Skip navigation to content

School of English news - Jan-Feb 2017

Still Life With Feeding Snake

Still Life With Feeding SnakeOn 2 February, Professor John Burnside's most recent collection of poetry, Still Life With Feeding Snake, will be published by Jonathan Cape.

From our earliest childhood experiences, we learn to see the world as contested space: a battleground between received ideas, entrenched conventions and myriad Authorised Versions on the one hand, and new discoveries, terrible dangers, and everyday miracles on the other. As we grow, that world expands further, to include new species, lost continents, the realm of the dead and the lives of others: cosmonauts swim in distant space, unseen creatures pass through a garden at dusk; we are surrounded by delectable mysteries. The question of this contested, liminal world sits at the centre of Still Life with Feeding Snake, whose poems live at the edge of loss, or on the cusp of epiphany, always seeking that brief instant of grace when we see what is before us, and not just what we expected to find. 

Ashland coverAlso on 2 February, John has a second book, Ashland & Vine, published by Cape. This is a novel involving a Scheherazade-like matrix of tales, some painfully final, some still unfinished, which offers a heartbreaking account, not only of one family, but of the American century itself, from World War II to Vietnam and the Weather Underground. Ashland & Vine is the story of an unlikely friendship that transcends time, age and the limits of narrative to reveal the unexpected grace that comes of listening to another's history, while telling, as carefully as we can, what we know of our own.

Both volumes will be launched at the British Library in London on 2 February.

Radio Drama Award Nominations

Oliver EmanuelOliver Emanuel's radio play 'A History of Paper', a love story centred around the seismic events of 9/11, has been nominated for the Tinniswood Award, organised by the Writers' Guild of Great Britain and the Society of Authors and presented annually to the best original audio drama script. Oliver's play is one of three finalists and the prize will be presented at the BBC Audio Drama awards on 29 January. The script of 'A History of Paper' can be downloaded from the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain webpage and a clip can be heard here:

Oliver also has a nomination in the category of Best Adaptation in the BBC Audio Drama Awards for his work on the series 'Emile Zola: Blood, Sex & Money' which starred Glenda Jackson and which was described by The Telegraph as 'unmissable':

Virginia Woolf Birthday Lecture

On 28 January, Professor Susan Sellers will give the Annual Virginia Woolf Birthday Lecture 2017, at the Senate House at the University of London, on the topic of 'Virginia Woolf and the essay'. This will be the 18th Annual Birthday Lecture, organised by the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain.

Bateson Memorial Lecture & Australasia Romanticism Conference

On 8 February, Professor Nick Roe will be giving the 2017 F. W. Bateson Memorial Lecture at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, titled 'English Reformed: John Keats’s "To Autumn"'. Professor Roe will also be speaking at the 'Transporting Romanticism' Conference organised by the Romantic Studies Association of Australasia, 15-18 February, Wellington, New Zealand.

Radio Broadcasts

On 8 January, Dr Gregory Tate broadcast an introduction to BBC Radio 3's new adaptation of Lord Byron's dramatic poem Manfred. Professor Jane Stabler acted as a consultant on the adaptation. The introduction and the adaptation are available on the BBC radio iPlayer:

In December, Oli Hazzard appeared on Radio 3's 'The Verb', reading a poem - a collaboration with the composer Matthew Kaner - commissioned for the station's 'Three Score and Ten' series. It can be heard here:

Oli has also been the resident blogger for The Poetry Foundation where he wrote about unusual translation practices, poems responding to Brexit, and his current research into John Ashbery, among other things. All his posts can be read here:

Stuart Court Masque

Masque flyer - full'The Masque of the Olympic Knights', which was written to celebrate the marriage of the eldest daughter of King James VI/I in 1613/14, will form the basis of a series of dance workshops finishing with a partial reconstruction of a Stuart court masque. Organised by Dr Jane Pettegree, honorary research fellow with the School of English, together with Ph. D. student Rachel Horrocks, the workshops will allow participants to explore how it felt to take part in a masque, and for the public showcase at the end, to be present at such an event. The dance workshops will be led by Anne Daye, a leading UK expert in early dance. Anne is chair of the HDS (Historical Dance Society) and lectures in historical dance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and at RADA; she will also present a public talk at 9.30am on Saturday 11th February which will discuss the role of dance in early modern masques. Participation is free, supported by the HDS, the Music Centre and the School of English, but participants should pre-register.

For more information please email Rachel on or Jane on

Masque of the Olympic Knights e-flyer (PDF, 1,350 KB)


Angela Carter's Medievalism

Dr Katie Garner will be speaking about Angela Carter's medievalism at Fireworks: The Visual Imagination of Angela Carter, at the Royal West of England Academy and Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol, 9-10 January. The conference coincides with the exhibition Strange Worlds: The Vision of Angela Carter at the Royal West of England Academy from 10 December 2016 to 19 March 2017.

Postgraduate News

Peter SuttonPeter Sutton will present a paper entitled 'Visits from the Shades: The ghosts haunting the early eighteenth century stage' as part of the British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies annual conference at St Hugh's College, Oxford, on Friday 6 January ( He will then present a second paper entitled 'Re-working the lean rabbit: Francis Gentleman's revisions of Ben Jonson' for 'The Irish and the London Stage: Identity, Culture, and Politics, 1680-1830' conference at Trinity College, Dublin which will take place on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 February 2017 -

Jessica OrrJess Orr is undertaking a placement with the Glasgow Women's Library throughout 2017 as part of the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities' Doctoral Internship Scheme. Her activities will involve contributing to the running of the library's diverse events programme and helping to develop literary resources for specific learning and engagement projects, such as the SACRO Story Café group. She will also be providing additional capacity for reader and audience engagement as part of the national lifelong learning project.


Hrileena Ghosh, who was awarded her PhD in January 2016, has won a prestigious Pforzheimer Foundation grant of $2500 from the Keats-Shelley Association of America that will enable her to transform her PhD into a book. She will spend a month researching in London, at the archives of King's College, LMA, the Wellcome Trust and the BL, looking into the medical milieu within which John Keats lived and worked while at Guy’s Hospital. This will be followed by a fortnight in Manchester looking at MS. notes from Astley Cooper's lectures from 1810-21.