Call for Papers for Critical Insights: Life of Pi (2020)

deadline for submissions: 
March 1, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Adam T. Bogar / NCIS
contact email: 

Call for Papers for Critical Insights: Life of Pi (2020)




This is a call for chapter proposals for a forthcoming edited collection on the 2001 philosophical novel Life of Pi by Canadian author Yann Martel. This volume will be published in Fall 2020 by Salem Press as part of the following subseries of their Critical Insights collection:


In line with the expectations of the Critical Insights series, I ultimately seek essays that:

-  Provide undergraduate and advanced high school students with a comprehensive introduction to the work and elucidate various aspects of the novel that they are likely to encounter, discuss, and study in their classrooms;

-  Help students build a foundation for studying Martel’s novel (as well as other related works) in greater depth by introducing them to key concepts, contexts, critical approaches, and critical vocabulary.


The format of each volume includes:

  • A BIOGRAPHY OF THE AUTHOR essay (2,000 words) that offers an overview of Yann Martel’s life. (THIS HAS ALREADY BEEN ASSIGNED)
  • An HISTORICAL BACKGROUND essay that addresses how the cultural backdrop of the early 21st century influenced the work as well as what makes the author and his work relevant to readers today.
  • A CRITICAL RECEPTION essay reviews the history of the critical response to the Martel’s novel, surveying the major concerns to which critics of the work have attended over the years. This essay should examine the history of criticism of Life of Pi rather than offering a specific critique or perspective.
  • A CRITICAL LENS essay that offers a close reading of Life of Pi from a particular critical standpoint, such as, for example, animal studies, narratology, or New Criticism.
  • A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS essay that analyzes Life of Pi in the light of another (similar, comparative or contemporary) work, either by Martel or by another author.


The volume will also include 10–14 essays (4,500–5,000 words each) that will offer critical readings of Life of Pi. Although all proposed topics will be considered, some possibilities include:

  • Animal studies
  • Comparative approaches
  • Self-representation
  • Critical race studies
  • Survival narratives
  • Narrative techniques
  • Religious studies
  • Feminism, Postcolonialism, Performance studies, or other critical approaches
  • Life of Pi and the arts
  • Life of Pi in other media (film, theater etc.)

I encourage proposals from both established and early-career academics (including independent scholars), graduate students as well as practitioners in other disciplines (artists, clerics etc.), and welcome any questions or inquiries. If you are interested in contributing to this project, please submit an abstract of approximately 250-350 words and a brief resume/CV to Adam T. Bogar ( by Sunday, March 1, 2020.

Selected authors will be notified by Sunday, March 8, 2020, and completed essays will be due on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

For accepted essays, each contributor will receive a $250 honorarium.