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School of English news - May-June 2016


The New Generation Arrives

AnindyaAnindya Raychaudhuri, lecturer in the School of English, has been chosen as one of ten New Generation Thinkers 2016, by the BBC and the AHRC. He will now work with BBC producers to develop programmes for the BBC and will have the opportunity to appear on air on BBC Radio 3 regularly throughout the coming year. You can read more about the scheme, and the other winners (including Dr Victoria Donovan, from the School of Modern Languages) here




Talking Crime

Hear Professor Gill Plain in discussion with novelist Declan Hughes about the ongoing success of Ian Rankin's crime novels. The programme was first broadcast on Ireland's NewsTalk fm's Talking Books programme on April 4 2016




Virginia: A Musical Portrait

A concert of new music inspired by Woolf's work takes place on Friday 17 June 2016 as part of the 26th Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf ('Virginia Woolf and Heritage', Leeds Trinity University). It is the second concert of 'Virginia Woolf and Music', a project combining concerts, public activities and educational resources, founded in 2015 by the pianist Lana Bode and Dr Emma Sutton (School of English). This concert features three world premieres: the song cycle The Lonely Mind by Jan-Willem van Herpen; Richard Barnard's song cycle Woolf Letters; and a song by Jeremy Thurlow. Barnard's and Thurlow's works were commissioned for this concert, supported by the AHRC. This concert focuses on Woolf's diaries and letters: the fourth work to be performed will be Dominick Argento's 1974 song cycle From the Diary of Virginia Woolf. Tickets (£12.50) can be bought here:




Proust, Madeleines and Susan Sellers

Susan Sellers will be lecturing on 'Marcel Proust and the Madeleine', for 'The Literary Kitchen', a new initiative by Literature Cambridge, on Sunday June 26th, from 1.30-4.30. Susan's lecture will discuss the Proust’s life, his love of food, his interest in the workings of memory and time, and explore why, a century later, his themes still resonate with us. The lecture will take place in the Cambridge Cookery School, and will be followed by the opportunity to bake the perfect madeleine! For further information, click here: http://www.literaturecambridge.co.uk/literary-kitchen/




Literary London

Susan Sellars will join fellow Cillian Press author Jennifer Wallace, for an evening of readings and discussion on the topic of ‘Literary London’ at the independent 'Travelling Through' bookshop near Waterloo Station. Jennifer, who is Director of Studies in English at Peterhouse College, Cambridge, will talk about her recently published novel 'Digging up Milton', as well as Milton's own connections to London. Susan will talk about the influence London had on Virginia Woolf, and will read from her novel about Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell,'Vanessa and Virginia.'




Shakespearean Unscene

Lyubov Sergeevna Popova's 'Romeo and Juliet' stage design, 1920‌On 12 May Lorna Huston gave the British Academy's Shakespeare Lecture at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare's Globe. Lecture abstract: Today, metaphors of enactment dominate discussion of Shakespeare. We talk about 'staging' and 'performing' abstractions: 'staging history', for example, or 'performing nostalgia'. Critics have thus even made a conundrum of the fact that Hamlet 'stages' the process of 'thought'. This lecture showed, conversely, that in the sixteenth century, the real innovation in English theatre was less performative than rhetorical. Influenced by neoclassicism, English dramatists began to use techniques of rhetorical inquiry to supplement theatre's mis-en-scène. Shakespeare irresistably draws us into imagining offstage 'scenes' as part of a drama of the psyche: this is the seductive Shakespearean 'unscene'.




Anniversary of Woolf's Death

Susan Sellers gave an interview to the BBC World Service's 'The History Hour' to mark the 75th anniversary since the death of Virginia Woolf. Alongside Susan's interview, there are fascinating archive recordings of those closest to Woolf, including her husband, Leonard, her sister, Vanessa Bell, and a wonderful reminiscence of Woolf's joyous laughter by the novelist Elizabeth Bowen. The programme can still be heard on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bXruQyYG8g




The Enlightenment Philosophical Life

On Friday 13 May 2016 Tom Jones organized a day-long symposium at the Byre Studio Theatre. This was the first of three workshops on 'the philosophical life' funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The aim of the workshops is to ask, from historical and contemporary, practical and theoretical points of view, how philosophy is or might be a distinctive form of life. The event featured talks by Tom Jones on George Berkeley and Susan Manly on Maria Edgeworth. Further meetings will focus on the experiences of philosophers in university departments in Scotland and the UK, and on the work of people practicing philosophy outside the academy – in consultancy and civic life.




Older Scots Colloquium

Older Scots Colloquium

The Rochester-St Andrews Older Scots Literature and Culture colloquium brought together specialists from the U.S., Canada and the UK for two days of papers on 14th to 16th-century literature in Older Scots. It came about as a collaboration between Rhiannon Purdie, who is visiting the Robbins Library as a Fulbright scholar, and Professor Thomas Hahn of the English Department at the University of Rochester, bringing together specialists from the U.S., Canada and Europe -- including our own Roger Mason from History, and post/recent graduates Caitlin Flynn and Liz Hanna from English -- for two days of papers on 14th to 16th-century literature in Older Scots.. http://www.olderscots.com/index.html




Lectures and Conferences

Susan Sellers will read at the Virginia Woolf Cambridge Summer School and take part in a discussion on 'The Ethics of Biographical Fiction'

Katie Garner will be speaking at the 'Summer of 1816: Creativity and Turmoil' conference

Ian Johnson will be giving the keynote at the University of Sussex's Centre for Early Modern and Medieval Studies, contributing to an international workshop hosted by the Centre for Medieval Literature at the University of Southern Denmark, and has contributed to a colloquium co-hosted at the University of Münster

Nora Bartlett gave a paper on Emma to the Jane Austen Society of Scotland

Andrew Murphy gave a talk entitled 'Shakespeare and Irish Radicalism: The Road to 1916' at the Patrick Pearse Museum in Dublin

Emma Sutton and Nora Bartlett spoke at a study afternoon on 'The Turn of the Screw'

Sam Haddow co-organised a one-day conference, 'Tragedy and the Contemporary' at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow

Tom Jones gave a paper called 'a common idiom … call it a place' at an event celebrating the poet Tom Clark at the Scottish Poetry Library

Susan Sellers will be reading from her novel Vanessa and Virginia and will lecture on Virginia Woolf's novel Mrs Dalloway at the Virginia Woolf Cambridge Summer School, between the 18th and 22nd July. This Summer School hosts scholars and readers from all round the world: http://www.literaturecambridge.co.uk/vw-summer/

Katie Garner will be speaking at the 'Summer of 1816: Creativity and Turmoil' conference at the University of Sheffield, 24-27 June on the topic of '1816 and the Rebirth of Arthurian Romance'. The conference marks the 200th anniversary of the meeting of Byron, Mary and Percy Shelley, John Polidori and Claire Clairmont at the Villa Diodati in Geneva in 1816, and the ghost story competition that inspired Frankenstein and The Vampyre.


Ethics of Biographical FictionProfessor Susan Sellers will take part in a panel discussion at King's College London on Wednesday 22 June, from 1800-19.30, on 'The Ethics of Biographical Fiction'. Biographical fiction has developed into a popular genre over the past two decades, and this panel discussion brings together researchers and writers of biofiction to shed light on the relationship between an author's power to shape a historical individual's afterlife and notions of responsibility, creativity, and truthfulness. Susan will be joined for the discussion by Lucia Boldrini, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths, University of London; Michael Lackey, Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the University of Minnesota; and the Trinidad-born poet, novelist, musician and lecturer, Anthony Joseph. Admission is free and all are welcome. For further information, click here: http://biographicafiction.eventbrite.co.uk

On 16th June Ian Johnson is giving the keynote at a workshop hosted by the University of Sussex's Centre for Early Modern and Medieval Studies. This workshop, entitled Middle English Literary Theory: Keywords and Methodologies, reconsiders approaches to Middle English literary theory and aims to rethink the methodologies that modern academe might adopt and develop in this highly complex area of medieval culture: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/cemms/events/keywords. Ian will be speaking on "The Miscellaneity and Coherence of Middle English Literary Theory".

From 10th to 11th June Ian Johnson is contributing to an international workshop hosted by the Centre for Medieval Literature at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense. The workshop aims to explore the medieval tradition of self-commentaries from a comparative perspective with regard to Western Europe, Byzantium, the Arab world and the Indian subcontinent. It is entitled Medieval Self-commentaries between East and West: http://www.sdu.dk/en/om_sdu/institutter_centre/c_cml/calendar/self+commentaries. Ian will be speaking on "A Repertoire of Middle English Self-commentary?".

From 26th to 28th May Ian Johnson is contributing to a colloquium co-hosted at the University of Münster by the EU-funded network of 23 countries, COST-Action IS1301 'New Communities of Interpretation (1350-1570)’ www.rug.nl/let/costaction-is1301 and the Exzellenzcluster "Religion and Politics in Pre-Modern and Modern Cultures", WWU Münster. The colloquium is entitled "Transformations of the religious field: Framing processes of religious change in late medieval and early modern Europe". Ian will be speaking on "Mis-migrations of the Holy Pecock: The Dynamics and Boundaries of Failure". His presentation is about how, in mid-fifteenth-century England, the anti-Lollard Bishop of Chichester Reginald Pecock managed, somewhat tragicomically, to get himself convicted for heresy in the very act of trying to teach orthodox doctrine to the laity.

On May 14 Nora Bartlett gave a paper on Emma to the Jane Austen Society of Scotland at the Kelvingrove Gallery, Glasgow.

Andrew Murphy gave a talk entitled 'Shakespeare and Irish Radicalism: The Road to 1916' at the Patrick Pearse Museum in Dublin on 11th May. He was joined for the evening by the actor Owen Roe, who played the title role in King Lear in a recent production at the Abbey Theatre. The event coincided with the opening of an exhibition on Pearse and Shakespeare at the Museum, marking both the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising in Dublin.

Emma Sutton and Nora Bartlett spoke at a study afternoon on 'The Turn of the Screw' on May 9th. The event anticipated the Byre Opera production in June of Britten’s opera, based on Henry James' story. The soprano Marie McLaughlin, who knew Britten and has sung all the female roles in the piece, will be speaking and members of the cast performing. Nora Bartlett spoke to the title 'If you've got it, flaunt it: florid suspense in Turn of the Screw' and Emma Sutton on 'James' Ear: Music in his Life and Fiction'.

Sam Haddow co-organised a one-day conference, 'Tragedy and the Contemporary' at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, on Saturday 7th May. The conference, which included academic papers from UK and international scholars, PhD candidates and industry professionals, is structured around a performance of Zinnie Harris' new trilogy This Restless House, based on the Oresteia. Zinnie delivered a post-show discussion with the director Dominic Hill, and there was also a round-table discussion between Scottish playwrights, directors and theatre critics: http://tapra.org/tragedy-and-the-contemporary/

On 7 May Tom Jones gave a paper called 'a common idiom … call it a place' at an event celebrating the poet Tom Clark at the Scottish Poetry Library: http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/connect/events/place-apart-thomas-clark-symposium




Postgraduate New and Former Students

Julianne Mentzer won the University's 'Teaching Excellence for Postgraduate Students who Tutor' award

Former PhD student Christian Livermore’s debut novel, And God Watched, has been acquired by Freight Books

Marina Cano has been awarded a contract for a monograph deriving from her PhD thesis, to be published by Palgrave Macmillan

Dr Anna West has been invited by Cambridge University Press to edit the Cambridge Companion to Literature and Animals

PhD student Samantha Clark's essay "Ether" has been included in the anthology Dark Mountain Vol 9 'The Humbling'

PhD candidate Stephen Sacco has been awarded a £1,000 St Leonard's-Santander Research Mobility Scholarship conduct research in Poland

Adam Welstead will be presenting a paper on 'Dystopia, Dissensus and the Divided Kingdom' at the 'What Happens Now: 21st Century Writing in English' conference

Isabel Galleymore and Nell Wilson have both won prizes in Girton College’s annual poetry prize

Congratulations to Julianne Mentzer, who won the University's 'Teaching Excellence for Postgraduate Students who Tutor' award this semester. More information

Former PhD student Christian Livermore's debut novel, a book of literary fiction entitled And God Watched, has been acquired by Freight Books. The novel tells the story of Tertius Lafontaine, a misunderstood outcast in a small Georgia town in the American South, wrongfully accused of murdering his wife. The town, fed up with years of misdeeds by his family, takes their revenge on the helpless and innocent Tertius, and the book explores if there is such a thing as a family curse and whether the downfall of one man is really the failure of an entire community. The book will be released in spring 2017.

Alumna and tutor Marina Cano has been awarded a contract for a monograph deriving from her PhD thesis. The book, titled Jane Austen and Performance, is to be published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Dr Anna West (PhD 2015, and also a Macpherson scholar), has been invited by Cambridge University Press to edit the Cambridge Companion to Literature and Animals.

PhD student Samantha Clark's essay "Ether" has been included in the anthology Dark Mountain Vol 9 'The Humbling' available here: http://dark-mountain.net/blog/key-posts/dark-mountain-issue-9/

PhD candidate Stephen Sacco has been awarded a £1,000 St Leonard's-Santander Research Mobility Scholarship conduct research in Poland. Stephen will use the funds to research the legacy of the Ovitz family, a family of dwarfs sent to Auschwitz concentration camp and the only family to escape the camp intact, and the Orange Alternative, a group that used the figure of the dwarf to protest authoritarian government in the 1980s in the city of Wrocław.

Adam Welstead will be presenting a paper on 'Dystopia, Dissensus and the Divided Kingdom' at the 'What Happens Now: 21st Century Writing in English' conference at the University of Lincoln. The fourth biennial international conference, taking place between 27th-30th June, will explore the theme of 'Conservative Politics/Radical Poetics'. http://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/campuslife/whatson/eventsconferences/21st-century-writing-conference-2016.html

Former students Isabel Galleymore and Nell Wilson have both won prizes in Girton College's annual poetry prize. http://www.girton.cam.ac.uk/jane-martin-poetry-prize