Saltburn (Emerald Fennell, 2023)

deadline for submissions: 
March 20, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
James Leggott

Submissions are invited for a special journal issue centred on the film Saltburn (Emerald Fennell, 2023). Since its premiere on Amazon Prime, Emerald Fennell's film has generated an exceptional level of audience engagement within a media context where the increased presence of diversified media platforms and a drop in cinema attendance has effectively dispensed with the 'water cooler' moment of film consumption, with the exception of big budget studio franchises. Whether it is the more than four billion user engagements on TikTok (D'Alessandro 2024), the countless reaction videos to the film on Youtube, the popularity of memorabilia made by fans including so-called 'Jacob Elordi bathwater' candles, numerous Saltburn-themed parties popping up in different cities, Sophie Ellis-Bextor's resurgence on UK charts or the fact that the film has been referenced on social media accounts as different as that of Nasa and Grindr, it is clear that Saltburn has inspired a passionate audience response. In terms of critical reception, responses have ranged from disparaging to laudatory, with reviews ranging from 'big on style but thin on substance' (Debruge 2023) to it being 'the anarchic class satire [and] shot in the arm that British cinema needs' (Collin 2023).


Drawing on this, this special issue will explore how we might think of the film's role in its current context. We aim to interrogate its place within both contemporary British and queer cinema, as well as how questions of social class, as well as camp, 'good taste' and aesthetics can be considered in conjunction with the level of audience response which the film has inspired. Potential topics relating to the film include but are not limited to:


  • class and Saltburn
  • cinematic maximalism in Saltburn and its place in British cinema
  • Saltburn and queer cinema
  • audience reactions to the film (including but not limited to YouTube reaction videos, TikTok, etc.)
  • Saltburn and race
  • Saltburn as adaptation
  • Saltburn's literary, cultural and musical intertexts
  • Saltburn, Emerald Fennell and contemporary narratives surrounding the female auteur
  • Gender in Saltburn
  • Saltburn and time: millennials and the noughties
  • Saltburn and heritage


To submit your abstract (200-300 words) and a short bio-note, please contact editors Anamarija Horvat ( and James Leggott ( by March 20th 2024. The full special issue proposal will then be submitted to the Open Screens journal, which has expressed interest in the proposal. Acceptances will be confirmed in April, with the deadline for first drafts likely to be late 2024. If you would like to discuss potential ideas and approaches prior to submission, please feel free to email the editors.