Call for Papers: Dystopian Narratives and Stories about Illness

Date: 24 - 25 October 2024, onsite & online

Venue: Department of Languages and Literature University of Nicosia, Cyprus

Contact: Please send abstracts of 250 words before the 15th of July to;;

In recent years, novels have increasingly explored themes of dystopia and illness. Examples include pandemics, e.g. Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven (2014), in which most of the human population has been wiped out by a swine flu pandemic, or Ling Ma’s Severance (2018), a novel set in a mostly emptied post-pandemic world. Others focus on dystopian treatments for illness, for instance Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go (2005) or The Unit (2006) by Ninni Holmqvist. Others look at genetic engineering both of the human body and beyond, such as Paolo Baciglupi’s The Wind-Up Girl (2009) or Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy (2013). These novels arguably reflect societal anxieties, and offer critical insights into contemporary political, social and ethical issues. This workshop seeks to investigate how dystopian narratives about illness shape and are shaped by our understanding of the political, the social fabric and the human condition. We aim to explore the role of these narratives in exposing vulnerabilities, critiquing power structures and imagining alternative futures.

Topics might include, but are not limited to: