Autumn 2020

Source: Ella van Driel

Table of Contents

Introduction by Lea Dokter and Kris van der Voorn

When Summer Ends by Juul Kruse

Radical Self-love Is the New Feminism by Lea Dokter

How to Be Dominated by a Biker by Mikołaj Bać

Why Don’t We Calm Cancel Culture Down? by Siqi Zhu

The Importance of Identifying by Annika van Leeuwen

Welcome to the Self-Help Era: Where Reading Novels Is a Waste of Time by Laura Hoogenraad

Covid-1918 by Renske Rademaker

Pop Culture, the Bush Era, and Aliens: A Fun but Flawed Love Letter to the 2000s by Leda Serikoglu

J.K. Rowling Has Gone and ‘Expelliarmussed’ Herself by Annick Smithers

A Dazzling Debut of Literary Inclusivity by Kris van der Voorn

Is Our Poetic Soul Safe? by Runcong Liu

“No Right” by Ella van Driel

In Defence of Cancel Culture: The War on Free Speech by Mayke Keller

The Privilege of White Authors; My Dark Vanessa and Excavation: Who Can Write (White) What? by Ariane Dijckmeester

Breasts and Eggs, Pen and Paper by Elena Schnee

How to Distinguish Rape From Romance by Bou Laam Wong

About the Artwork

RevUU aims to showcase “new voices” in art as well as literature. Throughout each issue we will feature original artwork as a visual thread that connects the various articles. Our Autumn 2020 issue showcases analogue photography by Mikołaj Bać, in addition to photographs, drawings and illustrations by Ella van Driel, Runcong Liu, Juul Kruse, Mel Micai, and Lee Russell.

Autum 2020

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 […]

When Summer Ends

By Juul Kruse Summer sometimes feels like a long day that will never come to an end. During those never-ending days, sitting in the sun whilst my shoulders burn and my hair is still wet from the water, I can’t imagine – and I mean that in a very literal sense – that it will […]

Radical Self-Love Is the New Feminism

By Lea Dokter Women Don’t Owe You Pretty, the literary debut of 21-year-old Instagram influencer Florence Given, is an exemplification of Gen Z feminism – aesthetical and empowering, but highly individualistic. Given’s book is essentially a brief introduction to some of the ways in which patriarchy still influences the lives of (young) women in modern […]

How to Be Dominated by a Biker

A review of Adam Mars-Jones’ Box Hill  By Mikołaj Bać If a book begins with fellatio in an empty part of Box Hill in Surrey, the mecca of motorcyclists in the 1970s, in my mind it signals that we are dealing with quite an extraordinary piece of writing. This unabashed novel by influential British critic and […]

Why Don’t We Calm Cancel Culture Down?

By Siqi Zhu You can cancel a YouTube subscription if you find it dull and boring. You can cancel Amazon orders if you fill in the wrong address. And in recent years, we’ve come to the realisation that we can even cancel other people. In brief, to “cancel people” is to publicly oppose their problematic […]

The Importance of Identifying

A review of Kacen Callender’s Felix Ever After By Annika van Leeuwen From the moment I saw the smiling face, flower crown, and top surgery scars of the titular character on the cover, I was in love with Felix Ever After. Depicting a transgender boy’s quest for community, identity, and revenge, this novel by Kacen […]

Welcome to the Self-Help Era

Where Reading Novels Is a Waste of Time By Laura Hoogenraad “As Charlotte looks at the titles The Woman’s Comfort Book; The Path to Love; Excuse me, your life is waiting; Please Understand Me Too – she couldn’t bear the thought that she belonged there.” We hear Carrie’s dramatic voiceover as we look at Charlotte […]


A review of Emma Donoghue’s The Pull of the Stars  By Renske Rademaker Emma Donoghue’s The Pull of the Stars takes place during a pandemic, but it is not the pandemic one might expect from a novel published in 2020. The novel depicts three days in the life of Dublin nurse Julia Power amidst the […]

Pop Culture, the Bush Era, and Aliens

A Fun but Flawed Love Letter to the 2000s By Leda Serikoglu In her debut novel Axiom’s End, the first in a five-book series, Lindsay Ellis rewinds the clock to an alternative autumn of 2007: George W. Bush is still the President of the United States; the Iraq War still hammers on; but now the […]

J.K. Rowling Has Gone and ‘Expelliarmussed’ Herself

By Annick Smithers A question that many a Harry Potter fan has asked themselves this year is: what should I do with all my favourite books? J.K. Rowling has come under fire for expressing her transphobic opinions on Twitter, and many fans are now turning their backs on the author who has previously meant so […]

A Dazzling Debut of Literary Inclusivity

A review of R.B. Lemberg’s The Four Profound Weaves By Kris van der Voorn Don’t worry about transphobic, sexist, or racist writers anymore: the new generation is here, and they are taking down every notion we have of privileged hierarchies. A breath of fresh air is blowing through the literary scene, and amidst it is […]

Is Our Poetic Soul Safe?

By Runcong Liu Whether or not you keep abreast of recent developments in artificial intelligence, you have probably come across news about Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (commonly known as GPT-3), a language model released by the AI laboratory OpenAI this summer. “Feed me a prompt, I will repay you whatever you want.” If GPT-3 can speak, that is probably how it will […]

“No Right”

A review of Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain By Ella van Driel “The day was flat.” – Douglas Stuart This is the first sentence that greets you in Douglas Stuart’s first novel Shuggie Bain. The novel starts with “Shuggie” Bain living alone in a dingy bedsit in Glasgow in 1992. Sweet and short, this first sentence feels […]

In Defence of Cancel Culture

The War on Free Speech By Mayke Keller Cancel culture has become the norm of the literary world. Anonymous social media users, Twitter mobs, and Goodread bloggers have taken upon themselves the authority to cancel everyone and everything they deem as problematic. With success. Books get pulled, works get burned, authors get bullied into leaving […]

The Privilege of White Authors

My Dark Vanessa and Excavation: Who Can Write (White) What? By Ariane Dijckmeester In the first half of 2020, Kate Elizabeth Russell made a splash in the literary scene, before her debut novel My Dark Vanessa had even been released. Russell’s novel, which depicts the disturbing and deeply psychological romance between a student and a […]

Breasts and Eggs, Pen and Paper

A review of Mieko Kawakami’s Breasts and Eggs By Elena Schnee I am a woman, I am a mother, I am a writer  Have you ever heard of a woman giving birth to a book? No? But what is actually the difference between creating new life and creating a new work of art? How are […]

How to Distinguish Rape From Romance

A review of Kate Elizabeth Russell’s My Dark Vanessa By Bou Laam Wong If someone were to ask me how I’d describe Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial novel Lolita, I would say it’s another example of a tragic tale about a young girl’s loss of innocence told through the voice of her rapist. There are plenty of […]


Chief Editors: Lea Dokter and Kris van der Voorn

Managing Editors: Laura Hoogenraad and Jane Singer

Editorial Team:

Ella van Driel (Head)

Juul Kruse

Annika van Leeuwen

Renske Rademaker

Elena Schnee

Leda Serikoglu

Annick Smithers

Bou Laam Wong

Siqi Zhu

Design Team:

Mikołaj Bać (Head)

Ella van Driel 

Rob Elzerman

Runcong Liu

Merieli Micai

Publicity Team:

Ariane Dijckmeester (Head)

Mayke Keller

Lee Russell