Contemporary Black British Women’s Writing

Posted on Jul 16, 2019

Special Issue of Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature Edited by Elisabeth Bekers, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, and Helen Cousins This special issue aims to appraise the burgeoning field of Black British Women’s Writing in a collection of essays that considers the literary innovations of British women of African and African-Caribbean descent since the 1990s. The issue will highlight the centrality of aesthetic creativity in writing by black British women in order to acknowledge their investments in innovation and their challenges to literary tradition. We invite essays that recognize and celebrate the aesthetic qualities of this writing alongside or instead of the more usual socio-critical investigations, which understand the politics of these texts as a type of sociological information. However, the focus on innovation and experimentation should not neglect the political intent of writing that challenges social, political, and cultural issues. On the contrary, the special issue will be framed by an understanding that literary aesthetics, race, and gender intersect to produce/question particular social and material in/exclusions in specific historical and socio-cultural contexts. We welcome essays on the full range of genres (including novels, plays, poems, performance, life writing, essays) that are adopted, and adapted, by contemporary black British women writers. We also seek to draw attention to a wide range of writers, beyond individuals who have gained prominence in recent years; therefore, we encourage contributions discussing authors with developing reputations. Topics might include but are not limited to: Innovation in literary form, for example, through hybrid cross-genre writing, linguistic play, anti-realism, narrative and structural modes that create fragmentation. The ways in which the formal experiments of black British women’s writing ask challenging questions of society. The intersection of race and gender with ideas of literary aesthetics in black British women’s writing. How alternative reading practices can open up explorations of black British women’s aesthetic innovations. The effects a critical focus on aesthetics and innovation has on canon formation for black British women’s writing and beyond. The traditions and norms that limit black British women writers’ artistic expression to “authenticity” and cultural representation. Initial queries and abstracts are encouraged though final acceptance will be determined by the completed essay. Essays should be 6,000-9,000 words (excluding notes), should conform to the endnote style of the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, and should be submitted in Microsoft Word. Please submit essays through email by 1 October 2019 to and Click here for more information:...

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The Postcolonial Novel, Post-9/11 (Winter 2020)

Posted on May 28, 2019

Studies in the Novel is currently seeking submissions for a special issue on “The Postcolonial Novel, Post-9/11,” which will be guest edited by Gaurav Desai (University of Michigan) and published in Winter 2020. As we approach the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, this special issue invites contributors to address how the postcolonial novel, broadly construed, has been shaped by and in turn responded to the events of 9/11. Even as we extend this call, we want our interlocutors to have a critical stance towards our framing of the topic – is 9/11 an appropriate historical marker of global relevance or does it exhibit a US-centric worldview? Is the designation “postcolonial” still the most effective marker for cultural production post-9/11 when the “colonialism” that it often refers to is overwhelmingly marked by a previous era? Beyond these matters of framing, the issue is interested in papers that consider how postcolonial novels have engaged with topics such as the alleged clash of civilizations, the notion of just and unjust wars, the politics of retribution, the discourse of ‘national security,’ the erosion of civil liberties, the surveillance of the ‘foreigner,’ figurations of the ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism,’ Islamophobia, New Orientalism/Post-Orientalism, the migrant postcolonial novel post-9/11, transnational feminism in a post-9/11 world, US imperialism post-9/11, international responses to 9/11, and inter-ethnic solidarities/tensions in the aftermath of 9/11, among others. We are equally interested in publishing articles that engage with the ways in which 9/11 has shaped both the themes and the forms of the postcolonial novel. Submissions should be sent in MS Word, devoid of personal identifying information. Manuscripts should be 6,000-9,000 words in length, inclusive of endnotes and Works Cited, have standard formatting (1” margins, double-spaced throughout, etc.), and conform to the 7th edition of the MLA Style Manual. Endnotes should be as brief and as limited in number as possible. Illustrations may accompany articles; high-resolution digital files (JPEGs preferred) must be provided upon article acceptance. All copyright permissions must be obtained by the author prior to publication. Questions and submissions should be sent to The deadline for submissions is December 1,...

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CFP – MLA 2020 Panel: Pleasure, Arts and the Human in Africa

Posted on Feb 11, 2019

MLA 2020 Seattle: Pleasure, Arts and the Human in Africa Summary Call The panel explores the multi-dimensional ways in which literary and cultural forms – new or old – might help us navigate the nexus of pleasure and the human. Send 250 word abstracts and a one-page CV before March 15 to Naminata Diabate, with ‘MLA PANEL” in subject line. Expanded Call The Africa since 1990 Forum of the MLA welcomes abstracts for a guaranteed panel titled “Pleasure, Arts and the Human in Africa.” The panel is part of the 2020 MLA Annual Convention in January 2020 in Seattle. We are interested in papers that address the multi-dimensional ways in which African literary and other cultural forms—new or old—might help us navigate how artistic practices and theoretical methodologies provide meaningful, illuminating ways of reading pleasure as it intersects with current contributions and/or threats to human thriving. The impetus of the panel comes from three interrelated points. 1-The presidential theme for the 2020 MLA convention that Simon Gikandi has chosen” the human.” 2- Despite prominent and precolonial accounts of the human in African social and moral thought and practice pace Gyekye 2010 and Wiredu 1987, still the colonial enterprise ignored and proceeded to frame the native as savage, primitive, and less than human. In the light of these contesting formulations of African humanity, it is useful to wonder which versions of the African human prevails today in an era of impending threats to human prosperity. The panel seeks to focus on how pleasure participates in current accounts of the human, which we may apprehend through our creative imagination. In its most general definition, pleasure includes the fleeting affective positivity of all joy, gladness, liking, and enjoyment, all our feeling good or happy. This and other accounts posit pleasure as the only actual ultimate ends and the only justified ultimate ends of all our voluntary pursuit and avoidance. In neurobiology, pleasure has be identified as the principle of human evolution and survival (Victor Johnson 2003). Given the centrality of pleasure inhuman (and relevantly similar animal) life, a pressing question emerges, How do we conceptualize pleasure as formulated in African philosophies and artistic products. In enriching the ongoing academic conversations on pleasure and cognate terms, this panel seeks to examine the extent to which pleasure, arts, and the human reconfigure conventional sites, methods, and theories of literary and cultural criticism. Prospective panelists should submit a 250-word abstract to Naminata Diabate ( by March 15, 2019 with “MLA Panel” in subject line. We welcome papers engaging the following questions among others: How might we either theorize or critique the search and the enjoyment of pleasure by creative avenues from and about Africa? To...

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CFP: 4th Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies Conference – DEADLINE EXTENDED

Posted on Dec 5, 2018

16 – 18 August 2019, Woldia University, Ethiopia Theme: East Africa’s Elsewheres Historically, Africa has a rich tradition of inter-regional trade and cultural exchange. East Africa is no exception. However, while the Southern and Western Africa have considerable scholarly attention, little research in the humanities has been carried out in the East African context. In particular very little attention has been paid to literary and cultural studies. This conference proposes to address those discursive and geopolitical failings by seeking to engage with East Africa’s nodes of connectivity, entanglement, engagement, contestation and transactions through papers, roundtables and panel discussion. Eastern Africa has interacted with other African regions for many years. It has seen intellectual, cultural, trade and political exchanges, despite and perhaps because of differing ideological agendas. East Africa’s role in this process is widely known, but only in part. We can see the role of East Africa in the forging of the Pan-African project, and can see connections with Europe, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle and Far East and elsewhere in Africa in the faces of local people. These global connections seem to be under-researched. While the attention of the rest of the world has been focussed on the unstable Great Lakes region, the mobility of scholars and cultural artists across the region in the 1960s and 1970s has left a lasting impact on the history and culture of the region. Even earlier, voyages of exploration to and from the Far East generated hybrid cultures of people and creative art, symbolised by images of shipwreck and slavery. This cultural intermixing generated a pot-pourri of associations between cultures and civilisations that were derived from, but differed in major ways from those of the people. That can be seen to day in the popular view of Zanzibar as a haven of leisure and fine living, a vision completely at odds with it’s history of slavery and oppression. The commonality of ideas and cultures that transcends current political borders raises questions in many cases about the logicality of those borders. Another area of great interest is the effect of the Cold War on the politics of East Africa and the choices made by nation states at that time and after the end of the Cold War. The Cold War had a profound effect on cultural exchange and the activities and postures of artists and thinkers in East Africa. Some consider that process an unfinished aspect of colonialism and its legacy to the region. The conference seeks to invite contributions, at this stage papers, to a sustained meditation on how East Africa’s diaspora and local heritages have created and modified East African literary and artistic development thus far, and how we can envision...

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CFP: Ecotones 5 – The Caribbean: Vulnerability and Resilience

Posted on Sep 26, 2018

Ecotones: Encounters, Crossings, and Communities 2015-2020 Ecotones 5 – The Caribbean: Vulnerability and Resilience at Manhanttanville College June 21-22, 2019 in partnership with EMMA (Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3) and MIGRINTER (CNRS-Université de Poitiers) Click here for a PDF of this call. CALL FOR PAPERS An “ecotone” initially designates a transitional area between two ecosystems, for example between land and sea. The “Ecotones” program (2015-2019) is a cycle of conferences which aims to borrow this term traditionally used in geography and ecology and to broaden the concept by applying it to other disciplines in the social sciences and the humanities. An “ecotone” can thus also be understood as a cultural space of encounters, conflicts, and renewal between several communities (Florence Krall). The Ecotones 5 conference will include an interdisciplinary study of the wider Caribbean as a space of cultural, historical, geographic, and linguistic diversity, a meeting place of peoples from different corners of the world. Central to this study is the idea that the Caribbean is a dynamic and heterogeneous space that has clearly been shaped by the persistence of colonialism. Colonialism created an exploitative and extractive economy based on forced labor which in turn led to multiple forms of resistance beyond rebellions and revolutions that were endemic throughout the region. Recently, the region's response to several natural disasters has also demonstrated multiple forms of resilience. These forms of resistance and resilience can be seen in the wide array of literary/historical/ social/nationalist movements that came after the end of colonization. Postcolonialism gave rise to movements such as Antillanité and Créolité that stress the multiplicity of the Caribbean experience. More recently, the idea of littérature-monde “echoes antillanité and créolité in that it calls both for an end to French ethnocentrism while advocating for a ‘return to the world’” (Moudileno). This multiplicity is evident in Fernando Ortiz’s use of the term “transculturation” which stressed the merging and converging of cultures. This hybrid nationalism that Ortiz espoused and Albizu Campos epitomized, saw the Caribbean as an area that embodied hybrid postcolonial identities. Ortiz’s “transculturation” is echoed by Gilroy’s “Black Atlantic” which is a singular discrete work that uses the “Atlantic” as a geopolitical unit that carves out a cultural-political space for the discussion/creation of a hybrid Caribbean. Both concepts challenge the centrality of Europe through the use of indigenous languages and cross-cultural imagination. We invite proposals on a wide range of topics related to Caribbean as listed below, but encourage those that relate to the Caribbean as a space of vulnerability and resilience in light of natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes, including the repercussions of the massive earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010 and the aftermath of more recent hurricanes, Irma...

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CFP: Anglophone African Literature and Culture Entries for The Literary Encyclopedia

Posted on Jul 16, 2018

Click here for a PDF of this call. The Literary Encyclopedia at is looking for qualified writers to enhance its coverage of Anglophone Writing and Cultures of Africa. The list below is not comprehensive or final, and new proposals of writers/works/context essays that are not currently listed in our database are also welcome. However, we will prioritize articles on writers and works frequently studied in university courses, and those that are highly topical and well-known. You can browse our current content, and find more information on the Encyclopedia – including its publishing model, editorial policies, and specific information for authors at, under the ABOUT tab. To log in please use the (case-sensitive) Guest details: username: SummerGuest2018 password: Mahfouz1911 [case-sensitive] All offers of contribution should come accompanied by an up-to-date CV and, in the case of doctoral students who wish to offer a contribution, also a short writing sample. The overwhelming majority (about 90%) of our contributors are academic scholars, while the remaining percentage is made up of highly endorsed doctoral students and independent researchers. We hope that you will wish to join us in this enterprise. If you wish to contribute, please contact the volume editors: Dr Helen Cousins (, or Alex Wanjala (, or the managing editor, Dr Cristina Sandru ( GENERAL (life and work) AUTHOR-PROFILES and WORKS Uwem Akpan Elechi Amadi Monica Arac Jared Angira Ayi Kwei Armah Sefi Atta Kofi Awoonor Violet Barungi Asenath Bole Odaga Doreen Baingana A. Igoni Barrett Achmat Dagor Amma Daro Cyprian Ekwensi Akachi Ezeigbo Aminatta Forna Stanley Gazemba Jowhor Ile Francis Imbuga Jane Kaberuka Jonathan Kariara Leonard Kibera Peter Kimani Barbara Kimenye Goretti Kyomuhendo Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi Okey Ndibe Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ Mary Karooro Okurut Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor Okot P’Bitek Tayeb Salih Taiye Selasi Lola Shoneyin Chika Unigwe Noo Saro-Wiwa   INDIVIDUAL WORKS by Ayi Kwei Armah Fragments (1971) Two Thousand Seasons (1973) by Syl Cheney-Coker Sacred River by Aminatta Forna The Memory of Love by Flora Nwapa Novels Efuru (1966) Idu (1970) Never Again (1975) One Is Enough (1981) Women are Different (1986) Short stories/poems collections This Is Lagos and Other Stories (1971) Cassava Song and Rice Song (1986) Wives at War and Other Stories (1980) by Grace Ogot Novels The Promised Land: a novel (1966) Short story collections Land Without Thunder (1968) The Other Woman: selected short stories (1976) Miaha (1983) by Amos Tutuola Palm-Wine Drinkard (1952) by Yvonne Vera Why Don’t You Carve Other Animals (short stories) (1992) Nehanda (1993) Without a Name (1994) Under the Tongue (1997) The Stone Virgins (2002) by Rebeka Njau Ripples in the Pool (1975) The Sacred Seed (2003) by Margaret Ogola The River and the Source (1994) I swear by...

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