1977-1978 Lewis P. Simpson
1975-1976 Louis D. Rubin, Jr.
1973-1974 Arlin Turner
1971-1972 Cleanth Brooks
1969-1970 Richard Beale Davis

Past SSSL Conferences and Organizers

2018 Austin, Texas, Coleman Hutchison
2016 Boston, Massachusetts, John T. Matthews
2014 Washington, DC, Eric Gary Anderson
2012 Nashville, Tennessee, Michael Kreyling
2010 New Orleans, Louisiana, Barbara Ewell and Rebecca Mark
2008 Williamsburg, Virginia, Susan V. Donaldson
2006 Birmingham, Alabama, Riché Richardson and Jon Smith
2004 Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Scott Romine and William Andrews
2002 Lafayette, Louisiana, Margaret Bauer, Paul Jones, and Mary Ann Wilson
2000 Orlando, Florida, Dawn Trouard
1998 Charleston, South Carolina, Jeff Abernathy and Jim Hutchisson
1996 Richmond, Virginia, Suzanne Jones
1994 New Orleans, Louisiana, Tom Bonner and David Estes
1992 Clemson, South Carolina, Leo Lemay and Harold Woodell
1990 Chapel Hill, North Carolina, John Idol and Joseph Flora

Past Editors of the SSSL Newsletter

Fall 2011 – Spring 2015, David Davis
Fall 2006 – Spring 2011, Sarah Gleeson-White
Fall 2001 – Spring 2006, Robert H. Brinkmeyer, Jr.
Spring 1992 – Spring 2001, Stephen Flinn Young
Fall 1984 – Fall 1991, Susan Snell
Fall 1976 – Spring 1984, Robert L. Phillips, Jr.
Fall 1973 – Spring 1976, George Core
Fall 1967 – Spring 1973, Louis D. Rubin, Jr.