An Introduction

“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”

– Jalal ad-Din Rumi

We are proud to present the very first issue of RevUU, a new platform for literary criticism edited and designed by an international group of graduate students at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. 

As a student-run publication, RevUU aims to be a diverse and inclusive platform where aspiring writers can find their voice and feel supported in confidently presenting their unique perspectives to a reading public. It is our hope that what for many is their first publication will be the beginning of a successful road into the broader sphere of literary criticism. 

In these pages, a plethora of new voices will take center stage to reflect on a diverse selection of books published this year.

For example, Renske Rademaker links the current pandemic to Emma Donoghue’s The Pull of The Stars, a novel centered on strong female leads during the Spanish Influenza. Annick Smithers presents a fresh analysis on the J. K. Rowling-controversy and offers new insights on what to do with the beloved wizarding world. We also cover the debut of an up-and-coming writer who creates a fictional world based on the LGBTQ+ society in Kris van der Voorn’s review of The Four Profound Weaves. We dive into the often critically overlooked genre of Young Adult literature with Ariane Dijckmeester’s review of Sarah J. Maas’ House of Earth and Blood, written from a postcolonial feminist perspective. Ella van Driel reflects on Douglas Stuart’s Booker Prize nominated debut Shuggie Bain in terms of poetics, glumness, and the tension between explicitly controversial subject matter and prestigious literary prizes. Another immediately successful debut, Florence Given’s Women Don’t Owe You Pretty, is discussed by Lea Dokter, whose review pits the promise of empowerment against the downfalls of postfeminist sensibilities.

RevUU‘s first issue includes these and many more pieces by talented new voices, covering a broad array of topics and different approaches.

We would like to thank Mia You for her enthusiastic support and for making this publication a reality.

We sincerely hope you enjoy this first issue, and we are looking forward to working on the next one this coming semester.

On behalf of the entire board, 

Lea Dokter and Kris van der Voorn, chief editors

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