mentoring scholars' first books! CFP: The Wallace Johnson First Book Mentorship Program [fwd Mediev-L]

Karen Reeds's picture

Note --  I'm forwarding this from Mediev-L.  Although the subject area for proposals is limited to first books on  law and legal culture of the early middle ages, I hope the program's structure of the mentorship support will be broadly imitated across all of the humanities and social sciences.  The workshop idea sounds terrific!

Long ago, when I was an acquiring --AKA commissioning or sponsoring -- editor at university presses, helping 1st-time authors was one of the most satisfying parts of the job. (Here's a tip: Write the jacket blurb early on, so you'll know what your book is about and who your audience is.) 


Karen Reeds

Karen Reeds, PhD, FLS
Princeton Research Forum, a community of independent scholars:


Date:    Wed, 16 Dec 2020 14:37:32 +0000
From:    "Rabin,Andrew S" <andrew.rabin@LOUISVILLE.EDU>
Subject: CFP: The Wallace Johnson First Book Mentorship Program

Dear colleagues,

Thanks to the generous support of Wallace Johnson and the Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University, I am delighted to announce the Call for Proposal for the second year of the Wallace Johnson First Book Mentoring Program. The program provides support and mentorship to early career scholars working towards the publication of their first book on the law and legal culture of the early middle ages. In conversation with peers and with the advice of senior scholars, participants will develop and revise book proposals and sample chapters, and they will meet with guest editors to learn about approaching and working with publishers.

(NB: This program is distinct from the NEH Seminar on law, scheduled for summer, 2021.)

The program includes:
• a series of online workshops on the writing and publication process during which participants meet with
senior scholars and have the opportunity to discuss their projects with commissioning editors
• pairing with a senior scholar as a mentor who, over the course of a year, will help the participant pursue book
contracts and shape their projects for publication
• periodic web "meet ups," both one-on-one with mentors and as a group, that will enable participants to
workshop chapters and proposals
• An $800 stipend to support research-related expenses

The program has been developed specifically to aid untenured scholars or those in non-tenurable positions (including adjuncts and full-time term faculty) and is not limited to a specific discipline, field, or methodology. For the purposes of this program, "law" is broadly defined and need not be limited to legislation, legal documentation, or specific forms of legal process. Although applicants’ research must concern law, they need not self-identify as legal scholars.

As the Johnson Program is intended to cast a wide net, please do forward this announcement to other ListServs, post it on social media, and pass it along to anyone who might be interested. More information, especially concerning application procedures and the 2020 selection committee, can be found at<>. If you have any questions, please do feel free to contact me (<>) or Jana Schulman (<>).

At a time when the field of medieval studies is seeking new ways to support younger scholars, the program offers a wonderful opportunity to aid those at the beginning of their careers, advance research on early medieval law and legal culture, and to develop connections across disciplines. I’m very excited about the Johnson Program and I look forward to seeing what it will look like as we move into our second year.

All best regards,
Andrew Rabin

Andrew Rabin
Professor and Vice Chair
Department of English
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292