MSU selected to host International Conference on Narrative in 2020

Mississippi State joins a prestigious list of U.S., Canadian and European universities selected to host the annual International Conference on Narrative.

MSU’s opportunity as conference host comes in 2020 when more than 450 attendees will gather March 5-8 in New Orleans, Louisiana, for literary dialogue from a variety of perspectives.

Dan Punday, professor and head of MSU’s English department, serves as president of the International Society for the Study of Narrative, which presents the annual event. The conference also will be sponsored by the University of New Orleans.

“It’s especially exciting to have Mississippi State host a conference in the humanities since we’re known largely for our research reputation in engineering and the sciences,” Punday said. “With an attendance of around 500 people, this conference should prompt hundreds of academics from around the world to associate Mississippi State more with cutting edge humanities research.”

Conference sessions will include discussions on a diverse range of narrative topics, including novels, epic poetry, film, the graphic arts and more.

Hosting the narrative event puts MSU in “very elite company,” Punday said. Past host universities have included Dartmouth, Emory, Georgetown and Rice. MSU also joins the ranks of other major land-grant institutions that have hosted, including the universities of California at Berkeley, Florida, Kentucky, Wisconsin at Madison, along with Ohio State University, Michigan State University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“I think that it’s particularly important to bring the conference back to the U.S. South as a way to recruit faculty into the society,” Punday said, noting the conference provides an opportunity to reach out even more to historically black colleges and universities in the New Orleans area.

Kelly Marsh, co-organizer of the conference and MSU professor of English, said the international aspect of the conference makes the event “an enriching experience for all who attend, but also multiplies the impact of the ideas generated and presented there.”

The 2018 conference was held in Montreal, Canada. This year’s event takes place in Pamplona, Spain.

The International Society for the Study of Narrative is a nonprofit association of scholars dedicated to the investigation of narrative, its elements, techniques and forms; its relations to other modes of discourse; and its power and influence in cultures past and present. For more, visit

MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences includes more than 5,300 students, 300 full-time faculty members, nine doctoral programs and 25 academic majors offered in 14 departments. Complete details about the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of English may be found at or

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Sarah Nicholas | College of Arts and Sciences

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