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UMES to Host National Literature Convention

  • Friday, March 13, 2009

    CLA LogoPRINCESS ANNE, MD - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore hosts scholars from across the nation during the 69th annual convention of the College Language Association (CLA) on Wednesday, March 25, through Sunday, March 29, at the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge.  Themed "Liberation as Theme and Strategy in Languages and Literatures," the occasion marks the association's 72nd anniversary.

    Invigorating panels, sessions, forums and other activities will examine subjects as diverse as the works of the Greek dramatist, Sophocles; the writings of James Baldwin and Jamaica Kinkaid; the music of Charlie Mingus; and the cathartic effect of present-day rap and hip hop. Literature from Hispanic and French-speaking countries will be among the many subjects discussed, as will influences such as gender and religion. 

    Convention highlights include The Langston Hughes Society luncheon, to be held at the Hyatt at noon on Thursday, March 26.  M.K. Asante Jr. is the keynote speaker.  On Thursday evening, a 6 p.m. CLA reception will be held on the UMES campus where local writers, Martha W. Burns, Linda S. Hartsock, R. Owen Hooks and Mignon Holland Anderson, will share their insights. The CLA banquet will be held on Friday evening at the Hyatt Regency where Al Young, former Poet Laureate of California, is the keynote speaker.

    Since its founding by a group of Black scholars and educators in 1937, CLA has served the academic, scholarly and professional interests of college English and foreign language teachers and the institutions they represent by promoting high scholastic standards, publishing bibliographical reference books and critical essays, and encouraging creative writing. The CLA Journal, first published in 1957, is a peer-reviewed quarterly pertaining to scholarly research and reviews of publications about language, literature, linguistics and teaching. The annual conference is dedicated to the presentation of scholarly papers, the exchange of ideas and dialogues with invited specialists.

    "Language permeates everything we do. It is a constantly changing feature of our daily lives," said UMES President Thelma B. Thompson, whose presentation concerns administrative language in higher education. "I am delighted that UMES is hosting this prestigious conference, which examines such a broad scope of communications."

    The 13th president of UMES, Dr. Thompson is a cum laude graduate of Howard University from which she holds B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in English. Holding membership in more than a dozen professional associations, she is former national president of the CLA.  Among her numerous awards and accolades, she was recognized on a national level as one of Essence Magazine s Women Who are Shaping the World.

    For the convention, pre-registration is $90 for members and $75 for students and retirees.  Onsite registration is $100 for members and $85 for students.  For more information or to pre-register, go to and click on CLA 2009 Convention Information. 


    Wendy Thompson, UMES Office of Public Relations,   

    Suzanne Waters Street, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355,