Submissions are now open for the eighth issue of the Digital Literature Review, “Food Matters in Literature and Culture”!

The following is an interview with faculty advisor Dr. Emily Rutter on the current issue of the Digital Literature Review. Find out more on why the eighth issue is centered around food and how to submit below. 

Why did DLR choose this topic?

Food marks differences in culture, gender, class, and race, while also representing a universal human need and experience. A raft of recent scholarship engages food studies, and a diverse array of contemporary writers and artists similarly utilize food as both metaphor and cultural signifier. In our class, we considered the work of Bong Joon-ho, Kiese Laymon, Toni Morrison, Monique Truong, and Carmen Maria Machado, as well as Padma Lakshmi’s television series Taste the Nation. When we examine literature and culture through the lens of food, we have endlessly interesting texts to discuss.


Why do you think this topic is relevant and important right now?

As we often discuss in the DLR class, food may be weaponized to marginalize and mobilized to empower. Indeed, food is one of the key ways we preserve cultural traditions across generations. When we examine the past and present through food and its representations in literature, we thus gain insight into a complex history of resistance and resilience, as well as appropriation and oppression. The food we consume is also deeply personal and an expression of who we are both individually and collectively. To this end, the recipes we feature in our forthcoming DLR issue reflect the importance of particular dishes and foodways as a reflection of the diverse experiences that have shaped us.


The DLR staff for 2020-21.

What are some challenges or benefits that come with this topic?

The only real challenge was narrowing down which texts to examine. Nearly all literature can be explored through the lens of food, which is why food studies is such an important area for research and writing.



What sort of works is the DLR looking for from writers?

We are soliciting essays for the 2021 issue of the Digital Literature Review, “Food Matters in Literature and Culture.” We welcome original, engaging submissions that consider representations of food in literature, film, television, or popular culture. In particular, we are interested in scholarly essays that consider food as a vehicle for exploring issues of inequity and empowerment, including but not limited to race, gender, class, ability, sexuality, and nationality. For example, how does food function as an expression of identity, as well as a common language bridging sociocultural, political, and economic gaps? Alternatively, how do writers, directors, and artists use food or the lack thereof as a symbol of current and historical inequities and traumas? We also welcome submissions that examine representations of food within the context of the COVID-19 public health crisis.

We expect essay submissions to be well-researched and to contribute to an on-going scholarly conversation. Submissions should be between 2,500 and 5,000 words and adhere to MLA citation and formatting guidelines, including using double spacing and 12 pt. Times New Roman font. Essays should also be submitted as a Word document. For formatting examples, see this past issue of the Digital Literature Review. Please direct any questions to All essay submissions are due by Friday, January 15, 2021. Please submit your essays here.

We are also soliciting poetry, drawings, paintings, digital art, and photography for our DLR blog.

  • Posts should address the theme of “Food Matters in Literature and Culture.”
  • Possible blog submissions may include high-resolution JPEG original photography (digital original prints), drawings, paintings, and digital art (Note: We will NOT be accepting photographs of sculptures or 3D media.). We are also seeking poems (up to 5 separate pieces).
  • Please include a biographical statement (3-5 sentences) and a rationale (4-5 sentences) with your submission.
  • Submissions for poetry and photography will close on December 15, 2020. Please submit your poetry, drawings, paintings, digital art, and/or photography here.

Submit today!