The executive council of the Simms Society met in Decatur and Athens, Alabama in late June of 2022. We ate well!
We also met to discuss the serious business of the Society’s future, gathering around some of Kentucky’s finest for brainstorming and then convening in the beautiful Founders’ Hall of Athens State University for our official business.
For the last several years, we have struggled to bring in new life to the Society. This was exacerbated by the pandemic, which made some members unable to travel and dried up the research/travel funds for most of the Society’s academic members. However, we believe in the importance of the Society and the promotion of Simms. Letting the Society die was thus out of the question!
As such, we decided to re-work the Society in the following ways:
- We are going to become a member of the American Literature Association, a federation of individual author societies. We’ll thus be in good company with other societies, like the Robert Penn Warren Circle and Eudora Welty Society.
- Rather than putting on our own biennial academic conference, we will sponsor two panels at each annual American Literature Association meeting. This will allow us to expose Simms to a larger group of readers and scholars and, we hope, grow the Society’s membership.
- Each summer, we will also be holding an annual “Wigwam,” a casual social gathering. This will be planned by the Society president and president-elect, who will determine the location of each gathering. At the Wigwam, we will have a keynote lecture on a Simms-related topic, drinks and a meal, a time for fellowship and camaraderie, and our annual business meeting (including the election of officers).
- We also decided on reworking the format of the Simms Review so as to make releases of our journal more regular and timely.
These changes will be coming in calendar year 2023, and we expect that they will have a positive effect on the Society, draw in new members, and bring more attention to Simms from both academic and non-academic audiences.
There are also a few other members-only goodies we’re working on putting together for next year. We hope you’ll consider renewing/updating your membership and participating in these exciting events with us!
Finally, we want to hear what’s going on with our members! Please send member news to our secretary treasurer, W. Matthew J. Simmons, Sr.