CFP – Special Issue of Girlhood Studies: The Girl in the Text

The Girl in the Text

Since the appearance of Stieg Larsson¹s three novels all of which feature “The Girl” in its title, we have seen a plethora of books with similar titles. These range from Heidi Durrow¹s award winning novel, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky (2010), whose protagonist’s search for racial identity is complicated by her being a blue-eyed black girl thanks to her African American and white Danish parentage to The Girl With Three Legs: A Memoir (2011 by human rights activist and female genital mutilation survivor, Soraya Miré, in which this third leg is the soon to be amputated clitoris of a 13-year-old Somali girl, and from the controversial 2012 self e-published young adult novel by Kelly Thompson, The Girl Who Would Be King, about two super-powered teenagers, one good and one evil, to the 2015 bestseller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins¹s thriller with its strange mixture of feminist sensibility and (seemingly unrecognized) misogyny in the depiction of its protagonist, Rachel.

For this themed issue of Girlhood Studies we welcome articles that explore how the representations of girls in written or graphic texts invite us to think about girlhood(s) from new and/or different perspectives. We have in mind such exploration in novels, novellas, short stories, and poems (whether canonically approved or not, whether traditional or contemporary, and whether or not subversive and/or experimental) picture books, comics and graphic novels, and so on.

Contributions to this themed issue may address, among others, the following questions:

  • Are girls and girlhoods necessarily depicted differently in autobiographical or biographical works from how they are depicted in fictional works?
  • What are the implications of these differences or the lack of them for how we view the girl as subject in the former and as protagonist, or perhaps antagonist, in the latter?
  • In a comparison of novels on a similar theme in relation to girls and girlhood do authors of Young Adult (YA) and cross-over texts (those apparently directed to young adults but widely read across a range of ages) have anything to offer authors of texts aimed at an older readership, and vice versa?
  • How do poems and rhymes, and picture books for younger readers represent girls and girlhood and what might be the consequences of such representation in playgroups and pre-school classrooms? How might these depictions affect the decisions of educational policy makers?
  • How, in the context of reader response theory and memory-work studies might we consider the significance of the question: “Who is the girl (reader) in the text?” How do girls read these texts? How do we remember having read them?

Guest Editor
Ann Smith is guest-editing this themed issue. The focus of her interest in literature has long been on literary theory in relation to texts, particularly those of popular culture.

Article Submission
Please direct inquiries to Guest Editor, Ann Smith ( and send expressions of interest and/or abstracts to her by 31 July 2016. Full manuscripts are due by 15 January 2017.

Authors should provide a cover page giving brief biographical details (up to 100 words), institutional affiliation(s) and full contact information, including an email address.

Articles may be no longer than 6,500 words including the abstract (up to 150 words), keywords (6 to 8 in alphabetical order), notes, captions and tables, acknowledgements (if any), biographical details (taken from the cover page), and references. Images in a text count for 200 words each. Girlhood Studies, following Berghahn’s preferred house style, uses a modified Chicago Style. Please refer to the Style Guide on the website.

If images are used, authors are expected to secure the copyright themselves.