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Zinnie Harris at the Edinburgh International Festival

Zinnie Harris - Photographer: Sue Torkington

Zinnie Harris has three productions at the Edinburgh International Festival this summer: This Restless House, her adaptation of Aeschylus' Oresteia; a new version of Eugène Ionesco's Rhinoceros; and the world premiere of Meet Me At Dawn, a new play inspired by the myth of Orpheus and his rescue of his wife Eurydice from the underworld. This Restless House was selected as Best New Play at the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland in 2016 and nominated for Best New Play at the UK Theatre Awards. The Edinburgh International Festival website features Zinnie talking about each of the plays:

Zinnie has recently been voted Best Director for her production of A Number by playwright Caryl Churchill at the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland 2017:

David Mitchell Conference 2017

David Mitchell Conference group

The international David Mitchell Conference 2017 took place in the School of English on Saturday 3rd June, bringing together twenty speakers from ten countries to discuss the works of the award-winning author. The conference was attended by David Mitchell, who listened to the talks throughout the day and contributed to discussions on his works. The author treated delegates to an evening reading that included three unpublished short stories.

David Mitchell Conference

As well as a keynote lecture from Dr Sarah Dillon from the University of Cambridge, the day included a visit to the St Andrews Library Special Collections to see the new collection of David Mitchell's rare works and collaborations held there.

The event was organised by Dr Rose Harris-Birtill, who will guest edit a special edition of the journal C21 Literature featuring work from the conference:

(Un)Civil War?

On 17th and 18th June, the School of English hosted an '(Un)Civil War?', a two-day colloquium that examined conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries in order to question our perceptions of civility, violence, commemoration and human rights during war and 'peace'. Plenary speakers included Professor Patricia Rae (Queen's University, Kingston), Professor Sarah Cole (Columbia University, New York), Professor Tim Kendall (University of Exeter), and Professor Sir Hew Strachan (University of St Andrews). The conference was organised by Dr Peter Mackay, Éadaoín Lynch, Alexa Winik, Rose Harris-Birtill, Rosa Campbell, and Tiana Fischer:

Oliver Emanuel at the Edinburgh International Festival


Flight, a new theatre adaptation by Oliver Emanuel, will be performed throughout the Edinburgh International Festival this year. The new play is based on Hinterland by Caroline Brothers, a story of two young orphaned boys as they embark on a desperate odyssey across Europe to freedom and safety:

Oliver will also be leading a readers’ workshop on L'Assommoir by Emile Zola at the International Book Festival, discussing history and truth with Rory McLean, and talking about his adaptation of Caroline Brothers' Hinterland with the novelist:

Lectures, Talks and Readings

Professor John Burnside will be delivering the 2017 Berlin Poetry Lecture on 18th June as part of Berlin's International Poetry Festival. Entitled "Where executives would never want to tamper?" John contradicts W.H. Auden’s assertion that "Poetry makes nothing happen", to argue that it gives us a fuller understanding and is a political instrument that is desperately necessary today. The lecture will be published in a bilingual edition by Wallstein Verlag:

Professor Gill Plain will be speaking alongside novelist Sophie Hannah and gender theorist Professor Mary Evans at 'Crime Fiction: Detection, Public and Private, Past and Present' from 29th June to 1st July. The conference, organised by the Captivating Criminality Network, is hosted by Bath Spa University and – perhaps appropriately – will take place in a magnificent country house setting, Corsham Court in Wiltshire. Gill, though, will not be talking about bodies in libraries. Her paper, 'Crime and Rehabilitation? Masculinity, risk and generic reinvention in the 1950s' considers the impact of World War Two on crime narrative. In the aftermath of war, crime stories became a space for the reconstruction of male agency. Crime stories enabled a variety of different forms of man-making, a process the paper will track through the new postwar popularity of violent adventure thrillers, police procedurals and spy stories.

Professor Susan Sellers will be taking part in a round-table discussion at the 27th Annual Virginia Woolf Conference 'Virginia Woolf and the World of Books', from 29th June to 2nd July, hosted by the University of Reading. The title of the round-table is 'Woolf by the Book: Reflecting on Woolf Editions', and will give Susan an opportunity to talk about the Cambridge Edition of Virginia Woolf's writing of which she is co-editor:

Susan will also be giving a reading from new work at an international conference entitled 'Reading Bloomsbury', to be held at Homerton College in Cambridge from 23rd to 28th July:

Medieval Matters


Dr Rhiannon Purdie has posted a blog discussing her experiences of editing Sir David Lyndsay's Historie and Testament of Squyer Meldrum for the forthcoming METS volume Six Scottish Pieces: Courtly and Chivalric Poems:

The digital palaeography resource developed by Dr Margaret Connolly with Rachel Hart is now available to view online:

Postgraduate News

Humours of the Past

Peter Sutton will present a paper entitled "'The Living Explanations': The Challenges and Opportunities of Staging Ben Jonson's Comedies" for the Humours of the Past network 'Humour, History, Methodology' conference at Durham University, 26-28 July. His paper will look at not only his thesis research but also at his experiences directing The Alchemist and Epicene in St Andrews. For more information on the conference and the network:

Peter has also been awarded the 2017 Cedric Thorpe Davie prize for his outstanding contribution to music and drama in the university over the last four years.

Éadaoín Lynch has a commentary piece 'Whose War? -- Between three states: Louis MacNeice in September 1939' published in the latest The Times Literary Supplement

Tiana Fischer has published 'After Correlationism and Ecocriticism: Nature's Status as an Intermediary in The Winter's Tale', in the Shakespeare Seminar Online 14, and 'Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus (1833-1834)', in the Handbook of British Romanticism: Text and Theory.

Alumnae News

Thomas Hardy and Animals

Anna West has published the monograph of her doctoral thesis with Cambridge University Press. Thomas Hardy and Animals examines the human and nonhuman animals who walk and crawl and fly across and around the pages of Hardy's novels. Animals abound in his writings, yet little scholarly attention has been paid to them so far. This book fills this gap in Hardy studies, bringing an important author within range of a new and developing area of critical inquiry. It considers the way Hardy's representations of animals challenged ideas of human-animal boundaries debated by the Victorian scientific and philosophical communities. In moments of encounter between humans and animals, Hardy questions boundaries based on ideas of moral sense or moral agency, language and reason, the possession of a face, and the capacity to suffer and perceive pain. Through an emphasis on embodied encounters, his writings call for an extension of empathy to others, human or nonhuman:


Small Hours

Jen Kitses is publishing her first novel, Small Hours, told hour-by-hour over the course of a single day, in which a husband and wife try to outrun long-buried secrets, sending their lives spiraling into chaos. Small Hours is published with Grand Central, an imprint of Hachette: