Exploring Authenticity in Contemporary Literatures in English

deadline for submissions: 
April 30, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Humanities journal
contact email: 

This is a cfp for a special issue of Humanities that will build on the work presented at the symposium held at the University of Reading on 1st and 2nd November 2021, exploring the different ways that authenticity is constructed and represented in contemporary literature.


Culture in general, and literature in particular, seem to be concerned with authenticity, or lack of it, more than ever: authenticity in politics, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and nationality. In contemporary fiction, especially, there appears to be a turn away from fiction as traditionally understood, and a move towards authenticity as an ethical marker of subjectivity. The popularity of such narratives seems to suggest that we long for things we experience as lost, searching for an identity, be it individual or collective, that eludes us. But what is authenticity and what does it entail in a globalised world? How is authenticity constructed and deconstructed in contemporary literature? In a ‘post-truth’ world – a world of ‘fake news’, viral conspiracy theories and catfishing – is the concept of authenticity redundant, or more vital than ever?


Abstracts of no more than 250 words for articles of 6000-7000 words should be sent to d.brauner@reading by April 30th, 2022. Final essays should be submitted no later than October 1st, 2022. All essays will be peer-reviewed.


Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Authenticity and gender
  • Authenticity and sexuality
  • Authenticity and ethnicity
  • Authenticity and nationality
  • Authenticity and the global/the local 
  • Realism, hyperrealism, naturalism
  • Authenticity in the postmodern world
  • Authenticity and intertextuality: concepts such as original literary work, reproduction, printed representation
  • Ghostwriting, diaries, biographies, autobiographies, autofiction
  • Authenticity and adaptation
  • Authenticity and creativity