Call for Papers

‘Books in the Closet’

What happens when the ‘lifecycle’ of the book is altered, interrupted, or suppressed? How do changing cultural, social, legal, and political circumstances impact authorship, publication, distribution, reading? ‘Books in the Closet’ invites proposals for twenty-minute papers on all aspects and interpretations of the conference theme, covering all regions and time periods. To coincide with CHAPTER’s current emphasis, we especially invite contributions that focus on bookselling and the book trade.  

Topics may include (and are not limited to):

  • ‘Biblionormativity’ and notions of literary or scholarly value 
  • Bookselling and distribution networks for marginalised forms of literary production, e.g. queer fiction
  • Commercial constraints on bookselling and booksellers, past and present, such as price controls and/or their absence (e.g. the Net Book Agreement)
  • Impact of changing legal and cultural definitions of obscenity on authors, publishers, distributors, and readers 
  • Political, moral and economic forms of censorship and cultural regulation, related to all aspects of book production and distribution, including circulating libraries 
  • Obscured or overlooked historical figures and their legacies in the book trade
  • Textual editing practices as related to suppressed or marginalised texts or authors
  • Histories of reading ‘against the grain’

Abstract submission

If you are interested in contributing a twenty-minute presentation, please send a 150-word abstract to by 11.59pm GMT on Thursday 31st March 2022. You will be notified by 15 April 2022 if your abstract has been accepted.