The Millennial Novel (Edited Collection)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Loïc Bourdeau and Christopher Lloyd
contact email: 

This edited collection aims to theorize and contextualize transnational manifestations of the “millennial novel,” a term that has been used often derogatively to describe contemporary fiction from a generation of writers living through unprecedented historical upheavals. The book will not debate the use of the term, but rather provide an initial theorization of its forms and primary concerns. Characterised, we might say, by rootlessness, anxiety, ennui, and a general detachment from the governing socioeconomic structures of neoliberal modern life, the millennial novel is a genre at once over-debated and under-examined.

While authors such as Olivia Sudjic, Bret Easton Ellis, and Brandon Taylor, have outlined their sense of millennial writing (in very different ways), this book will offer new lenses through which to read novels written by, and into, a narrow band of history. We want to think about this moment in light of queer studies work on temporality (Muñoz, Love, Freeman, and others) and affective structures of liveability and the good life (Berlant). Asking what the millennial novel can tell us about the failures of sociality, relationality and individuality in the twenty-first century around the world, this edited book outlines new paradigms of belonging and identity. The chapters will explore, from a variety of perspectives, the ways that these novels represent and diagnose the contemporary moment in a range of trans/national contexts.  

We are interested in chapters that explore all aspects of millennial novels and their authors. In particular, we are looking for work that examines form, narrative, and aesthetics; race, gender, sexuality, class, dis/ability, and their intersections; digitality and technology; historical, cultural, literary, and other contextual frameworks; and the a/political, ethical, and intellectual stakes of millennial writing. Articles might frame the millennial novel in contrast to other literary “movements” like the “new sincerity” or the “post-postmodern,” or even in light of Gen X and Gen Y writings that push other kinds of aesthetic boundaries. We welcome articles that explore individual writers and novels, as well as those that compare and contrast authors across geographical and cultural contexts.

Authors studied (among many) might include:

Sally Rooney, Ling Ma, Ottessa Moshfegh, Andrew Martin, Raven Leilani, Édouard Louis, Kiley Reid, Halle Butler, Brit Bennett, Bryan Washington, Brandon Taylor, Karen Russell, Ocean Vuong, Kate Elizabeth Russell, Sam Lansky, Naoise Dolan, Zaina Arafat, Diana Clarke, Kevin Lambert, Jean-Guy Forget.

In the first instance, please send abstracts of 350 words to c.lloyd@herts.ac.uk and loic.bourdeau@louisiana.edu by September 30 2021, along with a short (150 word) bio. Final chapters will be due September 2022. If you have any questions, please do get in touch and we'd be happy to discuss more.