BACLS-WHN 2023 and 2025 Conferences

BACLS-WHN 2023 and 2025 Call for Host Institutions Now Open!

We are currently accepting offers of interest to host the biannual BACLS-WHN main conferences in summer 2023 and 2025.

As part of the process of hosting BACLS-WHN you will work with the BACLS Conference Organiser, James Peacock. We encourage the host institution to present a programme that highlights their own expertise and local interests, as well as adhering to BACLS’ general principles. Although What Happens Now will be hosted by a different institution each event, we are committed to keeping a core BACLS programme of contemporary literary studies and early career academic advocacy work in place. Each What Happens Now will feature:

  • A session devoted to pedagogy and teacher training in the field
  • A session devoted to PGR and ECR professional development in the field
  • A reception for the announcement of book and essay prizes
  • A BACLS Annual General Meeting
  • The Lincoln Lecture (details below)

The ‘What Happens Now’ conferences originated at the University of Lincoln, where four were held biennially from 2010-2016. The conferences helped to provide a forum for and give shape to an emerging community of contemporary literary studies scholars. In recognition of Lincoln’s role, the BACLS What Happens Now conference series includes the ‘Lincoln Lecture’ as part of its proceedings. The Lincoln Lecture should be a plenary slot (keynote speaker, roundtable, Q&A or other format) on any topic related to Contemporary Literary Studies.

Following the events of 2020 and 2021, and because we are committed both to reducing negative environmental impact and to making our conferences more inclusive, we are particularly interested in proposals that explore innovative models for participation.

Support for the BACLS-WHN conference

In addition to working with the BACLS conference organiser, the BACLS treasury will provide a grant of £1000 to the host institution. This money is part of the organisation’s annual budget and thus is issued only after the next year’s budget is approved. Any unused funds should be returned to us as a ‘seed corn’ gift for the next BACLS-WHN.

So, please apply to host 2023 or 2025!

If you would like to host BACLS-WHN2023 or 2025 please send an application to Please note, that BACLS-WHN organisers should be current members of BACLS. Applications are particularly welcome from institutions in Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland.

Applications should be no more than three pages and include:

  1. the year in which you would like to host the conference (2023 or 2025) and the reasons why you are interested in hosting. You might like to include information relating to how hosting BACLS-WHN fits/connects with the research culture/environment in your department or school, details of anticipated plenary speakers and authors, or plenary speakers and authors who will be invited.
  2. how you will consider our general principles
  3. a proposed timetable
  4. a brief statement detailing how you have considered inclusivity in your conference planning
  5. a draft budget

Please send your application as an attachment to by the end of the day on Friday 30 April 2021. If you have any questions, please email or the conference and events organiser, James Peacock, at

BACLS-WHN2018 and the 2020 Crisis in Contemporary Writing conferences were a great success. The feedback from those who participated has been immense and made us all excited for the kind of work the association and its events can continue to do to support, widen and advocate for contemporary literary studies in the UK and Internationally.