This edited collection investigates the use/portrayal of cancer in young adult (YA) novels. “Sick Lit,” by which it is often somewhat pejoratively referred, has been around for decades--in varying degrees of complexity or notoriety. This collection will specifically and solely consider essays focusing on YA texts where cancer plays a prominent role.
Considerations in this field undoubtedly bring to mind commercially successful texts for young adults, including John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk to Remember, or Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper–and their film adaptations. There are, of course, hundreds of other texts from the past half-century that could be brought into the conversation.
Topics could include:
- A focus on specific cancers across various texts (ie lung cancer, leukemia, sarcoma)
- Secondary or tertiary characters with cancer
- A focus on the reader’s experience, specifically considering young adults
- In-depth consideration of the science behind cancer’s physical progression and/or treatment, and its portrayal (or non-portrayal) in the text
- Focusing on cancer as a character in and of itself
- A contrast between cancer’s portrayal in a critically acclaimed novel versus a “sick lit” novel
- Teenage romance; hospital romance; romance between terminally ill patients
- The effects cancer has on the family unit; on the relationship between parents and young adults; what difference it makes if a parent or a child has cancer
- The realities of terminal cancer in young people; priority shifts in the face of death
- The ways cancer changes a given genre’s dynamics; cancer in a sport narrative; cancer in science fiction; cancer in historical fiction; etc.
Submitted proposals should include a 500 word abstract, a partial CV (no more than one page), and a biographical statement (up to 150 words).
About the Publisher:
This collection is provisionally supported by Lexington Books, as part of its series in Children and Youth in Popular Culture. Lexington Books is an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield.
About the Editor
Stephen Zimmerly is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Indianapolis, where he teaches courses in YA (including a course specifically looking at cancer in YA), middle grade fiction, American Literature, and popular culture.
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