The Child and the Book Conference 2023

The Child and the Book Conference 2023

University of Montenegro – Faculty of Philology, Music Academy and Faculty of Fine Arts Cetinje

Call for papers

The Magic of Sound: Children’s Literature and Music

15-17 May 2023, Podgorica (Montenegro) –

Literature and music are deeply rooted in our physical, emotional, and intellectual experiences, and they often intertwine in myriad ways. Music and sound play large roles in how language functions, in how meaning emerges, in how our bodies respond and contribute to our experiences, and in how we learn and grow. In large and small ways, music functions in poetry and prose, graphic images, drama, games and play, and folk culture, in addition to the more obvious musical contexts such as popular and classical music, opera, musical theatre, and music education. And yet, despite music and literature being sister arts with common origins, the relationship between them, especially in children’s culture, has not often been given due critical attention. While children’s literature scholars tend to be more comfortable with crossover from visual studies, they seem to shy away from, or simply do not perceive the connections to, the field of music.

The relations between children’s literature and music occupy a sub-field within the area of intermedial relations (or intermediality) and they have subsequently often been theorized in terms of intertextuality (which is no coincidence because literature and music studies emerged from comparative literature). In 1982 Steven Paul Scher identified three general categories to help us understand the rich connections between music and literature: literature in music, music and literature and finally –music in literature which included the literary ‘imitation . . . of the acoustic quality of music,’ adaptations of ‘larger musical structures and patterns and the application of certain musical techniques and devices’ in literary works, and ‘literary presentation . . . of existing or fictitious musical compositions’ (229-36). The research of the last relation has been expanded in recent years to encompass a plethora of ways in which the implications of how music is represented in literature might be understood: discussions of gender, genre, structure, the nature of creativity, the cultural significance of musical instruments, aesthetics of criticism, but still, seldom in the field of children’s literature.

Therefore, The Magic of Sound – Children’s Literature and Music aims to explore further possibilities of "tandem reading of musical and literary works" (Kramer 1989: 161) within the field of children’s literature, thus giving new contributions to literary-musical studies in their response to the culturalist turn in the humanities.

We invite papers related to the conference theme. Possible areas for investigation include, but are not restricted to:

  1. The role of music in children’s and YA literature, including cross-disciplinary and multimodal texts
  2. Musical adaptations of children’s literature (opera, symphony, musical theatre/film, pop…)
  3. Children’s literature about music and/or musicians, including visual representations.
  4. Children’s literature in music videos
  5. Ekphrasis of music in CL/ Textualization of musical performance in CL
  6. Child-composed schoolyard songs, jump rope rhymes, musical games and performances
  7. Music, lyrics and lyric poetry for children
  8. Musical performance poetry and hip-hop for children
  9. Intersections of contemporary children’s literature and pop/rock/hip-hop music
  10. Textual and musical analysis of songbooks for children
  11. Words, music, politics and propaganda in CL
  12. The importance of performance in works combining word and music
  13. The musical nature of text itself
  14. Musico-literary poetics of nonsense literature
  15. Children’s literature and program music

The Magic of Sound: Children’s Literature and Music will reflect academic diversity and host studies from across different fields of research, academic methods and cultural backgrounds. We welcome proposals for individual papers as well as panels. We particularly encourage graduate students and other early-career scholars to apply.

Please send an abstract of 300 words and a short biography (100 words) as two attached Word documents to: before 1st of December 2022.

Conference will be held in person.

Panel proposals

Panel proposals should consist of three papers that focus on the main theme of the conference. The panel organiser should invite participants and evaluate each paper in the panel, but the panel as a whole and its individual papers will also be reviewed by external evaluators. For a panel proposal, the panel organisers should submit a short overview statement of the panel theme (300-500 words), a list of participants and the abstracts of their papers.


Abstracts should include the following information:

  • author(s) with affiliation(s)
  • title and text of proposal
  • selected bibliography with 3-5 academic references
  • five keywords

Dates and logistics

Deadline for abstract submission: 1st of December 2022

Notification of acceptance: 15th of December 2022

All submissions are blind reviewed by the members of the Reading Committee.

All abstracts and papers accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English.

Papers will be 20 minutes maximum followed by 10 minutes discussion.

Keynote speakers

Michael Heyman – brief biography

Zoltan Varga – brief biography

Mina Đurić – brief biography

Conference venue

National Library “Radosav Ljumović” –

Post-conference event (18th of May 2023)

Kotor Bay cruise –

Information for the future organizers of The Child and the Book Conferences

Application Form –  you can view the information HERE

The Child and the Book Conferences Guidelines  - you can view the information HERE

The Child and the Book Conference History –  you can view the information HERE



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