The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a heavy reliance on digital technologies: workplaces and classrooms have retreated to Zoom meetings; online video game narratives and streaming services have become a staple of contemporary entertainment; and social media pervades our life and seeks to distract us at every turn. Existence is now infused withnon-human computer language. Even contemporary print texts display what N.K. Hayles calls the ‘mark of the digital’ (2008).

What is realism in a digitally-saturated world? How are writers harnessing, impacted by, or restricted by such digitality?What are the new frontiers for digital literature? How does digitality interrogate/extend traditional forms? 

This special issue of TEXT seeks to publish scholarly papers, poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and born-digital worksthat investigate contemporary engagement with digitality. Papers and works are encouraged to explore, but are not limited to the following:

  • digital realism and agency
  • the role of digital realism in contemporary creative writing
  • social and political potentials of digital realism/literature
  • digital and embodied materialities
  • digital realism/literature as archive/lineage/genealogy
  • digital realism and simulacra
  • digital realism and virtual reality
  • critical code studies
  • digital dissemination
  • gaming narratives
  • digital realism and social media
  • digital realism and A.I.
  • print works that display the ‘mark of the digital’
  • generative/remixed/hybrid works
  • code poetry
  • teaching writing in digital space
  • digital realism and writerly identity
  • digital poetics
  • modernist/postmodernist digital realism
  • realism Vs. the digital

Scholarly papers should be between 6,000 – 8, 000 words, including notes. Up to three poems and/or one poetry sequence no more than 100 lines per poet will be considered. One short story/CNF piece per writer will be considered. Works of electronic literature will be considered, but will need to be hosted elsewhere by the submitter (links will be published in the issue). Please note, all creative submissions must be accompanied by a 200-word abstract (which may be modelled on an ERA research statement) that clearly explains the submission’s aims and significance. 

How to submit your Expression of Interest: 

Please submit a 200-word Expression of Interest for scholarly essays (by email to David Wright: with ‘Digital Realism’ as the subject line. In your EOI please outline how your paper or work(s) explore(s) the theme of ‘Digital Realism’. Also, make sure you include the following information: your full name, institutional affiliation (if any), email address, title of paper/work, brief biography (50–100 words), and 3 to 5 keywords (at least two of which should clearly relate to the issue’s title). Deadline: April 1st 2022.

Creative submissions should be sent in full, accompanied by a 200-word abstract (which may be modelled on an ERA research statement) that clearly explains the submission’s aims and significance , by May 31st 2022.

Enquiries: David Wright, Nagoya University or Chris Arnold, UWA or Shastra Deo, UQ