CFP – The Child and the Book Conference: Children’s Literature and Play

19-21 MAY 2016

The cultural determinants of play — free participation, separation and closure within a defined spacetime, uncertainty, unproductiveness, conformity to norms or fictionality — center on the following vital elements: agon (competition), alea (destiny), mimicra (imitation), and linx (stupefaction). Are these elements reflected in children’s play and its literary renderings? According to Swiss psychologist Édouard Claparède (1873-1940), the child exists to play. To paraphrase this statement, does the child exist to read or to be read to? Does literature addressed to children fulfil their ludic expectations? Does it compete with toys, computer games and other kinds of entertainment that do not demand fluent reading skills or the ability to interpret texts? How does it function within the economies and consumption of children’s culture?

The conference will be organized by the Faculty of Philology, the University of Wrocław, under the auspices of the Department of Polish Studies. It will be closely related to the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Professor Jerzy Cieślikowski (1916-1977), a longtime employee of the Department of Polish Studies at the University of Wrocław. Jerzy Cieślikowski was the most distinguished Polish scholar in the field of children’s literature and the author of The Great Play: Children’s Folklore (1985). According to Cieślikowski, “play is the purpose of all the best things that children have taken from adults, what adults invent for them, what children create themselves, and what adults write for them. This is the seminal project encompassing children’s play, i.e. their creative efforts and re-creative endeavors, as well as their fascination and play with the word as such.” We invite papers related to the overall theme of the conference. Of particular interest are:

  • the child’s imagination and children’s folklore as sources of children’s literature
  • ludic adaptations and paraphrases of children’s literature classics
  • play in literacy education
  • play in bibliotherapy
  • play in picture books and toy books
  • reading as a pastime
  • linguistic playfulness as a stylistic device in children’s literature
  • case studies of children’s play with literature
  • reading as play in the new media environment

Please send an abstract of 300 words maximum and a short biography of 60 words to: (please use this email for further inquiries). Papers will be 20 minutes long maximum.
Deadline for abstract submission: 18 October 2015
Notification of acceptance will be sent by 20 December 2015
More information will be available before 31 December 2015

For participants from abroad: EUR 90
For participants from Poland: PLN 360
Conference dinner: EUR 30 (to be confirmed)

Hans-Heino Ewers (University of Frankfurt/M., Germany)
Kim Reynolds (Newcastle University, England)
Björn Sundmark (University of Malmö, Sweden)
William Teale (University of Illinois at Chicago, USA)
Emilya Ohar (Publishing and Printing Academy in Lviv, Ukraine)
Krystyna Zabawa (Academy of Ignatianum in Kraków, Poland)

Convenor: Dorota Michułka (University of Wrocław, Poland)
Secretary: Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak (University of Wrocław, Poland)
Secretary: Katarzyna Biernacka-Licznar (University of Wrocław, Poland)
Bogumiła Staniów (University of Wrocław, Poland)
Barbara Kalla (University of Wrocław, Poland)
Natalia Paprocka (University of Wrocław, Poland)
Elżbieta Stolarska-Jamróz (University of Wrocław, Poland)

Vanessa Joosen (University of Antwerp, Belgium)
Ǻse Marie Ommundsen (University of Oslo, Norway)
Marnie Campagnaro (University of Padua, Italy)
Georgia Kalogirou (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece)
Ana Margarida Ramos (University of Aveiro, Portugal)

The Child and the Book conference annually attracts delegates from all round the world and offers a unique opportunity for postgraduate students to present their work and discuss it with established scholars. The 2016 conference will be organized in Wrocław, a multicultural city with a rich history, which will hold the title of the European Capital of Culture 2016. It has also been named the World Book Capital for 2016 by UNESCO. The Child and the Book conference will be a major contribution to the wide-ranging programme of cultural and scientific events related to these projects. As the conference dates coincide with the annual children’s book fair “Good Pages,” the conference programme will be flexible enough to enable the presenters to participate in this event.