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Call for Papers

Glasgow International Fantasy Conference

Fantasy at the Crossroads: Intersections, Identities, and Liminality

29th-31st March 2017

1st Keynote Speaker: Julie Bertagna,
in conversation with Dr Maureen Farrell

2nd Keynote Speaker: Professor Louise Welsh, giving a talk on her
latest novel and the genre of speculative fantasy

What is fantasy? This is a question that the University of Glasgow’s MLitt in Fantasy has explored throughout its first year. While this may seem an unanswerable question, for many of us, fantasy is where reality and the impossible meet. Fantasy inspires a sprawling collection of worlds that stem from a myriad of identities, experiences, and influences. From traditional epics to genre-melding, fantasy branches out into every style imaginable. Cross-sections of genre and identity create cracks in traditional forms, opening in-between spaces from which bloom new ideas and stories.

With a focus on intersections (academic and creative writing, film, art, and games) we aim for GIFCON’s inaugural conference to be a crossroads at which these communities can meet and come into conversation.

Examples of intersections in fantasy can be found in:

– Julie Bertagna’s Exodus trilogy, which explores environmentalism within the context of fantasy and science fiction

– Arianne “Tex” Thompson’s Children of the Drought series, which focuses on subversions of race and gender

– China Miéville’s The City and the City, which fuses the detective novel with the fantastic

– Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child, which uses fairy tale inspirations to create a magical realist setting and narrative

– Netflix’s Stranger Things, which melds horror with Dungeons and Dragons via a coming of age science fiction story

– The Elder Scrolls video game series, which intersects narrative, music, and visual arts

– Frank Beddor’s Looking Glass Wars series, which combines science fiction and fantasy to explore unique, genre-melded world-building

We ask for 300-word abstracts for 20 minute papers, presentations and/or creative/experimental projects. All mediums and forms are welcome. We are particularly interested in submissions from early career researchers, and we will offer workshops in creative writing for those interested in exploring the creative process.

Suggested topics include:

-Intersections between cultures, genres, identities (gender, race, sexuality, sexual identity, neurodiversity, disability, faith and religion, and subversions of representation)

-Liminal Spaces: the bringing together of ‘real’ and ‘fairy’ or ‘magical’ spaces (as in folklore, fairy tale/myth, magical realism, or ‘third’ spaces in urban fantastic); genre-melding (as in weird fiction or “postcolonial gothic”)

-Transitions from one medium to another: adaptations of literature from/to graphic novels, film and TV, radio, etc.

-Responses to disaster/ looking to the future: dystopia and the choices/events that lead to that future situation; and how communities pick up after devastation

-Tensions between the individual’s and the community’s journey (for example, the use of Joseph Campbell’s monomyth in contemporary fantastical works)

-Reading/engaging fantasy as a community activity (whether academic study, book groups, fandoms, collaborative storytelling via RPGs, etc.)

-Crossovers and divides between fantasy, science fiction, and other speculative fiction

-Where fantasy meets pedagogy in young adult fiction

-Medieval/High/Traditional fantasy in a technocratic age

-Fantastical elements in graphic novels/comic books

-Works that exist outside of typical genre or thematic boxes

Conference fee: £50 for students, £65 for non-students (includes registration, merchandise, and daily lunches).

Please submit a 300-word abstract, along with a 100-word biography (in DOC or RTF format) to by Monday, 12th December 2016

Early Career Researchers, please note: If you are struggling with fees, please contact your university to inquire about conference-specific funding opportunities.