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Interwar Women Writers: Politics, Citizenship, Style, King’s College London, 1 June 2018

Interwar Women Writers: Politics, Citizenship, Style

Organized by Dr Clara Jones (KCL) and Dr Natasha Periyan (Goldsmiths)


The political activism and social commitments of interwar women writers were extensive and varied. Winifred Holtby was a member of the Six Point Group and Independent Labour Party, Sylvia Townsend Warner was a communist and a Red Cross volunteer in Spain, Naomi Mitchison was a committed socialist and Labour activist, Virginia Woolf had a life-long affiliation to the Women’s Co-operative Group, Storm Jameson founded the Peace Pledge Union, Rosamond Lehmann organised and spoke at anti-fascist meetings, and Elizabeth Bowen and E M Delafield were presidents of their local WIs. These writers lived through two rounds of electoral reform in 1918 and later in 1928, the opening up of the professions to some women through the 1919 Sex Disqualification Removal Act, the reform of divorce law in 1924 and 1937, as well as significant socio-political upheaval, including the first Labour government in 1924 and the 1926 General Strike. Interwar women writers responded to their social and political contexts and wrote their own commitments into their fiction and non-fiction texts in a range of ways. ‘Interwar Women Writers: Politics, Citizenship, Style’ is interested in the nature of these responses and relationship between these writers’ political concerns and their aesthetic decisions. The symposium will be an opportunity to re-contextualize the work of more ‘canonical’ writers while bringing them into dialogue with and drawing attention to women writers who have been marginalised in studies of interwar literature.

Panels of invited speakers will consider the following topics:

  • The political activism and civic commitments of interwar women writers
  • Their negotiation of domestic identity in their lives and work
  • The relationship between feminism and patriotism in writing of this period
  • The way that race, class and colonial status mediated in writers’ work
  • Interwar domesticity and conservatism
  • Women in and out of work
  • Publishing contexts

This symposium is generously funded by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at King’s College London and the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Speakers include: Maroula Joannou, Nick Hubble, Anna Snaith, Victoria Stewart, Nicola Wilson, Alice Wood, Vike Plock, Carole Sweeney, Catherine Clay, Kate MacDonald, Rowena Kennedy-Epstein, Suzanne Hobson, Matthew Taunton

Please register for this free event here: