Attached to Fiction

Friday, 4 June 2010

I'm editing a book collection of short stories and essays with my friend and colleague, Sophie Sunderland. We're currently seeking abstract submissions and I thought my blog is as good a place as any to circulate our official Call for Papers notice. Have a look ...

Collection Call for Papers:

Attached to Fiction: Trauma, Loss, Pleasure

Editors: Dr Hila Shachar and Dr Sophie Sunderland, English and Cultural Studies, University of Western Australia

Contact email:

Mr Sakamoto said that reading had saved his life. Not mathematics. Not money. Not travel. Reading. At a time, he said, when he felt blasted by images, words had anchored him, secured him, stopped his free-falling plunge into nowhere.

-Gail Jones, Dreams of Speaking (London: Harvill Secker, 2006), p. 132.

A survivor of the atomic bomb, Gail Jones’s Mr Sakamoto expresses the inherent relationship between literature, loss and trauma. Words that fail to mediate or reconcile loss can also form fictional worlds that offer a particular kind of fidelity to the troubling, incomprehensible event of loss. Attachments to fiction can therefore be intensely felt and strongly defended as part of traumatic experience. We are seeking 300-500 word abstracts for a book collection of essays and short stories on how fictional narratives intersect with personal narratives of loss and trauma. This collection also aims to explore the complex forms of pleasure brought about by the attachment to, or creation of, fiction during traumatic events, loss, or grief. Essays and fiction with an Australian focus are particularly welcome. Specific examples of topics might include, but are not limited to:

Family histories of loss and trauma told in fictional form

Identification with a specific novel or character at a particularly traumatic stage in life

The use of reading and writing as a therapeutic and cathartic experience

The “pleasure” of fiction during periods of loss and trauma

Writing through grief

Reflections upon why certain novels or narratives are particularly important during certain traumatic events

Fictional short stories that engage with the themes of literary production, trauma and loss

Personal narratives of coping with trauma and loss through the process of reading and writing

Theoretical perspectives on literary representations of trauma and loss

Attachment as a psychological and psychoanalytic model with which to consider personal relationships to fictional characters and narratives

Untold and forgotten stories of local Australian and Western Australian traumatic histories

Parallels between literary fiction and life experiences

The traumatic experience of writing itself

In the spirit of the collection, we welcome both fictional and non-fictional short stories and personal essays that engage with the primary themes of the collection. Essays and short stories can be approached from any tone, from the humorous and irreverent, to the serious and contemplative. While scholarly approaches are also welcome, these essays and short stories should be in the style of creative fiction and non-fiction.

Currently, Australian author Gail Jones (University of Western Sydney) is attached to this project as a possible contributor. We welcome abstracts from scholars, creative writers, emerging and established authors, and others. Please send abstracts and a short bio by 4th of October, 2010, to Hila Shachar and Sophie Sunderland at Complete essays and short stories of approximately 3000-5000 words will be due on 31st of January, 2011. Inquiries are welcome.


You can also follow this collection on facebook and view the call for papers on this website. Questions are welcome!


Sundari said...

This is such a lovely project, Hila. It is really touching. I often say how a sudden death in my family has heavily influenced my arts practice but I often forget to mention how much a certain thick novel helped me climb out of my well. It was then a month after the funeral that I decided to start writing, even it wasn't related it really helped. Great project. I look forward to reading it when it is published.

Danica said...

well, now I do. heheh XOXOX

Principia said...

hope everything goes well with your project, it sounds very interesting :)

Susanna-Cole said...

Sounds like a fascinating project, dear! I'm not sure I have/would have anything fit to submit, but will have to mull over it for a bit.

Take care! ♥


Athena. said...

oh, this sounds like such a wonderful project!
all the best in it,

hila said...

sundari: thank you so much, especially for revealing such a deeply personal experience. Your comment has validated why I'm doing this book project. xoxo

danica: glad you do!

susanna-cole: take care too, and feel free to pass this along to anyone you may know or would be interested.

principia and athena: thank you :)

Lucie Peacock said...

oh hila, I just saw your comment. my computer, though temporarily revived, bit the dust for good. but I (somehow) got a new one and I'm getting back to things! I will definitely take some time over the next few days to send some submissions your way and hopefully you will like one of them :)

big bisous

hila said...

lucie! I've missed you, good to hear from you! I hope you do submit, I'd love to add your magic words to the collection.