SAMLA 86 Session: Food In Fiction

full name / name of organization: 
Heather Richie

Bon Appétit contributor Alexander Chef writes, "Throughout my reading life, I've enjoyed many memorable meals—if only fictionally. The oysters at dinner near the beginning of Anna Karenina, the dinner Nana throws for her overflowing guests in Zola's Nana, the walk through Les Halles for breakfast in Baldwin's Giovanni's Room, and nearly every meal in Monique Truong's The Book of Salt." This panel welcomes papers on any aspect of food in fiction. Proposals might consider the way appetite reveals fictional characters, the role of food in fiction for creating an effective sense of place (A Year in Provence,The Secret Life of Bees), propelling a plot, or managing fictional time (i.e., the velocity of a novel). Why slow a story down to describe a meal? To that end, panelists are invited to explore the point at which food evolves from supporting detail to significant scaffolding of the story, if not a kind of main character of its own. Presentations could cover any of the following: how these stories work relative to food, author interests in food (in the same way we think of Welty in her garden, which writers do we associate with the kitchen, growing food, or dining about town?), variations in format between literary fiction and popular novels with recipes, or food fiction's connection to this year's conference theme of sustainability. Special topics related to food memoirs or food in poetry as well as these genres' relationship to food fiction will also be considered. By June 15, 2014, please submit a 250 300 word abstract and A/V requirements to Heather Richie, Sewanee: The University of the South, at