Autofiction in the Age of the Self(ie)
Call for papers: Autofiction in the Age of the Self(ie)
Special Issue of English Studies in Canada
Deadline for abstracts: January 15, 2020
Deadline for final essays (6000-9000 words): August 15, 2020
Submit to: email@example.com
If the late nineties and early oughts witnessed what Leigh Gilmore has termed a ‘memoir boom’, the intervening years have seen the rise of a new genre: autofiction. Coined by Serge Doubrovsky in 1977 and initially associated with French writers, the term—and the self-fictionalizing practices it designates—have exploded into the international mainstream.
Although there is no critical consensus about what constitutes this genre--or whether it should even be considered a distinct genre--examples of works that blur the line between autobiography and fiction have increased wildly over the past several decades in the US, Canada, Scandinavia, Germany, and elsewhere. Both the corpus and the conversation are broadening to encompass a range of texts and approaches by writers whose work falls between and beyond traditional publishing industry categories such as autobiography, memoir, confession, essay, and fiction. Some scholars are using this lens to trace lineages with earlier writers and genres such as the roman-à-clef.
Autofiction has been touted by some as a productive response to the commodification, digitization, and proliferation of the self in a contemporary culture that has called the very nature of ‘truth’ and ‘fact’ into question. Others – particularly racialized writers and women—have rejected the label, arguing that it overvalues or mischaracterizes the autobiographical dimension of their writing, further entrenching pernicious stereotypes. Is autofiction a reaction against the selfie, or simply another manifestation? Does the label refer to a new form of writing, or is it just a new way of describing metafictional techniques that have appeared in literature since The Canterbury Tales?
This special issue invites papers that consider these questions or any aspect of autofiction and its associated genres (autotheory, biofiction, creative nonfiction, etc.). Authors are welcome to discuss works that have been translated into English, and are particularly encouraged to focus on women, LGBTQ+, BIPOC, disabled, and otherwise marginalized writers.
Please submit abstracts of 500 words to Dr. Myra Bloom firstname.lastname@example.org by January 15, 2020. Final essays (6,000-9,000 words) are due August 15, 2020.