Contemporary Black British Women’s Writing

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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 writers 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 elisabeth.bekers@vub.be and H.Cousins@newman.ac.uk.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]