CFP: Irish Women’s Genre Fiction

Special Issue of LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory

Deadline for abstract submissions: Nov 3, 2023

Deadline for paper submissions: May 15, 2024

Guest editors: Christina Morin, Assistant Dean of Research in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland and Ellen Scheible, Professor of English, Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, MA, USA.

The friction between the confines of genre and the claim to a legitimate critical approach to literature and culture continues to be one of the defining features of contemporary disagreements about the aesthetics of popular writing in the Irish literary canon. In many ways, literary studies today has no choice but to be preoccupied with genre fiction and other areas of popular cultural production if it seeks to expose and reflect the fractures within modern society. On the other hand, how do we teach and write about “bad” writing?

Considering recent debates about aesthetic value and “good and bad writing,” this special issue seeks to survey and probe the field of Irish women’s genre fiction. Our aim is to produce an analysis of the current state of critical debate about popular writing, charting trends, conflicts, and changes while also highlighting past achievements and future possibilities. Among the questions the issue poses are: How do we define genre fiction? Why is Irish genre fiction experiencing a vogue (i.e. Sally Rooney, Tana French, Glenn Patterson) in both scholarship and criticism in recent years? How has our scholarly view of genre fiction changed and evolved over the years? What issues–terminological, definitional, or otherwise–are we struggling with as we seek to produce scholarship on this marginalized field of study? 

We are aware that a call for papers concerning the consumption, production, and interpretation of genre fiction will most certainly engender controversy and, hopefully, stimulate diversity in submissions. We welcome a variety of viewpoints and ideas. Lately, literary criticism has engaged in a much-needed push to redefine its approach to many periods and categories in literature, such as the “new Irish studies,” the “new modernist studies,” or the “new global studies.” Much of this strategy has included carefully restricting what is allowed to hover under each categorical umbrella. However, genre fiction differs from such approaches in its celebration of popular aesthetics that have never been part of the exclusivity of canonical inclusion—crime noir, erotica, teen romance, etc. While we might still seek to understand the contemporary features of the forms that fall within the umbrella category of genre fiction, the focus of this special issue is instead on extending and discovering the space beyond those parameters. This special issue encourages the expansion of the field rather than the definitional restriction of its literary and cultural status.  

We welcome essays on literary and theoretical writings concerned with Irish women’s genre fiction. We are especially interested in work that explores:

  • breaking down the presupposed aesthetic hierarchies of “good” and “bad” writing
  • the buried works of lesser-known genre fiction writers
  • the writings of those who have been typically left out of frameworks of literary study, including queer and non-normative gendered and sexed subjects and writers of color
  • understudied literary presses that focus on publishing women’s genre fiction
  • literary visions of popular fiction as a metaphor for the nation
  • literary texts that engage in experiments of form to capture alternative understandings of genre

LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory publishes critical essays that employ engaging, coherent theoretical perspectives and provide original, close readings of texts. Abstracts of 250 words should be submitted by 3 November 2023. These will be reviewed by the special issue editors, and invitations to submit full-length essays will be issued in late November 2023, with full-length essays of 5,000-9,000 words due on 15 May 2024. Peer review of essays will take place over the following months, and final decisions on inclusion made in September 2024. 

Please direct any questions relating to this CFP to the guest editors Christina Morin ( and Ellen Scheible ( 

Abstract and essay submissions should be emailed to Please include your contact information in the body of your email. _LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory_ also welcomes submissions for general issues.