Call for Papers: Real Fictions: Resistance to and Reception of Contemporary Narratives (Apr 5-6 2018, University of Tampere)

Call for Papers

Real Fictions: Resistance to and Reception of Contemporary Narratives

5-6 April 2018, University of Tampere


Keynote Speakers:

Sam Browse: ‘Political Fictions’

Alison Gibbons: ‘When Fiction imprisons Life: The trial of Ahmed Naji, or, morality and fictionality at the intersection of intention and reception’


In the so-called “post-truth” age, the boundary between reality and fiction seems increasingly hard to distinguish: politicians spin stories; novelists and actors appear as self-named characters in novels, sitcoms, and movies; and historical events are narrativised in literary texts. Moreover, the post-truth or refer-fictional phenomenon reaches beyond the intentions of creators and beyond the fabric of texts. For one thing, the growing popularity of life-writing genres such as memoir, autofiction, and historical fiction demonstrates a desire on the part of consumers for (at the very least, a fictionalised version of) reality. For another, the media “echo-chambers” of the internet demonstrate a desire on the part of citizens for news and opinion that reflects their own perceptions of social and political reality, rather than an established authority. Ultimately, in the twenty-first century – when life becomes fiction and fictions have lived consequences – the dominant sentiments are personal or emotional versions of the truth, and such sentiments can be evidenced in texts created by writers and speakers as well as in the actions and responses of readers, viewers, and the voting public.

For this two-day symposium, Real Fictions: Resistance to and Reception of Contemporary Narratives, we invite oral presentations from established scholars and postgraduate students (doctoral and masters level) that explore questions of fictionality, ontology, resistance and reception in the twenty-first century. Topics might include:

  • challenges for theories of fictionality
  • ontological boundary crossings in life-writing genres such as memoir, autofiction, and historical fiction
  • the fictionalisation of real-world, real-life events
  • the documentary impulse
  • political and/or journalistic representations
  • the reception of real or refer-fictional texts (e.g. using reader or audience response data)
  • the contemporary and/or historical resonances of “post-truth”.


Proposals will take the form of an oral presentation (around 20 minutes) on the symposium theme. Proposals should include a title and a 200-word abstract for the talk, a list of up-to 5 keywords, a bio (up-to 100 words), and contact details (affiliation and e-mail).


The deadline for proposals is December 10th, 2017.


All proposals should be sent to Mari Hatavara (mari.hatavara[at] and should include all the required information. Please include Real Fictions on the message subject line.




Narrare: Centre for Interdisciplinary Narrative Studies (Director Maria Mäkelä, Senior Lecturer in Comparative Literature)

The Academy of Finland project “The Literary in Life: Exploring the Boundaries between Literature and the Everyday” (PI Mari Hatavara, Professor of Finnish Literature)

Doctoral Programme in Literary Studies (Head prof. Mari hatavara)


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