Friday, September 30, 2011

Journal Solicits Essays on Child Lit & Cog Sci

Hello Everyone

Here is the latest news about
International Research in Children's Literature.

Our special themed Issue (4.2) -- Between Imagined Signs and Social Realities: Representing Others in Children’s Fantasy and Folktale
-- is at proof stage and about to go back to the publisher for final corrections. It will appear on schedule in December.

Our following Issue, 5.1, will be a general issue. We can still consider submissions for this Issue, and, of course, for Issues 5.2 and 6.1 -- predominantly devoted to the theme of the 2011 IRSCL Congress (Fear and Safety in Children's Literature)

We would like to give advanced notice of our next themed Issue, 6.2, which will be devoted to "
Cognitive Literary Studies and Children’s Literature".
As I'm sure you are all aware, this is a recently emerging area in literary studies, and has as yet had very little presence in children's literature.
Submissions should be with the editors by February 1, 2013 (not much more than a year away!). I've pasted in the CfP below.

Cognitive Literary Studies and Children’s Literature

In this themed issue of IRCL we wish to throw out a challenge to scholars in our field to engage with the most recent, cross-disciplinary, approach to literary studies and explore what its implications and usefulness may be for the study of children’s literature. Over the past fifteen years or so, studies in areas referred to as cognitive poetics or theory of mind have proliferated and in doing so have drawn on a wide range of disciplines. Dedicated journals are beginning to appear, as, for example, Projections: The Journal for Movies and Mind (2007+). A leading practitioner, Lisa Zunshine, encapsulates theory of mind as a term used ‘to describe our ability to explain behaviour in terms of underlying thoughts, feelings, desires, and intentions’. Artistic (visual and/or verbal) representations construct imaginary approximations of the semiotic and cultural practices which enable and explain interactions between people. In everyday life, our assumptions and explanations based on theory of mind may be misreadings. Translated into representation, such ambiguity contributes to what makes art interesting.

Contributors are invited to address any aspect of cognitive poetics, which may include, but need not be restricted to, the following:

Mind reading

Representation of intermental thought

Benefits to social understanding from reading fiction

Character development; attribution of (changing) mental states to fictional characters

Constructing fictional minds for fictional worlds

Reading minds by reading bodies

Representing emotional intensity

Implications for concepts of empathy

Representing the psychodynamics of shared understandings in fiction and film

Self/other and inner/outer distinctions

New ways to think about reader response

Key representational strategies: scripts, schemas, (poly-)focalization, free indirect discourse (etc.)

Impact of theory of mind on worldview

There is an ever-growing scholarly literature in this field. Some useful books are:

George Butte. I Know that You Know that I Know (2004)

Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner. The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden Complexities (2002)

Joanna Gavins and Gerard Steen (eds). Cognitive Poetics in Practice 2003)

David Herman (ed) Narrative Theory and the Cognitive Sciences (2003)

David Herman. Story Logic: Problems and Possibilities of Narrative (2002)

Paula Leverage (et al.) (eds). Theory of Mind and Literature (2011)

Lisa Zunshine. Strange Concepts and the Stories They Make Possible (2008)

Best wishes

John Stephens
Emeritus Professor in English
Macquarie University
Editor, International Research in Children's Literature


The interested may wish to look into Elaine Scarry's work: Griswold

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Roald Dahl's Legacy: Visiting a Garden Shed

"This tiny brick outhouse, at the end of a lush avenue of interweaving lime trees, remains a shrine to the man who gave the world Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, The Big Friendly Giant and James And The Giant Peach. Neither his widow, Felicity - who still lives here at the family home in Great Missenden, Bucks - nor his four children or nine grandchildren have wanted to touch it, let alone give it a good clear-out. Until now...."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


“For as long as I live, I will be giving words of warning,“ says Gudrun Pausewang in an
interview with Spiegel magazine – in the aftermath of the catastrophe in Fukushima, her
novel Fall-Out about a nuclear disaster has shot onto the German bestseller lists. The
problem of nuclear energy is not the only one the public is tackling at the moment, and
with an intensity that had no longer seemed possible during this time of relative political
apathy. But if today’s 11- to 13-year-olds, “generation Fukushima” as the Zeit called
them, really experienced their political awakening because of the nuclear accident,
which means of literary expression will they draw on? By means of what type of
literature can they come to terms with their experiences from school lessons and TV?
How do nature and the environment feature in the literature for children and young
interjuli 01/12 will look into the topics of the environment and nature. Possible areas of
research are:
 The history of ecological literature for children and young adults
 The environment between idyll and terror
 Nature and city/nature and the countryside
 Environmental utopias and dystopias in children’s and young adults’ literature
 Poetry for children as nature poetry
 Didactic requirements of ecological children’s and young adults’ literature
 Ecological children’s literature on an international level
 Children’s and young adults’ literature as a medium for ecological awakening
 Socio-ecological responsibilities of children’s and young adults’ literature
As always, we also encourage contributions that do not pertain to our focal topic. Please
send in your manuscripts digitally and in print before September 30, 2011. Guidelines
concerning formatting and editing standards will be sent out upon request.
interjuli is an interdisciplinary scientific journal dedicated to the research into literature
for children and young adults publishing research papers as well as reviews of primary
and secondary works.
Oberflecken 25
65391 Lorch/ Rhein

May 2012 Conference on H. Potter in Scotland

Call for Papers:
A Brand of Fictional Magic: Reading Harry Potter as Literature
A two day conference hosted by the School of English, University of St Andrews
17-18 May 2012, Kennedy Hall, St Andrews, Scotland
The relentless success of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series (1997-2007) evokes words like phenomenon and catastrophe. With the conclusion of the film franchise and the launch of, the series is receiving increased academic consideration in conferences, articles, and monographs. However, relatively little work has been done directly engaging with the series as a literary text. This conference attempts to begin redressing that lack.
Rowling’s combination of fantasy and school-story genres, her use of folkloric archetypes and mythopoeic symbolism, and her social and religious messages render the Harry Potter books a point of interest—and controversy—to scholars from a wide range of disciplines. Specifically, this conference seeks to critically explore Rowling’s concept of imaginative empathy, the ability to “learn and understand, without having experienced.” Of particular interest are ways in which the power of empathy, in addition to its being of socio-political necessity, might be read as Rowling’s “brand of fictional magic.”
We invite papers and panels that engage with the text to discuss the centrality of empathy to the economies of the creative artist. Relevant topics might include:
 The poetics of empathy
 Symbolic or archetypal depictions of empathy
 Readings of the series as children’s or YA literature
 Mythopoesis and the re-appropriation of folklore
 Medievalism and depictions of the Middle Ages in the Wizarding World
 Space, landscape, or architecture
 Representations and uses of socialization or maturation
 Depictions of education and pedagogy, empathetic or bounded
 Rowling’s concepts of “mental agoraphobia” and “wilful unimagination”
 Literary influences on the series
 Textual or semiotic analysis of the narrative
 Genre criticism, viz., Gothic, Fantasy, Fairy Tale, School Story, Dystopia, et al.
 Narrative voice and authority
 Political empathy, class action, or solidarity
Keynote speakers will be John Granger and Jessica Tiffin.
Papers will be 20 minutes, and may discuss any of the seven books individually or the series as a whole. Please submit a 300-word (max.) abstract in .doc, .docx., or .pdf format with a short CV to John Patrick Pazdziora ( by 31 October 2011.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Maurice Sendak at 83: A portrait of the author as a cranky old man

Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of the classic Where the Wild Things Are, is one of the most important figures in 20th-century children’s literature, having helped to liberate the genre from its do-gooding shackles with tales of gleefully misbehaving children who never go punished.

The publicity says this is your first book in 30 years. How is that?

It sounds good, doesn’t it? In one sense, it is. In the minute sense that it’s the first picture book in that many years for children. In the interim, I have illustrated a great novel by Herman Melville and a great German drama and I have designed sets for opera here and in Europe. I kind of took time off kiddie bookland.


I don’t know. I know only in the sense that someone called and said, “How would you like to do sets for a Mozart opera?” And I was totally captivated, because I love Mozart with all my heart. And he didn’t care that I was inexperienced. I had a wonderful time, and I did another opera and another opera in England and Belgium and Paris and it was great. To hell with kiddie books!

You must have faced a lot of pressure to write kiddie books over that time.

No. Out of sight, out of mind. This is America.

But you made most famous kiddie book of the age.

I’m not interested in that. I would shoo people like that away. I guess I’m known too much already by people. Stay away from him. He’s dangerous.

Do you still feel dangerous?

No. I’m old, Anybody who wants can push me over.

Is that why you returned to kiddie land?

No. I returned because it was a terrible time in my life. Somebody who means everything to me was dying. I don’t know why that amalgamation of emotions led me back to doing a book for children. I really can’t answer that honestly, except that I had this little story in my head for a long time. I couldn’t figure it out, I couldn’t solve it. Then, during this horrendous time, I solved it. And it was like heaven sent to preoccupy me during a terrible, terrible, terrible time. Bumble-Ardy was born under a dark cloud, just as he tells you at the very beginning of the book.

So I’m doing a book again that’s called a children’s book. Why is it called a children’s book? You got me, baby. People seem to know what is a children’s book and what isn’t a children’s book and I have never, ever claimed to know.

Detail from Maurice Sendak's new children's book "Bumble-Ardy"

Why Are Babies (in Children's Books) So Appealing?

A baby is born knowing how to work the crowd. A toothless smile here, a musical squeal there, and even hard-nosed cynics grow soft in the head and weak in the knees....
More in the New York Times:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Connecting Current Events with "The Hunger Games"

In an interesting post on the Cambridge children's literature blog, a student (Clementine B) makes an interesting link between Suzanne Collins' books and the massacre of dozens of students at a summer camp outside Oslo.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Free Storytelling App

The International Children's Digital Library has made its mission the business of making children's books available (via digital media) to children in distant places all over the world. We've been hearing good things about their "storytelling" app (iPhone, iPad, Touch) which allows folks to interact with a story and record their worth. Check it out and get back to us with your impressions.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Intern Wanted: Literary Agency (Encinitas)

Local literary agent seeking intern to assist with a variety of agency duties, including reading client submissions, responding to query letters, and general office duties. Intern must be willing to come to office in Encinitas at least one day per week, but some of the reading may be done from home. Looking for a sharp editorial eye, a love of reading and contemporary fiction, and a desire to learn how the publishing process works. Agency represents a variety of authors, from literary fiction to general nonfiction; to see more, please go to

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Grimm Conference in UK: Sept 2012


6th – 8th September 2012

Call for Papers

2012 is the bicentenary of the publication of the first volume of the Kinder- und Hausmärchen [Children’s and Household Tales] by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. As this groundbreaking collection moves into its third century, this conference explores the trajectory of the Grimm phenomenon in Britain and the English-speaking world. Examining the varied and colourful reception history of this collection of tales, this conference will discuss the most recent fairy- tale scholarship, as well as looking forward to possible future developments. The Grimm bicentenary will also be celebrated through story-telling events, readings, a creative writing prize, and an exhibition of illustrations.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers: Professor Donald Haase, Neil Philip, and Professor Jack Zipes

Previously this conference was billed as two distinct events. Now Kingston University and The Sussex Centre for Folklore Fairy Tales and Fantasy at The University of Chichester are delighted to announce that they will be collaborating on a single event. Proposals for conference papers are invited on any aspect of fairy tale and storytelling over the last two-hundred years, but particularly in the following subjects:

The Oral Tradition within Grimms’ Tales a The literary origins of the Grimms’ ‘folktales’ a Translations of Grimms’ tales into English a The influence of Grimm upon British collectors of fairy tales a The impact of Grimms’ tales upon world literatures in English a Uses of Grimms’ tales in English-language visual media a Grimms’ tales and Romanticism a Grimms’ tales in Victorian Britain a Grimms’ tales in colonial and post-colonial contexts a Illustrations and art works relating to Grimms’ tales a Grimms’ tales in the electronic age a Memes, Tropes and Unchanging Elements a Telling Stories with Pictures a Songs as Stories a Reading Aloud a Performing Grimm a Packaging Grimm (illustrations, book covers, merchandising etc) a Fairy tales in (popular) culture a Retellings, Revisions and Reworkings a Adapting to New Audiences a New Fairy Tales a Fairy Tales on Stage and on Screen a Gossip, Slander, Rumour and News

This multi-disciplinary conference will welcome contributions from any disciplinary perspective including proposals to read creative work, screen films, mount performances and exhibit visual work.

Abstract submission

Please submit an abstract of approximately 300 words, and a brief contributor’s bio online at:

Deadline: January 31st 2012.


Prof Bill Gray (Sussex Centre for Folklore Fairy Tales and Fantasy, University of Chichester) e:

Dr Andrew Teverson (Kingston University) e: