Call for Submission: OUP Handbook of American Street Literature

Deadline for submissions: June 1, 2024
Full name / name of organization: Dennis L. Winston
Contact email:

Concept Note

The editors of the Oxford University Handbook of American Street Literature seek papers that explore the history and themes of this unique genre. Street literature, also known as urban literature, refers to a genre of writing that primarily focuses on the experiences and narratives of individuals from marginalized communities, particularly in urban areas. Street Lit often explores the struggles, triumphs, and complexities of life in poor neighborhoods, shedding light on themes such as crime, violence, poverty, and the pursuit of success. Street literature encompasses various forms of written expression, including novels, short stories, poetry, and non-fiction accounts. What sets street literature apart is its authentic depiction of urban life, providing readers with a raw and unfiltered portrayal of the challenges faced by individuals living in these environments.

While some view street literature as controversial due to its gritty content and occasional explicitness, we believe it serves as a powerful tool for cultural expression, empowerment, and social commentary. Topics include “Proto-Street lit narratives in the period of industrialization to emancipation,” “Street Literature, Protest Movements, and Youth Culture of the Mid-Twentieth Century,” “Street Literature’s Resurgence and the Emergence of Chicano, Latinx and Afro-Latino Street Lit,” and “Street Literature and the Age of Mass Media” to name a few. However, we encourage contributors to submit papers that analyze the literary history of urban life in America. We are especially interested in the exploration of topics such as crime and violence, familial and romantic relationships, redemption and second chances, education and knowledge, racial and social injustice, media and publication, and street entrepreneurship and ambition.

We also encourage potential contributors to explore other themes and areas of intersectionality that inspire thoughtful writing. Please email abstracts of 250 words and a brief bio to Dennis L. Winston ( by June 1, 2024 for best consideration.

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