Call for Papers

Indigenous Young Adult Novels (Summer 2022)

Note: The deadline for submissions has now passed.

Studies in the Novel seeks submissions for a special issue on “Indigenous Young Adult Novels,” guest-edited by Christopher Pexa (University of Minnesota), Angela Calcaterra (University of North Texas), and Eric Gary Anderson (George Mason University), to be published summer 2022.

Indigenous authors have been telling stories and writing books for young audiences for a very long time. From oral literatures that enthralled Indigenous youths gathered around the fire, to early written work by Charles Alexander Eastman, Zitkála-Šá, Francis La Flesche, and Luther Standing Bear, to more recent YA texts including Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves, Louise Erdrich’s The Birchbark House, Stephen Graham Jones’s Mapping the Interior, Dawn Quigley’s Apple in the Middle, Eden Robinson’s Monkey Beach, Drew Hayden Taylor’s The Night Wanderer, and Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel’s Wabanaki Blues, Indigenous authors have captivated young and adult audiences alike with stories that feature young protagonists, coming-of-age plots, and crucial insights about being and becoming in an often hostile world. Publications including Mandy Suhr-Sytsma’s Self-Determined Stories (2019) and Dr. Debbie Reese’s “American Indians in Children’s Literature”—a website devoted since 2006 to the critical analysis of Indigenous people in children’s and YA literature and to the promotion of Indigenous-authored YA texts—have highlighted the long-standing significance of Native YA literatures for Indigenous communities. Despite this important work, however, scholarship largely has not kept up with the proliferation of Indigenous YA literature in the past few decades in particular. In this special issue, we seek a timely intervention with a body of essays that examine Indigenous YA novels both in their own right and in conversation with the conventions of settler YA fiction more broadly. In particular, we ask, how does Indigenous Young Adult fiction address sovereignty, community, resistance, futurity, desire, fear, dreams? How do Indigenous authors engage and/or revise settler YA conventions?

Possible topics include:

  • how Indigenous YA novels represent past, present, and future trauma—personal trauma, intergenerational trauma, colonial trauma, environmental trauma, etc.
  • the articulation of tribal histories and tribal-national sovereignties in Indigenous YA novels
  • ways in which Indigenous YA novels introduce, represent, teach, and work to maintain Indigenous languages and other forms of cultural knowledge
  • strategies for teaching Indigenous YA novels
  • broadening and deepening the archive/canon of Indigenous fiction by including YA novels—or, ways of reconceptualizing this archive/canon by placing YA novels in conversation with other Indigenous literary and cultural productions.
  • how Indigenous YA novels conceptualize storytelling as a genre, mode of cultural expression, and/or site of resistance
  • intersections between Indigenous YA fiction and such topics/genres as environmental studies, science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, disability studies, LGBTQ+ studies, or comics and graphic novels

Submissions should be 6,000-9,000 words in length. Questions and submissions should be sent to