CFP: Auto / Bio / Fictional Graphic Narratives

Goldsmiths’ Centre for Comparative Literature,
Thursday 27 June 2024 
Stichtag: 19.04.2024

Life-writing in its many forms, including autofiction and biofiction, has grown exponentially in recent decades. Comics and graphic narratives have similarly become widespread and respected literary genres that feature many biographical, autobiographical, autofictional or biofictional texts. 

Completing the 2023-24 Auto / Bio / Fiction series at the Goldsmiths’ Centre for Comparative Literature, this online symposium will reflect on the combination of these two forms in order to explore how auto / bio / fictional graphic narratives and comics mobilise – and may put in tension – the visual and the verbal, the individual and the collective, the historical and the fictional, the documentary and the imagined, as well as popular culture and ‘serious’ literary fiction in constructing historical lives with varying degrees of fictionality and purposes. 

We invite proposals for varied forms of contributions, which can include: 

  • 20-minute formal papers
  • 10-minute flash contributions 
  • digital posters (i.e., as in a conference poster session: the poster can be shown through screen share, with a 5-6 minute explanation) 
  • roundtable proposals (3-4 contributions in which each speaker presents their position in no more than 5 minutes, followed by a discussion / conversation) 
  • led practical exercises or workshops 
  • presentation of work in progress by practitioners 
  • other formats not listed above 

Topics may address (but are not limited to): 

  • the representation and development of auto/biographical and auto/biofictional identity 
  • the representation of self and other 
  • constructions and explorations of gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, ethnicity… 
  • experiences of displacement, migration, illness, war 
  • the relationships or tensions between the factual and the fictional, the documentary and the imagined, the visual and the verbal in the representation of the life 
  • the literariness of graphic life narratives 
  • wordless narratives (e.g. George A. Walker’s The Life and Times of Conrad Black: A Wordless Biography) 
  • chronotopes of life-writing; the temporal and spatial dimensions of life narratives 
  • the relationship between author/narrator/illustrator and the character whose life is re-told 
  • how forms of reading experience, in hard copy or digital formats, affect the sense of the life conveyed in the narrative 
  • tone in graphic life narratives: the dramatic, traumatic, melodramatic; the comedic, the ironic, the satirical… 
  • effects and function of humour, pathos, surprise… 
  • translations of graphic life narratives 
  • adaptation of traditional written biographies into graphic narratives 
  • historical and geographical developments of the genre 

Comparisons across languages, cultures and traditions are most welcome. 

Proposals are welcome from academics and practitioners at any stage of their career. 

Please send your proposals by 19 April 2024 to: (please include the words “Auto-Bio-Fictional Graphic Narratives” in the subject line). 

Proposals should include: 1) a summary of up to 250 words of the proposed contribution, and 3-5 keywords; 2) the type of contribution proposed (formal paper, digital poster, etc.: see the list above); 3) a short biography of up to 150 words. 

For more information visit: