Category Archives: Events

Angela Carter in 2017




Angela Carter in 2017

by Heidi Yeandle

February 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of Angela Carter’s premature death, and interest in Carter is consequently thriving. The Guardian is holding an Angela Carter Reading Group this month, and the ‘Strange Worlds: The Vision of Angela Carter’ exhibition is running at the Royal West of England Academy (RWA) in Bristol until 19 March 2017 (curated by Dr Marie Mulvey-Roberts from the University of the West of England, UWE, and Fiona Robinson, RWA). In line with this exhibition, an international conference Fireworks: The Visual Imagination of Angela Carter was held in January 2017 in Bristol, organised by Dr Marie Mulvey-Roberts and Dr Charlotte Crofts (UWE). A range of diverse publications have also emerged over the last few months, including Scott Dimovitz’s Angela Carter: Surrealist, Psychologist, Moral Pornographer (Routledge, 2016), Edmund Gordon’s The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography (Chatto & Windus, 2016), Anna Watz’s Angela Carter and Surrealism: A Feminist Libertarian Aesthetic (Routledge, 2017), and Heidi Yeandle’s Angela Carter and Western Philosophy (Palgrave, 2017). There are still more publications in the pipeline: Mulvey-Roberts’ edited collection The Arts of Angela Carter: A Cabinet of Curiosities (Manchester University Press) is under preparation, and there is currently a call for book chapters for Pyrotechnics: The Incandescent Imagination of Angela Carter, edited by Mulvey-Roberts and Crofts. Bearing in mind the range of recent publications and events that celebrate Carter’s life and work, this piece discusses some of the developments in the current Carter world.

        The availability of the Angela Carter Papers Collection at the British Library has resulted in a new wave of work on Carter underpinned by archival material: research notes, diary entries, and plans for novels and short stories. Sir Christopher Grayling’s keynote lecture ‘ANGELA and ME: A Bath Literary Friendship’ at the Fireworks conference in January 2017 was particularly revealing about the content of these papers. Reflecting on his friendship with Carter in the 1970s when she lived in Bath, Frayling recalled reading her notebooks and coming across conversations that he’d had with Carter. Carter’s account of these conversations was far from factual though; she had fictionalised and in some ways gothicised Frayling’s words, and these alternative dialogues feature in her published novels. With a number of recent publications referring to the archived material and commenting on its self-consciousness and unreliability (Dimovitz, Gordon, and Yeandle), Frayling’s reflection illustrates the veiled nature of Carter’s personal notes and the importance of not taking her words at face value.

        Edmund Gordon’s 2016 biography of Carter demonstrates extensive engagement with the contents of the Angela Carter Papers Collection, but also references letters Carter wrote to friends and colleagues, as well as interviews with a range of people who knew Carter: family, friends, students, and ex-lovers. This publication therefore includes a range of new material, and is a useful resource for Carter scholars as well as wider readers. One particularly illuminating aspect of this publication is that it features extracts from the author’s interview with Sozo Araki, whom Carter had her ‘First Real Affair’ with in Japan (letter to Carmen Callil, Gordon 2016: p. 141), unveiling Sozo’s perspective on this formative time of Carter’s life. The biography also cites Sozo’s unpublished memoir, translated by Natsumi Ikoma from the International Christian University in Japan. Ikoma’s English translation of Sozo’s account is being published by Eihosha in Summer 2017, another exciting addition to the expanding body of literature related to Carter.

        While engagement with both the archival material and the biography was central to many of the papers at the recent Fireworks event, the wide-ranging interdisciplinary focus of the conference paid tribute to both the diverse influences on Carter’s work as well as the influence she continues to have, as illustrated by the ‘Strange Worlds’ exhibition. With papers discussing Carter’s oeuvre in relation to cinema, surrealism, and the Gothic, as well as philosophy, theatre, and folk music, and examining topics such as the medieval influences on Carter’s early novels, the significance of tattooing, and the depiction of ageing to name a few, the event showcased the wealth of innovative research on Carter at the moment. It wasn’t just a literary event though, with talks from curators, artists, and musicians as well. For instance, Catriona McAra (Leeds College of Art, UK) discussed how Carter has shaped her curatorial strategies, and artist Kim L Pace reflected on Carter’s influence on her work, and showcased her film ‘Fabulous Beasts & Comic Bodies’, which includes Pace’s images alongside extracts from The Magic Toyshop (1967), ‘The Loves of Lady Purple’ (1974, in Fireworks), and Nights at the Circus (1984). Works by a range of contemporary artists inspired by Carter are featured in the ‘Strange Worlds’ exhibition, from Ana Maria Pacheco’s dominating installation The Banquet to Tail of the Tiger by Eileen Cooper RA, contradicting Gordon’s claim that Carter’s reputation is confined within ‘scholarly sarcophagi’ (Gordon 2016: p. 130). 

     It’s now 25 years since Carter’s death, and there is no sign of interest in her beginning to diminish: quite the opposite. Alongside new publications, exhibitions and art installations, a number of public events are on the horizon. These include a ‘Shadow Dance puppet workshop’, a Drawing Master Class inspired by Carter’s work on fairy tales, and a Folksong and Music Session inspired by Carter’s role in the 1960s Folk Revival. More information about these and other events is available at, a website related to the Bristol-based events commemorating the anniversary of Carter’s death, designed and curated by Crofts. In addition, Carter-related news and interviews are available at, run by Dr Caleb Sivyer. These public events and websites are making Carter more visible and accessible for contemporary readers, and foregrounding her importance in 2017, and, it seems, for years to come.


Gordon, E. The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography. London: Chatto & Windus, 2016.


IMPORTANT! THE CWWA’S 2016 Annual General Meeting


Saturday 19 November 2016bs.h3
before the Weldon conversation with Professor Mary Eagleton


We’ll be holding our AGM at Leicester in the afternoon of 19 November, before the Weldon event. All CWWA members are very much welcome to attend (no need to book). As part of the meeting, we’ll hold elections for the executive committee roles of Chair, Fundraising officer, Membership Secretary, and Ordinary Member. Further details to follow.

If you’d like to stand for any of the following roles on the exec, or would like any further information about them, please do get in touch with the secretary Leanne Bibby:
Fundraising Officer
Membership Secretary
Ordinary Member (several positions available)

We very much hope you’ll save the date and join us in Leicester for both the AGM and this exciting event.

CWWA Secretary
Leanne Bibby

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.

CWWA 10th Anniversary Events

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 18.55.56We are delighted to announce two events that celebrate the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association’s tenth anniversary. Please circulate the attached and the below as widely as possible, and to any students and colleagues who may be interested.

We’re looking forward to your abstracts and hope you will be able to join us in Brighton for one or both of these exciting events!

  • Lecture by Professor Mary Eagleton (CWWA Founder), University of Brighton, 16 October 2015.
  • Legacies and Lifespans: Contemporary women’s writing in the twenty first century, University of Brighton, 17 October 2015.

Click here for further information and to register for the events.

Contemporary Women’s Writing and Literary Prize Culture, 24th June 2013

Contemporary Women’s Writing and Literary Prize Culture

Monday 24 June 2013 9.30-15.30

Leeds Metropolitan University, Northern Terrace Rooms 117 and 118

The Contemporary Women’s Writing Association and the School of Cultural Studies and Humanities at Leeds Metropolitan University invite you to a day conference on Contemporary Women’s Writing and Literary Prize Culture. This event is free and booking is now open (see below).


9.30 -10.00 Registration and Coffee NT117

10.00 – 10.45 Clare Hey – ‘Literary prizes, the publishing industry, digital publishing and short stories’ NT118

10.45 – 11.30 Gillian Roberts – ‘Literary prizes, national identity, postcoloniality and the case of Esi Edugyan’ NT118

11.45 – 12.30 Helen Cousins and Jenni Ramone – ‘Literary prizes and reading groups’ NT118

12.30 – 1.30 lunch NT117

1.30 – 2.15 Jane Rogers – Reading from The Testament of Jessie Lamb, Hitting Trees with Sticks and other work NT118

2.15 – 3.00 Interview with Jane Rogers – ‘Literary Prizes, Literary Careers and Literary Cultures’ NT118

3.00-3.30 Tea, book signing and close NT117


The event is open to all and free of charge. Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

Please book your place online.
Directions to the venue are available here.

For more information please contact Dr Susan Watkins at