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Date Announcement:

1984 in 2017: A Symposium

April 14,

Friday 9am-6pm

Iowa City Public Library, Room A


After Kellyanne Conway coined the phrase “alternative facts” in January, Orwell’s novel shot to the top of the Amazon bestseller list, and has remained in the top five best sellers ever since.  While generations of Americans read the novel (usually in high school) as a cold war vision of a totalitarian dystopia, readers are now noting prescient correlations to current events. What does it mean to live in a world where dystopian fiction resembles reality? Are there lessons to be learned? Can the tide be turned? Are contemporary authors exploring a dystopian future that is similarly harrowing? What role does literature play in our current political moment?

Call for Proposals:

We invite you to consider how your expertise might contribute to this conversation. Please send us a brief proposal explaining your presentation format, approximate length of presentation, and A/V and space requirements. Presentations might include:

  • Discussion following film screening
  • Interdisciplinary panel discussion
  • Performance/performance art
  • Visual art/artifact exhibit
  • Contemporary dystopian “book talk”
  • Public reading
  • Workshop with local high school classrooms/library teen centers
  • Political activism workshop
  • Pitch your own idea!

Proposals are due by Tuesday, March 7. We welcome submissions from UI faculty, grad/undergrad students, librarians, and community members. Please share this link and call for proposals with interested colleagues.

The UI English Department and the UI Center for Human Rights are co-sponsors of this event. If your organization would like to co-sponsor this event, please contact us at

Submissions should be emailed to Kat Litchfield (