Call for Chapter Contributions about Diary Writing as a Quasi-literary Genre

deadline for submissions: 
November 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Angela Hooks
contact email: 

Book Title: The Diary as Literature Through the Lens of Multiculturalism in America

Editor: Angela Hooks, PhD  

Purpose: This book focuses on diary writing as a quasi-literary genre that includes autobiography, biography, memoir, correspondence, travel literature, and more. The book will examine the diarist's text because it speaks the truth of the appearance of things. The diarist's account is imaginative writing, social and political history. Diary writing includes events that add up to a story with meaning, a theme, and style. Diary writing is creating “real” fictions of one’s self. For the diarist, the diary becomes a transnational space in which an intersection of cultures, languages, and peoples help the diarist understand self and the world they live in.

Joan Didion says in her essay “On Keeping a Notebook,” that writing in a notebook gets us “closer to the truth” about “how it felt to me” and to remember what it was to be.”

Through the lens of the diary, this book will discuss how diarists, writers, and poets reflect on multiculturalism and intercultural relations. Subjects and themes include identity, language, race, class, culture, gender, religion, sexuality, and nationality of American minorities who use the diary to help them find their own expressive language, explore their identity, and understand themselves, their intimate relationships, and the world around them. Since the diary is an autobiographical text the book will include the study of autobiography, poetry, fiction, and non-fiction.

For bell hooks, “autobiographical writing was a way for her to evoke the particular experience of growing up southern and black in segre­gated communities. It was a way to recapture the richness of southern black culture. The need to remember and hold to the legacy of that experience …”

Alice Dunbar-Nelson prefaced her unpublished novel “Confessions of a Lazy Woman” with: A diary is a serious thing; not to be undertaken lightly or to be spoken of in anything but a whisper. If kept in the right spirit, it means a record of things both seen and unseen, all recorded in strictly conscientious fashion? It means, too, that one must crystallize one’s secret thoughts and longings and desires into written words, thereby giving speech to hitherto inarticulaye [sic] voices.


Themes and ideas that could be examined in each chapter include:

  • Socioeconomic and political matters in which the diarist lives in companionship with others or in a community, rather than in isolation?Diaries that give voice to the identity of the diarist or illustrate a hidden identity.
  • The diary as a confessional through the lens of Foucault: confessions turn both on what can be openly spoken about and what is forbidden to name.
  • Diary writing that reflects the shadow self; the women’s voice is unique, different from another woman’s voice and does not conform to the images society creates for them; “a necessary stage in the psychic journey leading to recovery and the restoration of well-being.”Cultural authenticity in fictional diaries such as Maya’s Notebook, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and The Golden Notebook.
  • The role of the diary as autobiography, a writer’s workshop, a companion, and as a creative space.
  • Reading other people’s diaries that have passed from “hand to hand, generation to generation” because the content and purpose are based on terrible urgency or fragments of a life.
  • Silence in the diary that causes a discrepancy between diary entries and the diarist's actual life, and when the diarist is incapable of giving a complete picture of what she has gone through.
  • The pages of diaries, journals, and notebooks that illustrate the strength, the resilience, and the resourcefulness of the American black male and female voices including their struggles and their constraints, and their victories and their joys.
  • What is private and what is public when it comes to publishing a found diary?
  • The legacy of diary keeping in families.

After the book has been conceptualized (after abstracts have been submitted) and proposal completed, I will send to the publisher. I do have an interested academic independent publisher who specializes in the social sciences and humanities.

Book Contribution Deadlines:

Submit a 500-word abstract with the title due on or before November 1, 2018, to

Receive a Notification for Acceptance on November 15, 2018

Submit book chapters, (5,000 words) on December 15, 2015

Revisions of final edited due on January 30, 2019


All authors will be asked to undertake peer reviews of colleagues’ chapters.

Please contact me if you have questions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Angela (