All posts by cwwaorg

Call for Papers! Fireworks: The Visual Imagination of Angela Carter

The Royal West of England Academy, Queen’s Road, Bristol, BS8 1PX

in association with The University of the West of England, Bristol and the Festival of Ideas

Monday 9 January 2017

Keynote: Sir Christopher Frayling


2017 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the death of Angela Carter, one of the most important writers of the twentieth century, renowned for her novels and adaptations of fairy tales. This symposium coincides with the exhibition, Strange Worlds: The Vision of Angela Carter (10 December-19 March 2017), hosted by The Royal West of England Academy and curated by Marie Mulvey-Roberts and Fiona Robinson. Carter worked and studied in Bristol for nearly ten years in the 1960s, where she wrote five novels, including The Magic Toyshop. Appropriately this exhibition takes place in Clifton, where she lived and created her first novel, Shadow Dance, set in the city, which forms part of the “Bristol trilogy”.

Strange Worlds: The Vision of Angela Carter focuses on the painters who inspired her and historical and contemporary art which can be seen to parallel her writing. Carter had an extraordinarily visual imagination and this is represented in the exhibition through the juxtaposition of images and her words. Carter’s adept story-telling, accompanied by her captivating graphic imagination, bursts out of the restraints of a single discipline. As she once pointed out: “I feel free to loot and rummage in an official past, specifically a literary past, but I like painting and sculptures and the movies and folklore and heresies, too.” Carter’s subversive, political, radical and highly original work has been an important influence on film-makers, writers and artists. This symposium aims to give new insights into the strange worlds of Angela Carter and pay tribute to her visual imagination, as well re-assessing her impact and importance for the twenty-first century.

The symposium seeks to create dialogue between practising artists, curators, writers, academics and students from disciplines including the visual arts, literature, history, film and media studies. Proposals for papers are invited to reflect on various aspects of Carter’s work: These might include, but are not limited to:

• Visual imagination and inspiration

• Art, poetry, music, film, journalism, translation, theatre, puppetry

• Japanese culture, sexuality, philosophy, radicalism, feminism


250 word abstracts for 20 minute papers by 1 August 2016
should be emailed to Dr Marie Mulvey-Roberts at and Dr Charlotte Crofts at

Artists and curators should send proposals directly to Fiona Robinson at

The Future of the Humanities Day on 4 July

Dear all,

Wanted to let you all know about our event on 4 July – The Future of the Humanities at the Tetley, Leeds – with Sarah Churchwell, Eleonora Belfiore and Donald Drakeman. Some of you may have seen it already in other contexts, but please do come if you would like to and also forward to your networks. I’ve asked Leanne to send round the CWWA mailing list.


Best wishes,


Professor Susan Watkins
School of Cultural Studies and Humanities
Leeds Beckett University
Broadcasting Place A214
Woodhouse Lane
Leeds LS2 9EN
Tel 0113 8123375
Director, Centre for Culture and the Arts

Newcastle Noir 2016 (25th April-1st May)



We’re almost there!!!! In a week’s time the Newcastle Noir 2016 Fringe Events will be underway.

On the Friday evening we’ll be celebrating the official launch of the festival in the company of award-winning writer, Ann Cleeves. Then over the weekend we’ll have an amazing array of local, national and international crime writers speaking about their work. Val McDermid, Sophie Hannah, Mari Hannah Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Gunnar Staalesen are just a few of the authors signed up for Newcastle Noir 2016.

We hope we can entice you along for a criminally fine festival! Click here to see what’s on offer!!!

For tickets, you can book directly online at Eventbrite, you can go to the Lit & Phil in person or you can call them on 0191 232 0192.


All best,

Jacky Collins


Dr Jacky Collins,

Senior Lecturer in Spanish Studies,

Department of Media, Communication and Design

Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences,

Northumbria University,

Lipman Building, Room 222,

Newcastle NE1 8ST.




CWW Prize Winners

The inaugural 2016 Contemporary Women’s Writing Essay Prize:

Prize Winner:
Mary Horgan, About Change: Ali Smith’s Numismatic Modernism


In addition, the following essays have been selected for Special Commendation:

Imogen Mathew, Educating the Reader in Anita Heiss’ Chick Lit

Emilia Borowska, Politics, Passion and Abstraction in Kathy Acker’s “Russian Constructivism”

Oliver Penny, The true reflection of the perverse origins of his desire: The Extraneous Phallus in Angela Carter’s Love



Call for Papers for Panel on Literature and Medicine for the 2016 ESSE conference

Literature and Medicine for the 2016 ESSE conference
Galway, 22nd – 26th August (further details at

In her 1930 essay ‘On Being Ill’ Woolf noted how “strange” it was “that illness ha[d] not taken its place with love and battle and jealousy among the prime themes of literature.” Does Woolf’s comment still hold? A number of scholars have recently explored the symbolic value of illness in literature but how far can or should literature go beyond metaphor in representing the experience of illness? How far does Rita Charon’s concept of ‘narrative medicine’ capture the distinctiveness of literature as an alternative to medical discourse? We invite papers on the interconnections between literature and medical discourse in 20th and 21st century British literature.

Dr. Nicolas Pierre Boileau EA853, LERMA
Faculté des lettres, Université d’Aix-Marseille
29 avenue R. Schuman 13161 Aix-en-Provence Cedex 1 France<>

Professor Clare Hanson
Faculty of Humanities, University of Southampton
Avenue Campus Highfield
 Southampton SO17 1BJ 
United Kingdom<>

Deadline for submission of abstracts 31 March 2016

Clare Hanson
Professor of Twentieth Century Literature
School of Humanities: English
University of Southampton
Southampton SO17 1BF
023 8059 2470

Black British Women Writers: A Conversation

Black British Women Writers:
The Arts in Brixton in the 1980s, a Literary Conversation

University of Leicester
Wednesday 24 February 2016
Bennett Building, Lower Ground Floor, Lecture Theatre 3

Carol Leeming in Conversation with Dorothea Smartt, chaired by SuAndi. This exclusive event will document a literary conversation, between writers Dorothea Smartt and Carol Leeming, to recollect and highlight an exciting, challenging, and creative period, which spurred the development of Black Women’s writing in Britain, and which was centred on the artistic, social, and political milieu of Brixton London in the 1980s.

‘Girls on film’: Visualising Femininities in Contemporary Culture

A postgraduate symposium, as part of the Gendered Subjects Postgraduate Network and in collaboration with the Gendered Subjects Research Hub, Northumbria University.

May 23rd 2016, Northumbria University.

Keynote speakers:
Dr. Helen Wheatley (University of Warwick)
Dr. Christina Scharff (King’s College London)

The beauty of the woman as object and the screen space coalesce; she is no longer the bearer of guilt but a perfect product, whose body, stylised and fragmented by close-ups, is the content of the film and the direct recipient of the spectator’s look. (Laura Mulvey, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, 1975)

This year marked the 40th anniversary of Laura Mulvey’s seminal text Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. Exploring the way in which cinema constructs an interface between active/male and passive/female, Mulvey suggests that the cinematic female body is ‘raw material’: fragmented, constructed and deconstructed, perpetually stylised and ultimately immersed in the eroticism of visual pleasure. Thus, the female is open to be styled accordingly by the (male) spectator’s gaze.

Much scholarship has worked to expand the position and portrayal of the female body within media (Watson and Smith, 2002) and, most recently, Helen Wheatley argued thatMulvey’s account of the intensity of the spectorial engagement with the filmic image needs to be adapted, not abandoned, when it comes to thinking about our erotic engagement with televisual spectacle’. (Helen Wheatley, ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Television’, 2015)

Both examples explore the ways in which the contemporary female works to manipulate Mulvey’s initial conceptualisation of the female body as framed by the notion of to-be-looked-at-ness and furthermore, lessened the control of the male gaze. Instead, the female’s relationship with her body and subjectivity has become diverse and self-reflexive. As Watson and Smith argue, contemporary ‘women artists working in multiple media have used the bits and pieces, the excesses and debris […] in order to materialise self-referential displays’. In this sense, the female appears in various positions and in a constant process of construction and (re)construction through multi-faceted mediums.

This symposium seeks to explore the portrayal of the female (over an interdisciplinary terrain – be it art, screen, or page) as makers of her own self-display in a way that transforms the spectorial gaze and disrupts the notion of the female as a standardised or ‘perfect’ product. Instead, the utilisation of ‘bits’ and ‘pieces’ of media disrupts how femininities are visualised. Moreover, the focus will be on the way in which the female is both manipulated and manipulates the media landscape so as to force the modern spectator to (re)imagine femininities in contemporary culture.

Topics may include yet are not limited to the thematic list below:

  • Visualising and (re)imagining femininities in contemporary literature, fine art, performance, and on screen.
  • Female manipulation of space through new technological mediums.
  • Grrrls and g[urls]: subverting girlhood in new forms of social media.
  • Non-normative femininities.
  • Ageing femininities and visualising nostalgia.
  • Adaptations.

A 250-word abstract for 20-minute papers and poster presentations, including a brief autobiographical statement, should be submitted by February 28th 2016.

Event Organisers

Megan Sormus
Rachel Robson
Anamarija Horvat

Social Media

Twitter: @GirlsonfilmUnn
Facebook page:


Cardiff University
Wednesday 31 August to Friday 2 September 2016

Keynotes: Christina Bashford (Illinois) & Frank Trentmann (Birkbeck)
Neo-Victorian Plenary: Patricia Duncker (Manchester)

The Victorian age saw the emergence of ‘modern’ consumer culture: in urban life, commerce, literature, art, science and medicine, entertainment, the leisure and tourist industries. The expansion and proliferation of new mass markets and inessential goods opened up pleasurable and democratising forms of consumption while also raising anxieties about urban space, the collapse of social and gendered boundaries, the pollution of domestic and public life, the degeneration of the moral and social health of the nation. This conference is concerned with the complexity and diversity of Victorian consumer cultures and also seeks to consider our contemporary consumption of the Victorian/s.

We welcome proposals for individual papers, and encourage proposals for panels (3-paper sessions), on, but not limited to, the following topics:

Urban spaces and city life: the flâneur/flâneuse, the steam/trolley bus, the rise of suburbia, street cultures

Transformations of the countryside: the Victorian pastoral, the country retreat, the farm, garden cities and model villages, alternative communities

Commerce: the department store, fashion, retail and advertising Politics: new political mass movements, Chartism, feminism, Fabianism, ‘Victorian values’ in the present

Art: Pre-Raphaelitism, Impressionism, arts and crafts, photography, illustration

Science and technology: the railway, the Great Exhibition and exhibition cultures, the lecture, the gramophone, physics, biology

Science, spectacle and performance: taxidermy, the magic lantern, the diorama, the cinematograph

Literature: the magazine, newspaper, sensation, railway, crime and other popular fiction markets, self-help, religious tracts

Consuming life styles: The Girl of the Period, the Aesthete, the Dandy, the Decadent, the New Woman, the Lion/ess, the fashionable author, interview cultures

Cultures of entertainment and leisure: oper(ett)a, theatre and melodrama, the recital, music halls and concert halls, sheet music and instrument manufacture, the amateur, the club and associational culture, the bicycle, sports, boating

The tourist industry: sightseeing, the preservation of and popular attraction to historical buildings (e.g. National Trust), Baedeker, new (imperial) travel cultures

Medicine and the market place: medical treatments and therapeutics, medical advertising, professional practices, public and private treatment practices, institutional medicine, alternative therapies

The pleasures and perils of consumption: music, food cultures, cooking, chocolate, alcohol, addiction, opium, fashion, smoking, sex

Consuming bodies, moral contagion, social reform and the law: the city at night, prostitution, homosexuality, pornography, the ‘Maiden Tribute’ and trafficking; censorship, temperance, Obscene Publications Acts, Conta- gious Diseases Acts, National Purity Association, social purity activism, feminism, social welfare movements

The ‘other’ Victorians: the Victorians through the lens of their 19th-century contemporaries; the Victorians and 19th-century Europe; European Victorians

The Victorians and their pasts/Victorian consumption of earlier periods: Victorian medievalism in art and architecture, the Victorian Renaissance

Victorian afterlives: how the Victorian/s have been consumed by subsequent periods, such as the Modernists, Leavisites, faux/retro/post- and neo-Vic- torianism, heritage film and costume drama, the Victorians in contempo- rary architecture, art, interior decoration, music

Reception in the Impressionist galleries, with access to the Victorian art gallery, followed by an organ recital and conference dinner, National Museum Cardiff

House tour of Cardiff Castle, with interior decoration by Victorian architect William Burges

For further details consult our website:

All conference presenters are required to be members of BAVS or an affiliated organisation (e.g. AVSA, NAVSA).

Please submit an individual proposal of 250-300 words OR a 3-4 page outline for a 3 paper panel proposal (including panel title, abstracts with titles, affiliations and all contact details, identifying the panel chair), to by the deadline of 1 March 2016.

Papers will be limited to 20 minutes. All proposals should include your name, academic affiliation (if applicable) and email address.

Enquiries should be directed to Professor Ann Heilmann (

Conference organisers

Megen de Bruin-Molé (PGR, Cardiff), Rachel Cowgill (Music, Huddersfield), Daný van Dam (PGR, Cardiff), Holly Furneaux (English, Cardiff), Kate Griffiths (French, Cardiff), Catherine Han (PGR, Cardiff), Ann Heilmann (English, Cardiff), Anthony Mandal (English, Cardiff), Akira Suwa (PGR, Cardiff), Julia Thomas (English, Cardiff), Keir Waddington (History, Cardiff), Martin Willis (English, Cardiff)

School of English, Communication & Philosophy School of Modern Languages School of History, Archaeology and Religion


School of Music, Humanities & Media


British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS)
British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS)


Review: ‘Legacies and Lifespans: Contemporary Women’s Writing in the 21st Century’

Review: ‘Legacies and Lifespans: Contemporary Women’s Writing in the 21st Century’ by Dr Rosie White

Screen-Shot-2015-07-07-at-18.55.56o (1)

‘Legacies and Lifespans: Contemporary Women’s Writing in the 21st Century’, The 10th Anniversary Conference of the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association, University of Brighton, 17 October 2015


This conference offered a timely reflection upon work on contemporary women’s writing. It was particularly apt because this is a moment when a whole generation of feminist scholars are approaching retirement or have already retired. The conference panels and plenaries featured diverse voices from older and younger generations including several voices from international contexts – Australia, Canada, the Indian subcontinent, Europe, Egypt, Saudi Arabia – reflecting upon the ‘legacies and lifespans’ of the CWWA over the last decade.

The tone was set by a pre-conference paper on Friday 16th October at the University of Brighton’s Falmer campus where Professor Mary Eagleton gave a political reading of discourses of ‘chance and choice’ in fiction by women about young women and social mobility. Her paper moved through the 1950s and 1960s (Margaret Drabble and AS Byatt) to the impact of second wave feminisms in the 1970s (Janice Galloway and Andrea Levy), and then Zadie Smith’s NW(2012) and Ella Hickson’s 2009 play Precious Little Talent. She concluded with reference to Lauren Berlant’s‘depressive realism’ and the use of fantasy as a means of imagining a better world while acknowledging the exigencies of our lived realities. This account of the changing political landscape of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century was both stirring and provocative; a consideration of how we live now.

Professor Patricia Duncker spoke about the development of her latest novel, ‘Sophie and the Sibyl’ (2015)
Professor Patricia Duncker spoke about the development of her latest novel, ‘Sophie and the Sibyl’ (2015)

The opening keynote on Saturday morning was equally reflective as Professor Patricia Duncker (University of Manchester) took the delegates on a lively tour of her academic and creative writing careers, speaking about the development of her latest novel, Sophie and the Sibyl (2015) which features George Eliot struggling to write Middlemarch. During the lunch break both Professor Eagleton and Paulina Palmer were honoured by the Association, the CWWA essay prize was launched, and Professor Eagleton and Emma Parker launched the latest volume of the Palgrave History of British Women’s Writing: 1970 to the Present.

Panel sessions covered apparently disparate work – dementia in contemporary detective fiction, Annie Ernaux’s autobiographical writings and Alison Bechdel’s graphic novels – yet somehow seemed to draw upon similar debates and questions about lived experience and the processes of writing and reading. Three panels during the day focused specifically on ‘Legacies and lifespans’ and others developed new contributions to dystopian fictions, postcolonial writings, and a range of emerging areas of scholarship.

After lunch Jane Anger – one of the co-founders of Silver Moon Bookshop in London – gave a moving presentation on women’s publishing past and present. This could not help but be a form of elegy for the radical presses and booksellers of the Second Wave, such as London’s Sisterwrite Bookshop, which closed in 1993. There was also an acknowledgement of feminist voices which are now visible online, such as The Bookseller blog, On Noticing, as well as radical outlets such as Gay’s the Word which survive in the face of Amazon’s domination of the market.

The afternoon’s roundtable featured Emily Blewitt, Poonam Gunaseelan, Professor Lucie Armitt , Sneja Gunew, and Professor Patricia Duncker.
The afternoon’s roundtable featured Emily Blewitt, Poonam Gunaseelan, Professor Lucie Armitt , Sneja Gunew, and Professor Patricia Duncker.

The subsequent roundtable featured academics just beginning their careers as well as established figures; Emily Blewitt (Cardiff University), Poonam Gunaseelan (The School of Oriental and African Studies), Professor Lucie Armitt (University of Lincoln), Sneja Gunew (University of British Columbia) and Professor Duncker were invited by Susan Watkins to give their view of current issues and trends in the field before opening the debate up to the floor. Exciting work in Young Adult fiction was noted, as was the removal of ‘Women’ from many curricula in favour of the more anodyne ‘Gender’. The lack of funding for projects on women’s writing was raised, as was the disappearance of courses in feminist theory.

In her closing keynote, ‘Unspeakable Seas: Flooding, Climate Change and Kate Mosse’s The Taxidermist’s Daughter(2014)’, Professor Armitt addressed sustainability and space, arguing that climate change and the encroachment of the sea upon the British coastline has become an area ripe for twenty-first-century literary Gothic exploration. This was a lively and enlivening gathering, bringing together generations of feminist academics. While some of the discussion looked back to a Second Wave that is now the subject of major research projects at the British Library, there was also a sense of hope for a future populated by a new generation of scholars who are navigating the complex waters of this profession in the 21st century with evident skill.

Thanks to colleagues at the Centre for Learning and Teaching and Centre 21 at the University of Brighton who helped to organize the event.

You can find out more about the CWWA here:

Read an account of how the association was set up here:

About Dr Rosie White:
Rosie White is Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Literature, Theory and Popular Culture at Northumbria University, UK.Her research interests include the novels of Michele Roberts, violent women in popular fiction, film and television, and representations of women spies in popular culture.Her book, Violent Femmes: Women as Spies in Popular Culture was published by Routledge in 2008 and she is currently developing a monograph on women and television comedy for IB Tauris.For more details see: