What is English: Shared Futures?
· ‘English: Shared Futures’ (E:SF) is a the first time that all the branches of English – literature, language and creative writing – have come together to talk about and celebrate their subject, and to explore its futures in the nations of the UK and across the world.
· Writers, critics, academics, teachers, and linguists will unite in a festival event, part celebration, part conversation, part cultural fringe.
· E:SF is being held in Newcastle and will show-case the excellent literary culture of the region, its writers, and publishers (e.g. Bloodaxe). We’ll also be joining in with the 50th anniversary commemorations of Newcastle University’s awarding Dr Martin Luther King an honorary degree in 1967.
· Alongside over 150 panels, readings, and workshops, we have:
o Talks on literary biography from Hermione Lee, Kathryn Hughes, Andrew Hadfield;
o Deborah Cameron on ‘Language and the problem of female authority’;
o Lemn Sissay reading and answering questions.
· We are pioneering a series of ‘literary salons’ with Marina Warner, Elleke Boehmer, Bernadine Evaristo, John Mullan, and Dinah Birch, who will talk about their lives in literature and the literature in their lives (in R4 terms, not ‘the life scientific’ but ‘the literary life’).
· The conversations at the event will discuss the most up-to –date ideas on great writers of the past and present, how we use language, and how we teach people to write – and think – creatively. (We’d be delighted to help the media access the best of these speakers).
· Our cultural fringe will feature readings around the city from local, national, and international writers and groups, and include a leading writer in conversation with Jackie Kay (details tbc).
· English, the liveliest and largest school and university arts subject, is participating in some of the most pressing issues of the day, such as migration, identity, the uses we make of the past, and the place of higher education in our society.
· We are also, along with the colleagues in the rest of arts and humanities community, addressing the urgent need to maintain access to the arts and culture for everyone.
· We think it’s important that the humane voice of English, and what literature teaches, is heard, especially at the moment, to help build our shared future.
Bob Eaglestone R.Eaglestone@rhul.ac.uk
Gail Marshall firstname.lastname@example.org