Conversations

Life Writing Graduate Student and New Scholar Network
Conversations Editors: Sophia Brown and Valerie O'Brien
We — Sophia Brown and Valerie O'Brien— are very excited to be the new collaborative team leading the IABA Student and New Scholar Network blog! We plan to publish regular posts in all areas of life writing, and seek work that allows us to expand the blog’s engagement with non-Western and multimodal works. In particular, in the year ahead we hope to publish posts on life writing related to the following areas: gender, disability, LGBTQ+ identity, refugee and immigrant experiences, race, Indigeneity, blogging and social media practices, memory and trauma studies, life writing and activism, life writing and pedagogy, and life writing across media (e.g., film, music, performance, and visual art). We see the blog as an important complement to traditional peer-reviewed journals in serving as a space for engaging and thought-provoking academic and creative work that is also accessible to a public audience. We envision the blog’s shorter timeline to publication as being particularly valuable for generating topical content responding to recent events and publications. Mindful of the ongoing expansion and development of life writing scholarship globally, we want the blog to facilitate ongoing conversations that allow scholars interested in life writing to feel connected and in dialogue with each other. We welcome individually and collaboratively authored blog posts from both students and established scholars. Whether you’re familiar with the field or just beginning to explore it, specialize in life writing or other fields, we encourage you to join in the conversation by contributing to the blog. Through inter- and transdisciplinary posts, we hope the blog will highlight life writing’s connectedness to other fields, which we feel is one of its key strengths. We will work hard to find contributors and to support them in their ideas; an integral aspect of our roles as co-editors is the process of mentoring and collaborating with students and new scholars. 
We are always accepting submissions of 250-word blog pitches. Look for our updated submission guidelines and call for papers soon. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Meet Our Editors
Sophia Brown is a Ph.D. candidate and Associate Lecturer in the School of English at the University of Kent, U.K. Her thesis, Forms of Exile: Contemporary Palestinian Life Writing, was submitted in April 2017. Its title refers both to the varied forms that life writing takes, from memoirs to autoethnography, and to the varied forms of exile the writing expresses, from internal to external. Broader research interests include postcolonial theory, Middle Eastern and North African literature and culture, and gender studies. She is a member of the Postcolonial Studies Association and an associate member of the Centre for Palestine Studies at SOAS, University of London. Publications include: ‘Blogging the Resistance: Testimony and Solidarity in Egyptian Women’s Blogs’ (Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest, 2014); ‘Contested Space: Control and Resistance in Rema Hammami’s East Jerusalem’ (Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 2016); ‘Compelled to Narrate: Politics, Cairo and the Common Ground in Ahdaf Soueif’s Life Writing’ (Commonwealth Essays and Studies, forthcoming autumn 2017). 
Valerie O’Brien is a sixth-year Ph.D. student in English literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she teaches in the Departments of English and Gender and Women’s Studies. Her dissertation, Fictional Life Writing and the Democratic Myth of Memoir, explores the intersection of fiction and life writing in transatlantic and Anglophone novels of the long twentieth century by authors such as J. M. Coetzee, Margaret Atwood, and Laila Lalami. Her work engages with various genres of life writing, including slave narratives, prison narratives, and autosomatography, and her broader research interests include feminist theory and disability studies. Valerie’s forthcoming article, “‘A Genius for Unreality’: Neurodiversity in Elizabeth Bowen’s Eva Trout,” will appear in JML: Journal of Modern Literature. She is very excited to be joining SNS as blog co-editor.
Join the Conversations
 
We invite post/graduate students and new scholars to submit original content for the IABA SNS Blog ConversationsWe welcome those who wish to submit blog posts to read our post criteria and send us their pitch.
Submission Criteria

 Our Partners

The International Association for 
Biography and Autobiography 
IABA Americas
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