CFP – Special Issue of The Lion and The Unicorn: Tove Jansson: A Centennial Celebration

Call for Submissions
Tove Jansson: A Centennial Celebration
Special Issue of The Lion and the Unicorn

This special issue of The Lion and the Unicorn invites submissions on the various aspects of the works by the Finno-Swedish author Tove Jansson (pronounced TOO-vee YAA-nsson; 1914-2001). Among other topics, essays could focus on:

  • Tove Jansson as a crosswriter: works for children and work for adults
  • Tove Jansson as a multimedial author: word and image in her novels, picturebooks and comics; her illustrations to other children’s books
  • Tove Jansson and the concept of canonicity
  • Place and space in Tove Jansson’s works
  • Echoes of war and trauma
  • Queer palimpsests
  • Intertextuality and metafiction
  • Ecocritical and posthumanist approaches
  • Transcultural reception
  • Moomin characters as cultural icons
  • Epitexts, including transmediations, web sites, social media, games, merchandise, and theme parks

Essays should be 15–20 pages (4,500–6,000 words). Please email your essay as a Word attachment to Professor Maria Nikolajeva at by July 1, 2013. Accepted essays will appear in the April 2014 issue, to mark Tove Jansson’s centenary on August 9. Or, if you prefer, you can mail a hard copy to Maria Nikolajeva, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 8PQ, UK.

2013 David Almond Fellowships in Children’s Literature


Newcastle University’s School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics and Seven Stories, National Centre for Children’s Books are pleased to announce that the application process for 2013 David Almond Fellowships is now open.

Further particulars

The awards recognise both David Almond’s contribution to children’s literature and his connections with these partner institutions: he is a patron of Seven Stories and an honorary graduate of Newcastle University.

The Fellowships aim to promote high-quality research in the Seven Stories collections that will call attention to their breadth and scholarly potential. The two awards of £300 each are to facilitate a research visit to the Seven Stories collections in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK of at least three days by a bona fide researcher working on a relevant project. Applications will be considered from candidates in any academic discipline. The successful applicants will have a clearly defined project that will benefit from having access to the Seven Stories collections. All applicants should consult the Seven Stories catalogue as part of preparing their applications: A well-developed dissemination strategy will be an advantage. Priority will be given to the importance of the project and best use of the Seven Stories collections as judged by a senior member of the Children’s Literature Unit in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics at Newcastle University and a senior member of the Collections team at Seven Stories.

Eligibility and applications

Applications are being accepted until 1 February, 2013. For more details on eligibility and how to apply, please see the attached, or go to

CFP – Special Issue of Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics: Comics, Picturebooks and Childhood

CFP: Comics, Picturebooks and Childhood
Special issue Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics (

Special Issue Editors: Dr. Mel Gibson (University of Northumbria), Dr. Kay Sambell (University of Northumbria), Dr. Golnar Nabizadeh (The University of Western Australia)

This special edition will explore links between these two media in relation to childhood. Both have been studied in relation to how they work (key examples being Maria Nikoljeva and Carole Scott (2001) How Picturebooks Work and Thierry Groensteen (2007) The System of Comics). The history, specific creators, culture and audiences for these media have also been areas of research. Focussing on the links across illustration, graphic narratives and visual culture, this special issue offers critical interventions on the field of comics and picturebooks.

They are not typically considered together, although some research has done so, for example Mel Gibson (2010) ‘Graphic Novels, Comics and Picturebooks’ in David Rudd (ed) Routledge Companion to Children’s Literature (pp.100-111) and David Lewis (1998) ‘Oops!: Colin McNaughton and “Knowingness”’ in Children’s Literature in Education, 29 (2), pp. 59-68.

In relation to audience (a focus in Lewis, above), comics and picturebooks have frequently been associated with younger readers, despite the two being very flexible media which can be used to address readers of all ages on any topic. When such assumptions are dominant, this is usually related to perceptions of what might be ‘appropriate’ content.

Sometimes controversy is about an entire medium as outlined by John A. Lent (1999), in ‘Comics Controversies and Codes: Reverberations in Asia’ This chapter in Pulp Demons: International Dimensions of the Postwar Anti-Comics Campaign flagged up ways in manga were seen as having an impact upon the health and morals of young people in South Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan between the 1940s and the 1980s (pp179-214).

Equally, controversy might focus on a single text, as was the case in relation to the British publication of Jenny lives with Eric and Martin by Suzanne Bösche (originally published in Denmark as Mette bor hos Morten og Erik), one of the first picturebooks focusing on homosexuality and family structure. This single text was a key element in Britain in the introduction of the Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 which forbade the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality by local government.

In both these cases, what may be seen to underpin controversy relating to these media are social constructions of childhood, a concept developed within Childhood Studies and perhaps best illustrated by Allison James and Alan Prout (eds.) (1990) Constructing and Reconstructing Childhood.

This issue also constitutes an attempt to extend the scope of scholarship on the comic and the picturebook beyond US/UK and European critical frameworks by highlighting Asian and Australian visual cultures and contexts.

Proposals are sought on, but not limited to the following:

  • Creators who work with both these media, such as Raymond Briggs and Shaun Tan
  • Picturebook creators who are influenced by comics. For example, the ways in which the work of Maurice Sendak is influenced by that of Winsor McCay
  • Comics for children and constructions of childhood
  • Controversies around comics, picturebooks, childhood and child readers
  • Defining the borders and emerging areas in comic book scholarship
  • Manga, comics and picturebooks
  • Comic book conventions and avant-garde innovations
  • Divergences and intersections between comic books and picturebooks
  • When and how does a comic book creator become perceived as a picture book creator?
  • In what ways do constructions of childhood as innocent and vulnerable impact upon what is considered suitable content in a comic or a picture book?

Deadline for proposals for 5000-7000 word articles is March 31 2013 (for issue 5:1, June/July 2014 of the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics). Send proposals to Dr Mel Gibson at