Call for Papers Special Issue: Contemporary Legend: The Stories We Tell And How We Tell Them

Photo by Andrew Robinson

CALL FOR PAPERS SPECIAL ISSUE: Contemporary Legend: The Stories We Tell And How We Tell Them

Special Edition of Revenant: ‘Contemporary Legend: the stories we tell and how we tell them’

Deadline for abstract submissions: Thursday 30 September 2021.

Guest Editors: David Clarke, Sophie Parkes-Nield, Andrew Robinson and Diane A. Rodgers (Centre for Contemporary Legend, Sheffield Hallam University)

Contemporary legends are all around us: in the news we read, the stories we tell friends and family, in jokes, adverts, emails, and films. From the perennial stories, such as hitchhiking ghosts and big cats in the English countryside, to contemporary internet memes such as Slenderman and Momo, to recent COVID-19 related legends, this special issue of Revenant, guest edited by members of the Centre for Contemporary Legend at Sheffield Hallam University seeks to explore all aspects of contemporary legend through research articles, creative work and reviews from varied contributors.

Sometimes called ‘urban’ or ‘modern’ legends, the contemporary legend is more specific or detailed than a rumour and, importantly, ‘Typically, both the person telling the tale and the person hearing it understand the legend to be true.’ Indeed, the legend is often told as having happened to someone connected, usually a FOAF, or friend-of-a-friend. (Tucker and Best, 2014).

In this special issue of Revenant, we hope to interrogate what stories are told – and how.

Potential topics include but are not limited to:

  • global ‘urban’, modern and/or contemporary belief legends, such as The Vanishing Hitchhiker, Bloody Mary and The Killer in the Back Seat.
  • regional or local legends, such as the Mothman and the Loch Ness monster, and ‘legend tripping’ to locations such as Eyam, Stonehenge and Avebury, and places associated with Robin Hood.
  • explorations of the function of contemporary legends and methods of transmission, e.g., via literature, email and social media e.g., Slender Man and the Momo phenomenon.
  • legends as news: mass media reporting of legends e.g., Silly Season stories, organ thefts, UFO rumours.
  • contemporary legends in literature, such as Max Porter’s Lanny, and in popular culture, TV, film and games e.g. Most Haunted, Prank Encounters, The X-Files; Urban Legend (1998), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), Midsommar (2019); Fatal Frame and Fallout series.
  • COVID-19 related legends and rumours, e.g., 5G conspiracy theory, the hunt for ‘Patient Zero’, virus created in laboratory, vaccination rumours.

For articles and creative pieces (such as poetry, short stories, flash fiction, videos, comics, artwork, and music) please send a 500-word abstract and a short biography by Thursday 30 September 2021. If your abstract is accepted, the full article (maximum 7000 words, including Harvard referencing) and the full creative piece (maximum 5000 words if a written piece) will be due by 31 March 2022.

Reviews of books, films, games, events, and art related to contemporary legend will be considered (800-1,000 words in length). Please send full details of the title and medium you would like to review as soon as possible. Further information, including Submission Guidelines, are available at the journal website: Enquiries are welcome and, along with all submissions, should be directed to [email protected]

For more information about the Centre for Contemporary Legend, please visit: