The Unit for Criticism now offers Critical Book Labs for authors in the humanities and theoretically driven social sciences—whether at the assistant, associate or full professor rank, or specialized faculty—to allow them to present a book manuscript to a small group of readers who can give thoughtful feedback. The goal of the Critical Book Lab is to help authors transform good scholarly projects into excellent book-length publications, and past recipients whose work has been the focus of such a workshop have found it immensely inspiring and deeply supportive. For the Critical Book Lab, the Unit offers $4,000 in research funds and will organize and fund a half-day manuscript reading workshop with internal and external readers. Applications are due on March 1, 2024, with awards announced later that month and the workshop held the following fall or spring. Applicants are requested to think carefully about timing and whether they will have a complete, or nearly complete, manuscript for discussion in 2024-25.
To apply, interested individuals should submit a concise CV (maximum 5 pages), along with a tentative title for the book, a 500-word abstract, and a table of contents. Additionally, applicants should provide a brief explanation (maximum 250 words) detailing the current status of the book project, the publisher (if a publishing arrangement has been made), a list of suggested internal and external readers, and any other pertinent details. Affiliation with the Unit is not a prerequisite for application, although it is encouraged.
The application portal is set to open in January 2024, and the deadline for submissions is March 1, 2024. Award recipients will be announced later in March, with the workshop scheduled for the subsequent fall or spring. For further inquiries, please contact us at Unit-for-Criticism@illinois.edu.