Call for papers – a/b: Auto/Biography Studies special issue “Excavating Lives”

Co-editors: Amy-Katerini Prodromou and Nicoletta Demetriou

The business of excavating lives becomes all the more urgent when set against the prevailing anxiety surrounding loss, memory, and witnessing. As we experience cultural losses such as the death of the last British survivor of the WWI trenches, come closer to the end of the lives of the last survivors of the Holocaust and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, try to piece together forced disappearances in places such as Chile and Argentina, and attempt to navigate the onslaught of Alzheimer’s victims, questions about the past and our access to the roads and inlays into these lives rise to the forefront.

This special issue of a/b: Auto/Biography Studies (32.3, Autumn 2017), “Excavating Lives,” seeks discussions about the ways in which life narratives unearth the past. We invite submissions on any topic related to discovery and the absent, hidden, or veiled life. How are lives layered, erased, replaced, and/or preserved? And, how have life narratives changed over time to make room for new definitions of the genre? In the widest sense of the metaphor, we wish to consider life narratives within the context of liminal spaces, borders, and hidden places to look at lives in an archaeological context (real and metaphoric), across political and social divides, through conflict and resolution, trauma and healing, forgetting and remembering, censuring and memorializing.

With the intention of crafting a multidisciplinary special issue, we welcome essays from all disciplines across the humanities and social sciences.

Paper topics can include, but are not limited to:


  • Life as palimpsest
  • Life narrative as discovery
  • (Dis)closure and revelation
  • Recording lives (written, audio, visual, archival)
  • Exposure – life narrative and human rights
  • Visibility/invisibility in life narratives
  • Life narratives and borders
  • Life narratives and absences/appearances
  • Life narratives and multi-mediated/digital lives
  • Memory and crisis
  • Personal and public memory
  • Narrative and truth
  • The space between fiction and nonfiction
  • Truth as exposure
  • History’s inaccuracies/anxieties
  • The importance of life writing in ecology
  • The importance of life writing in pedagogy

Send original articles of 6,000-8,000 words (including works cited and notes) to Amy-Katerini Promodou ( & Nicoletta Demetriou ( on or before November 30, 2016. Inquiries are also welcome.

Authors should include a fifty-word abstract and two to four keywords with their submissions. In order to ensure a confidential peer review process, please remove any identifying information, including citations that refer to you as the author in the first person. Cite previous publications, etc. with your last name to preserve your anonymity in the reading process. Include your name, address, email, the title of your essay, and your affiliation in a cover letter or cover sheet for your essay. It is the author’s responsibility to secure any necessary copyright permissions, and essays may not progress into the publication stage without written proof of right to reprint. Images with captions must be submitted in a separate file as 300 dpi (or higher) tiff files. All essays must follow the format of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th ed.) and the a/b Style Sheet, which may be found on the journal’s website at Essays submitted for the special issue but not selected may be considered as general submissions.

Amy Prodromou is an early-career researcher who completed her Ph.D. at Lancaster University (UK).  She has received MAs in English and Creative Writing from Southern Connecticut State University (USA) and the University of Sydney (Australia). Amy is Reviews Editor for Life Writing journal and runs the Women’s Life Writing Network (WLN), a research forum for researchers and practitioners of women’s life writing ( Her publications include contributions to Identity and Form (Routledge Studies in Contemporary Literature, 2013), and “‘That Weeping Constellation’: Navigating Loss in ‘Memoirs of Textured Recovery’” in Life Writing (2012). Her fiction has been published in various journals and magazines, most recently in Flax, the publishing imprint of Lancaster’s Litfest.  Her latest publication, Navigating Loss in Women’s Contemporary Memoir, was published in 2015.

Nicoletta Demetriou is Research Fellow in Ethnomusicology and Life Writing at Wolfson College, University of Oxford, and Tutor in Narrative Non-Fiction on Oxford’s Master of Studies in Creative Writing. She has written on Cypriot traditional music, its history and historiography, and is co-editor, with Jim Samson, of Music in Cyprus (Ashgate 2015). Her current project, The Cypriot Fiddler, tells the life stories of professional traditional musicians on both sides of the Cypriot divide, combining methods from ethnomusicology and life writing. The project was chosen by the British Academy as a case study in 2015, and was featured on the British Academy’s blog. The Cypriot Fiddler documentary, released in 2016, was entirely funded by members of the public through a crowd-sourcing campaign.