BACLS-WHN 2021 Programme



Thursday 2 September

11.00 Welcome, opening remarks

11.15 Plenary 1: "Contemporary Conversations" Panel Discussion (Chair: Phil Leonard, Nottingham Trent University)

  • Emily Hogg (University of Southern Denmark) - Emily can no longer attend in person but you can download her slides here.
  • Peggy Hughes (Programme Director City of Literature Festival)
  • Julia Bell (Writer and Academic, Birkbeck University of London)
  • Laura Waddell (Tramp Press)

12.15 Parallel Panels A

A1 Cultural Modes of Contemporary Community (Chair: Niklas Cyril Fischer, University of Fribourg)

  • Sadek Kessous (University of Edinburgh): “Modern Fiction and The Corporate Totality”
  • Christine Okoth (University of Warwick): “Managed Mobility and the Racial Confines of Aesthetic Forms”
  • Oisin Meenan (University of Zurich): “Beyond the Groves of Academe: The Campus Novel in the Age of Precarity”

A2 Serial Forms in Television and Literature (Chair: Julia Ditter, Northumbria University)

  • Susanne Köller (University of Konstanz): “'Might be the War’: Ambiguity and Parapraxis in Peaky Blinders’ Serial Renegotiation of Trauma”
  • Melissa Schuh (Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel): “'What we want is repetition’ – Serial Aesthetics and Brexit in Ali Smith’s Seasonal Quartet”

13.00 Lunch break

13.45 Parallel Panels B

B1 Futures and Pasts: Ghosts, Traumas and Speculations (Chair: Chloe Ashbridge, University of Nottingham)

  • Olga Dzhumaylo (Southern Federal University, Rostov-on-Don): “Representations of post-memory in Deborah Levy’s Swimming Home (2011)”
  • Anna Johnson (Kingston University): “Failure: The Ghost and the Mother”
  • Christopher Griffin (University of Brighton): “Safeguarding the Seeds of Truth: Colonial Speculation in Octavia E. Butler’s Earthseed Series”
  • George Kowalik (King’s College, London): “'New year, new data’: Percival Everett’s Telephone, Brandon Taylor’s Real Life, and the Future of the ‘Affective Turn’”

B2 Experiments: Language, Music, Text (Chair: Caroline Wintersgill, UCL)

  • Katie Harling-Lee (Durham University): “The Transgressive Terror of Music in Orfeo (Powers, 2014)”
  • Katrin Becker (University of Siegen): “'… just sparks, tiny parts of a bigger constellation’: Reading Kate Tempest’s Let Them Eat Chaos in Light of the Lukácsian-Brechtian Realism Debate”
  • Rob Gallagher (University of East Anglia): “Personhood and Platformisation: The Case of Seraphine”
  • Iain Spillman (Nottingham Trent University): “Postcards and Cigar Boxes: The Fictional Freud in Robert Seethaler’s The Tobacconist

14.30 Refreshment break

14.45 Parallel Panels C

C1 States and Genres of Utopia and Dystopia (Chair: Diletta De Cristofaro, Northumbria University/Politecnico di Milano)

  • Ankit Raj ( Government College Gharaunda, Karnal/Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee): “Sermons on Joint: Bob Marley, Bokonon and the Religio-lyrical Affair with State Apparatuses”
  • Sam Weselowski (University of Warwick): “'At least we both know how shitty the world is’: Jack Spicer and the Colonization of Everyday Life”
  • Jade Hinchliffe (University of Hull): “Reproductive Surveillance Practices in Contemporary Feminist Dystopian Fiction”

C2 Literary Value(s), Empathy and Community (Chair: Zoe Bulaitis, University of Birmingham)

  • Joseph Anderton (Birmingham City University): “'Poor thing’: Homeless Animals and their Stories”
  • Ben Davies (University of Portsmouth): “Reading Summer in Summer 2020”
  • Katie Mulhearn (Loughborough University): “‘If only, we say to ourselves, we’d known.’: Navigating the collective in Julie Otsuka’s The Buddha in the Attic (2011)”

15.30 Refreshment break

15.45 Parallel Panels D

D1 Intersections: Contemporary Fiction and Globality (Chair: Chris Griffin, University of Brighton)

  • James Peacock (Keele University): “Science Fiction and Gentrification in Seth Fried’s The Municipalists
  • Chloe Ashbridge (University of Nottingham): “Class and the English Millennial Novel: Place, Precarity and Bodily Affect”
  • Ryan Trimm (University of Rhode Island): “'Speculation . . . Money, blood and light’: Tom McCarthy’s Remainder as Financial Fiction”
  • Demi Wilton (Loughborough University): “‘Our Path From the Land’: Environmental Displacement and Anthropocenic Futures in Contemporary Chinese Fiction”

D2 Literary Digitalities, Technologies and Gaming (Chair: Vicki Williams, University of Birmingham)

  • Leon Ramsey: “Never-Not-On: ‘Digital Boredom’ in Tao Lin’s Taipei (2013)”
  • Martin Paul Eve (Birkbeck): “Why is Whitespace White?”
  • Richard Bingham: “Engine Interpretation: Reading Time in Zelda64
  • Holly Parker (University of Lincoln): “Affect, Minecraft and (Neoliberal) Techno-Utopianism in Keith Stuart’s A Boy Made of Blocks
  • Doug Stark (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill): “'What Else to Do but Practice?’ The Pleasures and Politics of Digital Skill in David Sudnow’s Pilgrim in the Microworld

16.30 Refreshment break

16.45 – 17.15 Plenary 2: Briefing on Alluvium, C21 and BACLS online seminar series plans; closing remarks

17.15 Virtual drinks social session

Friday 3 September


10.30 Plenary 3: Round table discussion, “The Future of REF and the Implication for Literary Studies” (Chair: Caroline Wintersgill, UCL)

  • Dominic Dean (Sussex)
  • Kate Houlden (Brunel)
  • Martin Paul Eve (Birkbeck)
  • Sebastian Groes (Wolverhampton)
  • Madhu Krishnan (Bristol) - respondent

11.15 Refreshment break

11.30 Parallel Panels E

E1 Autofictions, Texts, Styles and Experiments (Chair: Liam Harrison, University of Birmingham)

  • Craig McDonald (University of Leeds): “‘Being understood creates the fear that you will never be understood again’: The Production of Literary Empathy in Rachel Cusk’s Outline Trilogy”
  • Ekaterina Martynenko (Southern Federal University, Rostov-on-Don): “Alasdair Gray’s Poor Things and the Profaning of the Epistolary Novel Canon”
  • Caroline Wintersgill (UCL): “The ‘Left-Handed Monkey Wrench’ and the Literary Novel: Endings and Genre Definitions in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go and Naomi Alderman’s The Power
  • Niklas Cyril Fischer (University of Fribourg): “Careful Styles: Ekphrastic Knowing in Contemporary Novels”

E2 Rethinking the “Modern”: Developing a Transglossic Literature (Chair: Melissa Schuh, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel)

  • Sara Upstone (Kingston University)
  • Kristian Shaw (University of Lincoln)

12.15 Refreshment break

12.30 Parallel Panels F

F1 Contemporary Literature and the Creative Economy (Chair: Sam Waterman, University of Chichester)

  • Sarah Brouillette (Carleton University, Ottawa): “Wattpad and the 'Labour of Love'"
  • Sarah Jaffe (Type Media Center): “The Work of Literature”
  • Sam Waterman (University of Chichester): “Sally Rooney's Sapiosexuals: Intellectual Romance and the Creative Economy”
  • Shirley Lau Wong (U.S. Naval Academy): “Contemporary Ireland and the Creative Economy”

F2 Economies of Production and Precarity in Contemporary Women’s Writing (Chair: Emily Hogg, University of Southern Denmark)

  • Eleanor Careless (Birkbeck University): “'Voluntary (hard) labour' in the Poetry of Anna Mendelssohn”
  • Katherine Kruger (University of Sussex): “'I have to go to work, says he, says me, says everybody': Milling about and other Precarious Temporalities in Jenny Offill's Weather"
  • Charlotte Terrell (Worcester College, University of Oxford): “The Estate of the Novel: Chris Kraus, Deborah Levy, Property and Precarity”

13.15 Parallel Panels G

G1 Private/Public Spaces and Embodied Practices (Chair: Ankit Raj, Government College Gharaunda, Karnal/Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee )

  • Radhika Sharma (Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee): “Extraordinary Body on Stage: A Study of Enactment or Performance of Cancer Comedy in Brian Lobel’s Ball & Other Funny Stories About Cancer (2012)”
  • Oliver Haslam (Loughborough University): “‘Gestures Barely Visible’: Minimalism and Repetition in Don DeLillo’s The Silence”
  • Crystal Maritta Sam (Kingston University): “Indiana as Islamistan/ Interiors of Indiana”
  • Danielle Cameron (University of East Anglia): “New York Ruins, Labour and the Future of Adulthood in Colson Whitehead’s Zone One and Ling Ma’s Severance

G2 The 2010s: A Decade of Contemporary British Fiction (Chair: Nick Bentley, Keele)

  • Emily Horton (Brunel University)
  • Nick Hubble (Brunel University)
  • Anna McFarlane (University of Glasgow)

14.00 Refreshment break

14.15 Plenary 4: Writers Live Panel Discussion (Chair: James Peacock, Keele University)

  • Jonathan Lethem
  • Lisa Blower
  • Guy Gunaratne

15.15 Closing remarks, end of conference.