Illusions in Contemporary Women’s Writing:
Secrets, Lies and Deceptions
DeMontfort University Leicester, 9th – 10th April, 2015
In the wake of recent critical movements, studies of literature have become increasingly engaged in addressing what a text might hide or reveal, and the role of reader and writer in these acts of disguise and discovery. Such concerns are especially prominent in the work of contemporary women writers, from the skilful performances of gender and sexual identity in the novels of Sarah Waters and Angela Carter to the blending of autobiography and fiction in the work of Muriel Spark, to feminist (re)visions of fantasy and science fiction.
This conference seeks to examine the prominent place that secrets, lies and illusions occupy in contemporary women’s writing, and the uncomfortable truths that ‘deceptive’ writing might reveal. Incorporating the theorisation of ‘illusion’ in modern neo-liberal and feminist debates, we seek to interrogate contemporary women’s writing in the broadest of senses, from novels to autobiography, short stories to magazines and crime fiction to poetry. What challenges might the illusions at play in such texts pose to the boundaries of selfhood, identity and society? And what can ‘deceptive’ literature reveal about the present and future of women’s writing?
In considering these and other questions, we welcome papers from diverse disciplines including literature, linguistics, film studies, cultural studies, women’s studies, history, music, media and communications. Topics may include (but are by no means limited to):
* Correspondences between reality, (auto)biography and the fictional
* Contemporary realisms (including magical realism)
* ‘Deceptive’ narratives (metalepsis and metafiction)
* Fantasy and the fantastic (science fiction, fantasy and erotica)
* Disguised, deviant or performing bodies
* Literary frauds and narrative hoaxes
* Revisions of history, myths, folklore and fairy tales
* ‘Deceptive’ fiction (including detective and mystery fiction)
* Feminisms, Post-feminism and ‘equality illusions’
Please submit a 250 word abstract for 20 minute papers along with a brief biographical note to firstname.lastname@example.org by 15th December 2014.