Lifewriting Annual arose from the ashes of Biography and Source Studies, a scholarly journal published from 1994 to 2004 by AMS Press, Inc., New York. In 2005 Thomas R. Smith became its editor, changed its direction somewhat and its name to Lifewriting Annual: Biographical and Autobiographical Studies. The first volume under this name was published in 2006. Volume 2 appeared in 2008 and Volume 3 in 2012. Carol DeBoer-Langworthy took over in 2013 and brought out Volume 4 in December 2015. Altogether, Lifewriting Annual appeared in print volume form from 2006-2017.
Lifewriting. We alone among publications use the spelling “lifewriting”—one word—to denote works that deal with the lifespan or periods in the life of a person, institution, object, or other entity. This slippery term is spelled as “life writing” or “life-writing” elsewhere, but we anticipate the way the English language morphs things together and prefer this composite term.
We stand out among the five publications sanctioned by The International Auto/Biography Association (IABA) for our inventive mix of styles and genres in each volume. We avoid articles devoted solely to theory, preferring to publish exemplars of the genre, along with reviews and articles about those exemplars. Theory, of course, is in everything, but in general we eschew articles solely dedicated to theoretical debates.