Crime Fiction and Communism

Due Date: 09-15-2024

In 1971, when the Cuban government launched the Anniversary of the Triumph of the Revolution Crime Fiction award, local literary critics were acutely aware of the genre’s roots in a capitalist setting. Yet, José Antonio Portuondo considered that crime fiction could serve a purpose within a Communist framework of life, provided it underwent adaptation to suit the new context. Over the following years, Cuban journals published numerous programmatic texts aimed at guiding writers willing to produce what would be termed revolutionary crime fiction. Similar adjustments took place in other Soviet bloc countries, albeit with varying degrees of success and popularity. While crime fiction from the Soviet Union, East Germany, and Hungary are perhaps the most well-known cases, Poland, Romania, and Czechoslovakia also produced significant crime narratives. Some communist leaders, however, loathed the genre: Stalin deemed it “the most naked expression of bourgeois society’s fundamental ideas on property,” and Mao banned crime fiction.

The relationship between crime fiction and communism remains largely understudied and lacks comprehensive analysis. We are compiling a collection of essays that seek to address the intersection of communism and crime fiction narratives. Essays with a multinational approach and dealing with crime fiction generated outside Anglo-American areas are encouraged. Survey essays are discouraged. Areas of research may include:

  • Crime fiction written in communist areas
  • Crime fiction by communist authors living in capitalist areas
  • Crime fiction set in communist areas
  • Crime fiction dealing with communist to post-communist transition
  • Approaches to crime fiction by Marxist thinkers
  • International circulation of communist crime fiction
  • Crime television series in communist countries
  • Crime fiction that deals with the idea of youth and communism
  • Youth literature, crime fiction and communism

Advice for contributors
We ask that you submit an abstract of up to 300 words explaining the focus and approach to your proposed essay. Include an author bio of 200 words listing your current professional affiliation as well any relevant previous publications and other qualifications. Each final contribution should be around 7,000 words, including bibliography. For more information, view the call for papers.

Abstracts should be emailed to or
Abstract submission deadline: 15 September 2024.
Authors notified of acceptance: 29 November 2024.
Full paper submission deadline: 1 April 2025