Call for papers: One-day symposium on 21st-century American historical fiction

Date of conference: Saturday 18 March 2017
Location: University of Nottingham, UK
Call for papers deadline: 1 December 2016

Historical fiction in English constitutes its own enduring tradition but in recent years, it has enjoyed a surge of critical acclaim and commercial popularity, as scholars like Kate Mitchell and Nicola Parsons have argued. This one-day symposium at the University of Nottingham will explore how recent writers in the United States have engaged with the form. In what sense are American writers reinterpreting the past to produce what Elodie Rousselot has termed “neo-historical fiction”? Which periods are they examining? And why do US writers favor particular historical eras and episodes over others?

Potential topics for papers (lasting no longer than 20 minutes) might include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • the retrieval and recuperation of “lost” or hidden histories
  • the creation of a usable past
  • memorialization, commemoration, and fiction as a site of memory
  • fictional treatments of particular historical moments (for instance, specific military conflicts or political events) or decades (e.g. the 1950s)
  • formal experimentation and reinvention across genres and subgenres (for example, novels, short stories, graphic narratives, creative nonfiction, counterhistorical texts, detective fiction, the Bildungsroman and so on)
  • time travel and temporal inversion
  • innovative engagements with earlier forms of historical fiction within and beyond the United States

Please send abstracts of 150 words and a brief biography (50 words) to Ruth Maxey ( by 1 December 2016.

I plan to publish the papers in a special journal issue or edited collection of essays.

Successful applicants will be notified by 10 January 2017.