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English Graduate Student Invited to Present at the American Literature Association Symposium

Interview with the Center for Research and Creative Activities

Congratulations to Chantelle D. Escobar-Leswell in the Masters of English Program at Salem State who has been invited to present at the American Literature Association Symposium this September in New Orleans.

Escobar-Leswell will be presenting her project “Life Imitates Art: Twenty-first Century Respect for Richard Brautigan’s Absurdism,” which explores the work of Richard Brautigan through a 21st-century lens and asserts its relevance in contemporary culture.

“His vibrant, surrealist works reflect the uncertainty that we are seeing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and political unrest,” Escobar-Leswell writes in her proposal. She says she would like to see a renewal of interest in Brautigan’s work and hopes to play a small part in his resurgence.

The project aligns well with the theme of the 2021 ALA symposium, “Rebirth, Renewal, Renaissance.” Escobar-Leswell first heard about the symposium after attending the American Literature Association Conference earlier this summer with Salem State Professor Lucinda Damon-Bach, who was presenting.

“Attending the conference was a very exciting experience,” Escobar-Leswell says. While there, she noticed a call for submissions to the symposium on the back of a program and decided to submit her own proposal.

Her project was accepted, and she will be leaving for New Orleans in just a few weeks’ time for her first-ever conference presentation. Though she says she is nervous, she also believes it will be a very worthwhile and enriching experience to begin her research journey.

Escobar-Leswell is an international student from Scotland. She received her BA in sociology and English before studying at the Salem State School of Graduate Studies in January of 2021, and is on track to graduate in May of 2022. She has hopes to pursue a PhD in English.

Escobar-Leswell is especially interested in archival work, including rare books. She aspires to one day work for places such as the Massachusettes Historical Society or The American Antiquarian Society.

Congratulations Chantelle, and best of luck at the symposium!


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Evea Raye
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