Tearing down Walls: Influences and Reciprocity in American and Post-Soviet Literature

deadline for submissions: 
April 3, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Saint Martin's University

Tearing down Walls: Influences and Reciprocity in American and Post-Soviet Literature

Abstract: April 3, 2020

Completed First Draft: August 15, 2020


Jeff Birkenstein & Robert Hauhart, Saint Martin’s University (Lacey, Washington)

Contact email: jbirkenstein@stmartin.edu

We believe that the literary, cultural, political, and perhaps even personal connections—influences and reciprocity—between American (US) writers and their post-Soviet counterparts provide much fertile ground for critical analysis. For our co-edited collection, we seek essays of 5,000 to 6,000 words that explore the myriad fictions (novels, short stories, and more) of some of the more popular and/or important American and post-Soviet writers. Specifically, we seek contributions that ask how these writers have interacted with each other across the many boundaries that would appear, at first, to separate them.  We are particularly interested in essays that explore connections between post-Soviet and American writers with regard to their literary techniques and thematic emphases.

It is important to note that we are interested in essays that consider influences and reciprocity on both sides of the American-Soviet divide, in the same essay. You may focus on an American writer and how s/he was influenced by a writer or writers or critical or other cultural movement from behind the Iron Curtain. Or, do the opposite: how is your chosen writer from the Soviet sphere of influence influenced by one or more American writers?  

In this collection, we intend to trace the modern history of such influences in post-Soviet countries, from the break-up of the Soviet Union onward, but also, pointedly, to connect these histories one to the other. We encourage critics interested in the entire range of Russian and American literature as well as other contemporary post-Soviet (non-Russian) authors—including, but not limited to – Ksenia Scherbino, Viktor Invaniv, Sergej Timofeyev, Feodor Swaroski, Semyon Khanin, Igor Belov, Armand Inezian, Sabir Ahmadli, Gioulzar Akhamedova, Amir Pahlavan, Artur Klinov, Valzhyna Mort, Theodore Odrach, Jaan Kaplinski, Sofi Oksanen, Aleksander Hemon, Toomas Vint, Sana Krasikov, Zurab Leshawa, Aka Morchiladze, Rollan Seisenbayev, Mukhamet Shayakhmetov, Chinghiz Aimatov, Bektash Shamshiev, Inga Abele, Agate Nesaule, Marcelijus Martinaitis, Tomas Venclova, Iulian Ciocan, Ion Drytse, Alina Bronsky, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Valdimir Sorokin, Akbar Golrang, Farzaneh Khojandi, Andrey Volos, Atamurad Atabaev, Khurdayberdy Durdyev, Yuri Andrukhovuch, Andrey Kurkov, Oksana Zabuzhko, Hamid Ismailov, Vladimir Makanin, Olga Slavnikova, and Drago Jancar.

Although we expect contributors to focus their essays on Post-Soviet writers, we welcome contributors to identify influences from many writers, as relevant, including particularly earlier Russian and American authors such as Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Lidiya Zinovyeva-Annibal, Teffi, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Vera Inber, Mikhail Bulgakov, Isaak Babel, Solzhenitsyn, and Gary Shteyngart to Poe, Bierce, Melville, Hawthorne, Sherwood, Anderson, Willa Cather, Fitzgerald, James Baldwin, Welty, Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Steinbeck, Hemingway, Richard Wright, Salinger, Cheever, Shirley Jackson, Tillie Olsen, John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Raymond Carver, Alice Walker, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Jhumpa Lahiri.

We intend to have an academically rigorous, interesting, and cohesive volume on the topic, and we invite you to join us.

Abstracts of 500 words, current CV, & profile of 200 words by April 3, 2020

Jeff Birkenstein, Ph.D., & Robert C. Hauhart, J.D., Ph.D.

Saint Martin’s University

5000 Abbey Way SE

Lacey, WA  98503




The co-editors have extensive editorial experience. The essays in our earlier volumes display the quality of research, analysis, and writing we seek to publish, and we invite potential contributors to examine papers of their choice from among them. Previous collections include American Writers in Exile (2015), ISBN 978-1-61925-517-3; Social Justice and American Literature (2017), ISBN 978-1-68217-565-1 (both from Salem Press); and, European Writers in Exile (2018 Lexington Books), 9781498560238.

Completed first drafts of around 5-6,000 words by August 15, 2020