DEADLINE EXTENDED: Call for Papers (Re)Imagining Tomorrow: Agency and Possibility in Literature and Media for Children and Young Adults

deadline for submissions: 
March 25, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
University of British Columbia, Master of Arts in Children's Literature Program

(Re)Imagining Tomorrow: Agency and Possibility in Literature and Media for Children and Young Adults

Call for Paper Proposals

Deadline for Submission: 25 March 2023 

A peer-reviewed graduate student conference - Accepting virtual and in-person presentations

University of British Columbia | Unceded traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Vancouver, Canada | Friday 23 June - Saturday 24 June 2023 

What do we think of when we imagine the future? 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) projected a world in which humanity has spread to the stars, where visiting the moon is as routine as a flight across the country. Back to the Future Part II (1989) famously imagined hoverboards and flying cars by the year 2015. The YA dystopian boom of the late 2000s to 2010s imagined compartmentalized, constrained futures like in The Hunger Games (2008)and Divergent (2011). Today, in the face of impending climate disaster, growing economic disparity, and the lingering effects of a worldwide pandemic, the future still seems not only hard to imagine, but uncertain. How can we imagine a future that we may not live to see? How do children grapple with inheriting a future riddled with the mistakes and problems we are generating in the present? If the children are the future, what is that future going to look like? What agency do children have to create their own future? As we live through times of unprecedented global change–technological, cultural, and environmental–the future is no longer a distant reality. The future is created every day. (Re)Imagining Tomorrow: Agency and Possibility in Literature and Media for Children and Young Adults aims to discuss topics surrounding the future and its presentation in youth literature and media and showcase graduate students’ academic and creative work on the matter.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Forms of youth activism and agency in a changing world (e.g., climate change, children’s rights, education, etc.)

  • De-/Anti-/Post-colonialism of the near and far future

  • Afrofuturism and Indigenous Futurism 

  • Posthumanism and technology in children's literature

  • Cultural Change, Communication, and the Transformation of Identity 

  • Revolution, War, Resistance, and Reimaginings/Retellings

  • Artificial Intelligence

  • Alternate/Virtual worlds

  • Hope, Resilience, and Memory

  • Change, Transformation, and Becoming

  • Utopia, Dystopia, Heterotopia

  • Evolution and Progress 

  • The Anthropocene

  • Time Travel

  • The future of the publishing industry and the impact of global crisis 

  • The future of local, national, and global children’s literature

  • Cultural, Social, and Economic Change

  • The evolution of children’s literature beyond text: films, sequential art, video games, and other media.

These topics are suggestions, as we are open to proposals on any aspect of the future, agency, and possibility in children’s and young adult literature, media, education, and culture. We welcome submissions from graduate students, scholars, and practitioners from a variety of disciplines, including literary studies, cultural studies, sociology, psychology, anthropology, media studies, and others.

Academic Paper Proposals

Please send a 250-word abstract, including the title of your paper, 5-8 keywords, and 3-5 academic, bibliographic references. Your name should not appear on the proposal. Please attach a separate 50-word biography, including your name, preferred pronouns, student status, university affiliation, home country, and email address. Save the proposal and the biography as two separate Word files (.DOC or .DOCX) and use the format “Academic_Name_PaperTitle” in the email subject line.

Creative Writing Proposals 

All creative writing genres and forms are welcome, including novel chapters, poetry, picture books, graphic novels, scripts, amongst others. Please send a sample of your work that is no more than 12 pages long, double-spaced. Include the title, a list of references (if applicable), and a 150-word description identifying the topic, genre, targeted age group, and relevance to the conference themes. Your name should not appear on the sample. Please attach a separate 50-word biography, including your name, student status, preferred pronouns, university affiliation, home country, and email address. 

Save the sample and description as one Word file and the biography as a separate Word file (.DOC or .DOCX). Use this format “Creative_Name_SampleTitle” for the email subject line.

Participants are welcome to submit both academic and creative proposals. Each proposal will be adjudicated separately, and you may be accepted for one or both streams. Please follow the guidelines for both submissions above and send them in separate emails.

Dates and Logistics

Deadline for proposal submission: 25 March 2023

A notification of acceptance will be sent by the end of April 2023.

All submissions will be blind reviewed by the members of the Review Committee. 

Contact Us

About Us

The Master of Arts in Children’s Literature (MACL) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) is the only graduate program in children’s literature in Canada and one of the most multi-disciplinary children’s literature programs in the world. It is offered through the UBC iSchool (Library, Archival, and Information Studies) with joint participation from the Department of English Language and Literatures, the Department of Language and Literacy Education, and the School of Creative Writing. As one of the few venues in Canada that showcases emerging scholarship in children’s and young adult literature, this conference provides a platform for new scholars and writers from different backgrounds, especially for graduate and upper-division undergraduate students, and creates cross-disciplinary associations that may inspire new and innovative connections to support writing and research in this area. 

About the Conference

The first Graduate Student Conference in Children’s and Young Adult Literature, Media and Culture took place in 2008. In addition to paper and creative writing presentations, the conference invites renowned scholars and authors as our keynote speakers. Featured keynote speakers from past conferences include Dr. Maria Tatar, Dr. Philip Nel, Dr. Elizabeth Marshall, Dr. S.R. Toliver, Dr. Angel Matos, Dr. Naomi Hamer and best-selling authors Rachel Hartman and Richard Van Camp. This year, students from the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature Program at UBC’s iSchool will come together for the tenth time to host the event. 


We look forward to hearing from you!