[UPDATE - last chance to submit] Edited Collection: Attached to Fiction: Trauma, Loss, Pleasure

full name / name of organization: 
The University of Western Australia

Attached to Fiction: Trauma, Loss, Pleasure

Editors: Dr Hila Shachar and Dr Sophie Sunderland, English and Cultural Studies, The University of Western Australia

Contact email: attachedtofiction@gmail.com

"Mr Sakamoto said that reading had saved his life. Not mathematics. Not money. Not travel. Reading. At a time, he said, when he felt blasted by images, words had anchored him, secured him, stopped his free-falling plunge into nowhere."

-Gail Jones, Dreams of Speaking (London: Harvill Secker, 2006), p. 132.

A survivor of the atomic bomb, Gail Jones's Mr Sakamoto expresses the inherent relationship between literature, loss and trauma. Words that fail to mediate or reconcile loss can also form fictional worlds that offer a particular kind of fidelity to the troubling, incomprehensible event of loss. Attachments to fiction can therefore be intensely felt and strongly defended as part of traumatic experience. We are seeking 300-500 word abstracts for a book collection of essays and short stories on how fictional narratives intersect with personal narratives of loss and trauma. This collection also aims to explore the complex forms of pleasure brought about by the attachment to, or creation of, fiction during traumatic events, loss, or grief. Essays and fiction with an Australian focus are particularly welcome. Specific examples of topics might include, but are not limited to:

Family histories of loss and trauma told in fictional form

Identification with a specific novel or character at a particularly traumatic stage in life

The use of reading and writing as a therapeutic and cathartic experience

The "pleasure" of fiction during periods of loss and trauma

Writing through grief

Reflections upon why certain novels or narratives are particularly important during certain traumatic events

Fictional short stories that engage with the themes of literary production, trauma and loss

Personal narratives of coping with trauma and loss through the process of reading and writing

Theoretical perspectives on literary representations of trauma and loss

Attachment as a psychological and psychoanalytic model with which to consider personal relationships to fictional characters and narratives

Untold and forgotten stories of local Australian and Western Australian traumatic histories

Parallels between literary fiction and life experiences

The traumatic experience of writing itself

In the spirit of the collection, we welcome both fictional and non-fictional short stories and personal essays that engage with the primary themes of the collection. Essays and short stories can be approached from any tone, from the humorous and irreverent, to the serious and contemplative. While scholarly approaches are also welcome, these essays and short stories should be in the style of creative fiction and non-fiction.

Currently, Australian author Gail Jones (University of Western Sydney) is attached to this project as a possible contributor. We welcome abstracts from scholars, creative writers, emerging and established authors, and others. Please send abstracts and a short bio by 4th of October, 2010, to Hila Shachar and Sophie Sunderland at attachedtofiction@gmail.com. Complete essays and short stories of approximately 3000-5000 words will be due on 31st of January, 2011. Enquiries are welcome.