Deadline Extended. Edited Volume: Africana and American and Female in Young Adult Fiction

deadline for submissions: 
December 1, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Ymitri Mathison
contact email: 


Africana and American and Female in Young Adult Fiction 

Edited by Ymitri Mathison

(editor of Growing Up Asian American in Young Adult Fiction, University Press of Mississippi, 2018. Winner: Children’s Literature Association Edited Book Award, 2020)

This volume, currently under advanced contract with the University Press of Mississippi, is a call for original critical essays.

The mantle of the trailblazers of the Africana Young Adult (YA) diasporic literature in the United States, such as Caribbean-born Jamaica Kincaid in the 1980’s and Haitian-born Edwidge Danicat in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, has been taken up by younger second generation American born writers. They are part of Generation Y and Z (Millennials), and their writings incorporate not just the traditional Young Adult (YA) novel and children’s picture books, but also newer genres: graphic fiction, anime, science fiction and fantasy, and web fiction, such as fan fiction and web series. These new second generation writers reflect the true globalization of the world and literature with most of them having been born in the United States to immigrant parents from either Africa or the Caribbean. They reflect the multiculturalism of the United States with ties to their various ethnic immigrant communities, but their fiction also embraces their diasporic identities—multi-ethnic American with a globalized transnationalism.

The proposed edited book collection, Africana and American and Female in Young Adult Fiction, will examine women writers from the African diaspora whose fiction, published in the 21st century, focus on the coming-of-age of young second generation African or Caribbean (American) girls growing up in the United States. The central question the book will interrogate is the question that many of the novels bring up which is what does it mean to grow up African(a) American: for example, Nigerian American or South African American or Kenyan American or Caribbean American, such as Jamaican American or Antiguan American or Bahamian American. Many of these contemporary writers are women, and their novels focus on young girls and their coming of age as they revise the traditional western male-privileged bildungsroman. They are shattering the glass ceiling, especially in sci-fi and fantasy novels with young Africana girl heroes.

Many of these very popular writers’ novels have been featured in many bestseller lists, such as the New York Times Young Adult Hardcover Bestseller List and their books have received national book awards; some of these authors include Dominican American Elizabeth Acevedo, Nigerian American Nnedi Okarafor, and Haitian American Ibi Zoboi. Nigerian American Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone (2018) is planned to be a Disney movie and Jamaican American Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything (2015) and The Sun Is Also a Star (2016) were made into movies.

These novels also explore what it means for young girls to grow up second generation, to be born and raised in the United States, to define themselves as American and part of their immigrant ethnic communities. Many Young Adult (YA) novels focus on what are considered to be “adult” themes from an adolescent’s point of view. The proposed book collection, Africana and American and Female in Young Adult Fiction, will examine not only major themes of female identity, subjectivity, and agency, but will also interrogate such themes as: is there a loss of identity in assimilation or is assimilation possible at all? For example, even American-born children with an American accent can be considered “foreigners” but not “American.” How are their experiences different from Black Americans and other minorities?

Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Race/racism and being exoticized and marginalized
  • The diaspora, home and homeland, and transnationalism
  • Being Africana and Muslim after 9/11
  • Family separations (war-torn homeland/refugees)
  • Poverty in the United States and/or poverty in extended family members in the homeland
  • Undocumented immigrants and immigration and DACA
  • Gender, sexuality, LGBTQIA
  • Education and stereotypes
  • Shattering the glass ceiling

I have signed an advanced contract with University Press of Mississippi. Please submit a detailed 500-800 word abstract and a brief CV by December 1, 2020 to Ymitri Mathison at Completed articles of 6000-7000 words are due by August 1, 2021. I hope to turn in the collection to the publisher in November 2021 for peer review and for a publication date in 2022. Inquiries welcome, and all emails will be acknowledged.