‘Women on Women’ is PG CWWN’s first symposium series
During 2012, PG CWWN will run several half day events at institutions across the country which explore themes relating to contemporary women’s writing and women’s relationships. These events will be held in partnership with host institutions, there will be no registration fee and refreshments will be provided.
Contemporary women’s writing continues to lend itself well to an exploration of feminist politics. Women writers express breadth and depth, through a variety of modes and literary forms, whether they situate women in historical settings, explore diverse geographical landscapes and a variety of cultural contexts, or depict unusual or non-normative female behaviours and relationships and exploring such images through a variety of modes and forms, women authors express breadth and depth to the category ‘woman’. These symposiums seek to examine how and in what ways contemporary female authors write women in post-1970 literature.
Queens University Belfast, 29 February 2012
Queer Sisterhood in Contemporary Women’s Writing
Keynote Speaker: Dr Tina O’Toole
Emma Donoghue’s recent work Inseparable: Desire between Women in Literature seeks to trace the portrayal of female desire from medieval times. Passion has been marked by ‘excess, infraction, deviance. From the very beginnings of literature, women who desire other women tend to rampage across the boundaries of the acceptable’. This half-day symposium seeks to investigate how women interact with other women in contemporary literature. To what extent do friendships between women remain transgressive? How have depictions of female passion changed? How is identity mediated by sexuality?
University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University, 9 March 2012
Sisters in Verse: Contemporary Women’s Poetry
Keynote Panel Discussion: Kate Clanchy, Sophie Mayer and Jane Yeh
Adrienne Rich once stated that ‘the connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet’. This symposium aims to interrogate what these connections between women make possible in contemporary poetry. Given that a woman currently holds the British laureateship, we have clearly come some distance from deriding the ‘poetess’; this event seeks to evaluate recent transformations. From sisterhood and solidarity between recent generations of poets, to flat refusals to call one’s self a ‘woman poet’, there are many themes to discuss at this half day symposium.
Goldsmiths, University of London, 26 April 2012
Sister Earth: Global Relationships in Contemporary Women’s Writing
Keynote Speaker: Bernardine Evaristo
At the close of the twentieth century, feminists such as Audre Lorde, Susan Stanford Friedman and Sara Ahmed urged women to look beyond their local and national communities. Since 2000, contemporary women’s writing has sought inspiration from the idea of an increasingly global community. Women from a variety of locations have produced a number of works that engage with transnational and global relationships, including Aminatta Forna, Bernardine Evaristo, Kamila Shamsie, Andrea Levy, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Tahmima Anam, amongst many others. This half-day symposium seeks to both address and celebrate the global outlook of contemporary women’s writing.
University of Leicester, 20 June 2012
Mythical, Magical and Monstrous Women in Contemporary Women’s Writing
Keynote Speaker: Dr Becky Munford
From Angela Carter’s subversive fairytales in The Bloody Chamber (1979) to Michele Roberts’ monstrous bodies, from Ali Smith’s mythic rewriting in Girl Meets Boy(2007) to A.S. Byatt’s metamorphic monsters, the themes of myth, magic and the monstrous continue to preoccupy contemporary women writers who repeatedly turn to such themes as a means of challenging the frequently distorted images of gender proffered by patriarchal representations of women. This symposium seeks to address why the magical, mythical and the monstrous continue to remain prominent in contemporary women’s writing and explore how such tropes and topics continue to be deployed and reworked by authors to represent women in fiction.