Oxford Handbook of African American Women’s Writing

Due Date: 06-01-2023

Contributions are invited for the Oxford Handbook of African American Women’s Writing. Consistent with the general mission of Oxford Handbooks to be multicontributor volumes designed to provide a “state of the field” overview for scholars, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates, this volume seeks to account for the creatively diverse forms of writing African American women have produced from their arrival in what is now the United States of America through the contemporary moment. The concept of writing in the collected essays represents an understanding of creative narrative and rhetorical expression that extends beyond poetry and prose and includes various other creative forms of written and oral expression. This approach to African American women’s writing recognizes the synergistic relationship between literature and other creative and expressive forms. For this reason, in addition to the traditional forms of literature, this handbook explores popular forms of writing such as comics, song lyric composition, and television and film script writing alongside political oratory, essays, and memoir. And because sight and sound have been so integral to many African American women writer’s creative process, this handbook also attends to the visual and aural.

The handbook is designed thematically around the following themes:

  • Writing Political Thought and Activism: explores the transhistorical ways in which African American women have used writing in explicitly political ways through oratory, expository, literary, and narrative nonfiction forms.
  • Writing Through Lines: considers the ways African American women writers rely on and invoke the past when addressing contemporary themes and plots.
  • Writing Home Spaces: attends to the ways home is constructed and takes on a multiplicity of meanings, particularly when pursued and constructed through an intersectional lens.
  • Writing as Craft and Aesthetic: insists upon recognizing style and form as integral to African American women’s writing even if the themes and function are often politically inspired.
  • Writing for Ourselves: thinks about agency in the context of African American women’s writing and considers how they have constructed narratives of their interior lives, as well as been in conversation with one another.
  • Writing for the Senses: continues with the notion of agency and incorporates pleasure through a multisensory exploration of African American women’s writing practices that invoke the visual, aural, and kinesthetic or tactile.

If you are interested in contributing, please send 300–400-word abstracts that indicate your intended theme to Simone Drake ( Abstracts will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis until 1 June 2023 or until all remaining sections are filled. Upon acceptance, full drafts of articles (6,000–8,000 words, excluding the bibliography) are due 2 October 2023. Oxford Handbooks are published in print and electronically, allowing for an online-first workflow, meaning as articles are approved for publication they will first appear online in advance of the print publication.

Inquiries and questions can be sent to Simone Drake (