After Nineteen Eighty-Four: British Dystopias, from 1984 to the present day

deadline for submissions: 
May 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Sorbonne Université (Paris)

Sillages Critiques Special Issue

Call for Papers


After Nineteen Eighty-Four: British Dystopias, from 1984 to the present day


1984 is the date in the future when the action in Orwell’s premonitory novel was supposed to take place. When people in the real world of 1984 came to realise that history had caught up with that originally fictional date, worried interrogations started to emerge as to whether Orwell’s fiction had actually come true. Whether we now lived in the dystopian world that the novel had foreseen, i.e. in the world of Big Brother – a world of omnipresent surveillance screens, greedily confiscated power structures, constant linguistic revisionary tactics, and ruthlessly utilitarian biopolitics. Orwell’s striking modernity was apparent to everyone, ordinary citizens and journalists, sophisticated literary critics and astute political thinkers, and of course shrewd artists of all sorts, including film directors and novelists. We did indeed live in ‘Dismaland’, as Banksy’s 2015 anti-amusement art installation (featuring fifty other dystopian artists) would much later make clear.

It was evident that the dystopian streak tapped by a discouraged, dying novelist in the dreary post-WWII period had not been exhausted. Far from it. As a matter of fact, the genre seems to have been continuously gaining momentum, and it will come as no surprise to anyone that today’s younger generations enjoy watching series or reading novels that deal with dystopic political or post-apocalyptic situations. Bernardine Evaristo’s Blonde Roots (2009), Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror (2011-), Megan Hunter’s The End We Start From (2017), or Sophie Mackintosh’s The Water Cure (2019), constitute the most obvious body of recent evidence of a revival. Not to mention the thriving dystopian cinema industry, from Michael Radford’s 1984 (1984) and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (1985), to Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later (2002), Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men (2006), or Yórgos Lánthimos’s The Lobster (2015). Nor did well-established novelists hesitate to test their skills in the genre, including such widely diverse writers as P.D. James (The Children of Men, 1992) Kazuo Ishiguro (Never Let Me Go, 2005), Will Self (The Book of Dave, 2006), or Jeanette Winterson (The Stone Gods, 2007).

What are the contemporary forms of dystopia in Britain? Have topics changed? Perspectives been modified? Is there such a thing as a British posterity of Orwell?


Sillages Critiques is calling for papers on contemporary British dystopias, from 1984 to the present day. We are aiming to publish a special issue dealing mainly with contemporary British literature, but articles on British painters, series or films will also be most welcome. The expected date of publication is September 2022 at the latest.


250-500 words proposals accompanied by a short presentation of the authors (mentioning notably their status and affiliation) should be sent to the prospective editors before May 30th, 2021.  Authors will then be informed of the results of their submission before the end of  June.

The final texts will be expected to be of approximately 5000 words, to be handed in no later than September 30th, 2021 to the prospective editors:


Cecile Beaufils:

Jagna Oltarzewska:

Frédéric Regard:

Claire Wrobel:


Sillages critiques is an open access peer-reviewed journal devoted to the arts and literatures of anglophone cultures. It is the e-journal of the VALE : Voix Anglophones, Littérature et Esthétique research centre based at Sorbonne University. The journal is indexed in the MLA International Bibliography, Worldcat Directories and DOAJ.