Minutes of the Doris Lessing Society Meeting at the MLA

December 29th, 2009

Members Present:

  • Tonya Krouse
  • Tomoko Kuribayashi
  • Molly Pulda
  • James Phillips
  • Terry Reilly
  • Paul Schlueter
  • Sandra Singer
  • Virginia Tiger
  • Robin Visel
  • Linda Weinhouse
  • Sharon Wilson

Called to  order around 9:30 p.m.

Minutes of the 2008 meeting approved.

Tomoko Kuribayashi volunteers to be the day’s secretary.

Changes to the bylaws need to be approved, but having the membership vote on them at the MLA is impossible; also, a 60-day advance notice is required for such voting. It is agreed on that Tonya will circulate the changes to the bylaws to the entire membership and conduct the voting by e-mail. Tonya will first draft them and send them to the Society officers for approval. Some other changes to the bylaws are suggested, such as three-year terms for all officers.  It is mentioned that the MLA will review the bylaws again in several years’ time.

Treasurer’s report relayed by Tonya as Marilyn Seamour is absent. Marilyn’s term is up and the Society will need a new treasurer. Bylaws prohibit electing new treasurer tonight, but we need to discuss it. Terry volunteers to take it on in the fall of 2010, and Tonya says she will ask Marilyn to stay in the position in the meanwhile. Marilyn has reported to Tonya that there was $5103.17 in the account at the beginning of the year and there is now $5990.14, but she has $100-worth of checks to deposit and has not received the bills for the last two issues of the Newsletter yet. The need to update the membership list is also brought up. Many addresses are invalid and much money is lost in sending the Newsletter to the wrong addresses. This issue of having the correct addresses for the members needs to be addressed before upgrading the Newsletter to Doris Lessing Studies Journal can be considered.

Report on the essay contests. No awards given this year; there was only one submission. Alice Ridout has mentioned to Tonya that she wants to get more publicity for the contests at conferences, on website(s), in the Newsletter, and Contemporary Women’s Writing. Terry suggests that contests be advertised through the UPenn list.  Alice may be able to advertise the contests on a list or lists in England, too. Several members want the deadline for submissions to be moved to early summer, say, May 30. It is also agreed on that the President should write letters to the winners. Some believe that the winning graduate essay be published in the Newsletter (and the winning undergraduate essay could have an abstract published), but there is disagreement as to whether the essay should be first reviewed by the editorial board. If it is to be published without further review, graduate essay contest judges should award the prize only if the essay is publishable. The discussion of the relationship between the editorial board and the Society ensues, and it is mentioned that the changes to the bylaws may give more control over the Newsletter to the President.

Report on the website. Deborah Raschke wants to remain in charge of the site. It has not been updated for years. Information on the contests should be put on the website by March.

Communication with general membership is discussed. Google blog and Facebook are mentioned as possibilities. It is suggested that the president should e-mail the membership about such matters as the contests and the MLA.

Update on the 2011 Lessing Conference. It will be held in late spring (date soon to be determined—maybe in May) at Tonya’s university (Northern Kentucky, in the Greater Cincinnati area), on the theme of Freedom. We need to form a committee to take care of the academic details while Tonya focuses on the logistics. Tonya will e-mail the whole membership for volunteers for the committee. It is mentioned that 2011 will mark 40 years after the DL Seminar began in 1971, and it is suggested that Paul should present from the archives at the conference.

Selection of 2011 MLA Session Topics and Chairs. Each Society is only promised one session for 2011. We can submit two more sessions and are highly encouraged by the MLA to consider joint sessions. Those present approve that one joint session be submitted with the Atwood Society, possibly on the topic of dystopia. Tonya will co-chair the joint session with Tomoko Kuribayashi, the President of the Atwood Society. As for the one guaranteed session, topics of post-colonialism, feminism, sexualities, etc. are proposed, and “gender and sexualities” is voted in. Molly Pulda will organize and chair the session.

Adjourned at 10:28 p.m.