Russian & American Short Stories & Influence (updated)

deadline for submissions: 
April 1, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Jeff Birkenstein / Saint Martin's University

UPDATE: We have a contract with Lexington Books!


But we are posting our updated CFP because we would still like one or two more excellent essays on specific authors.  


Below follows our original CFP, which we update here slightly and with urgency. We have thus far assembled an excellent collection of essays, but are now looking specifically for essays that meet the requirements below as well as: 1) essays about major Russian 19th and early 20th century authors OTHER than Chekhov (as you can imagine, we quickly got our share of those), such as Turgenev, Tolstoy, etc. and 2) about American authors who are of color and/or women. Please read on and submit your idea(s) to us. We are excited to hear from you.


Though usually relegated to second status critically, the short story is having a moment. When Canadian writer Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2013, it was specifically for her contribution to the short story genre. As a writer who does not write novels, she acknowledged the importance of the award: “It’s a wonderful thing for the short story.” Indeed.


Nevertheless, we believe that short stories continue to be overlooked critically, just as the myriad connections between Russian and American short stories and their writers have yet to be fully developed. For a co-edited collection, we seek essays of 4,000 to 6,000 words that explore the short stories of some of the more popular and/or influential Russian and American writers from the nineteenth century to today.  We are particularly interested in essays that explore connections between Russian and American short stories and their writers, from biography to genre/literary studies to political issues (such as exile and resistance) and more.


This collection of transnational, globalized Russian and American literature studies envisions understanding the interwoven nature of our contemporary world and the role that various Russian and American short story writers have played, and continue to play, in it. We look for essays that examine anew, and perhaps revise, our cultural, historical, spatial, and epistemological understandings of these stories. How, for instance, did Russian short story writers comment on the agrarian and modernizing industrialist tensions of tsarist Russia, and/or the extended revolutionary period? In the United States, how did a developing nation coming out of the horrors of the Civil War influence the construction of the modern short story? In the twentieth century, how does short story writing in an increasingly globalized world—when seen from before, during, and beyond the Cold War—influence short stories and the genre?  And, today, how do Russian and American short story writers construct meaning at/in/against the context of a globalized, dehumanizing, suffocating, and neoliberal capitalist world?


In this collection, we intend to trace the history of the short story genre in both countries from the nineteenth-century onward, but also, pointedly, to connect these histories one to the other. We encourage critics interested in the entire range of Russian and American short stories and authors—including, but not limited to, Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Lidiya Zinovyeva-Annibal, Teffi, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Vera Inber, Mikhail Bulgakov, Isaak Babel, and early Solzhenitsyn 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 about 500 words & CV by April 1, 2020 to:


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

Saint Martin’s University

5000 Abbey Way SE

Lacey, WA  98503


The co-editors have extensive editorial experience. Our earlier volumes include American Writers in Exile, 2015, and Social Justice and American Literature, 2017 (both from Salem Press); and, European Writers in Exile (2018, Lexington Books).


Completed first drafts of around 4-6,000 words by July 15, 2020