CfP: Between the Waves: British Women Writers 1930 to 1960 redux, Hull, 12 June 2020 (deadline 17 March)

Fourth international conference at The University of Hull Friday 12th June 2020

Co-organised by Dr Sue Kennedy and Professor Jane Thomas

This conference aims to rekindle the energy unleashed at the inaugural conference on British Women’s Writing 1930 to 1960: Revision, Revival, Rediscovery in 2016 at Hull University that was taken forward in conferences at Chichester University in 2017 and 2018. The fourth conference seeks to gather more research and discussion from scholars of women’s literature of this period and to continue the re-evaluation of women’s writing occupying a liminal place in ‘the canon’ of British literature as taught by the academy.

The conference will also launch the publication of Liverpool University Press’s essay collection British Women Writers 1930 to 1960: Between the Waves, that arose from the first conference, edited by Sue Kennedy and Jane Thomas.

This fourth conference in the series offers speakers and audience a forum to give new life to readings of more  works by neglected women authors. We offer a space to consider the problems lamented by Kristin Bluemel and Phyllis Lassner in the first issue of the journal Feminist Modernist Studies in 2017 that are still faced by scholars of early and mid-twentieth-century writing by and about women that is ‘not modernist in terms of style, politics or coterie’ in the face of the preferences of publishers and academic institutions for research on topics admitted to a modernist canon.

The emphasis on the work of neglected women writers celebrates their non-canonical and middlebrow status; works that Elizabeth Maslen describes as among the ‘texts which we neglect to our very great loss’, of which there remain too many.

A distinguishing feature of these conferences has been the interest of an increasingly appreciative section of the reading public in women’s writing of this period, aided by the steadfast work of recovery performed by publishing houses, notably Virago, Persephone and most recently, Handheld Press and cultural commentators and journalists like Lucy Scholes.

Keynote speakers will be:

Dr Kate Macdonald, literary historian, writer and director of Handheld Press, a small independent publishing house based in Bath that republishes forgotten fiction and authors from the twentieth century. Recent publishing successes include Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Kingdoms of Elfin, Inez Holden’s Blitz Writing and Rose Macaulay’s What Not.

Dr Lucy Scholes, a cultural critic who writes for The Financial TimesThe Telegraph, NYR DailyThe New York Times Book ReviewLiterary Hub and Granta, among other publications, with an emphasis on recovering the work of lost women writers. She writes “Re-Covered”, a monthly column for the Paris Review about out-of-print and forgotten books that shouldn’t be, and is the Managing Editor of the literary magazine, The Second Shelf: Rare Books and Words by Women.


Call for papers

We welcome papers that approach a wide range of forms and genres: fiction, poetry, drama, life writing, film, particularly the lesser-known contributions of women writers to what might be seen as ‘untypical’ of female authors, extending and augmenting the excellent contributions to the first three conferences.

We invite abstracts of up to 250 words for papers of no more than 20 minutes or panels of 3 associated papers.

Examples might include the following, although other topics are most welcome:

  • Writing about war and the aftermath of two world conflicts
  • Writing against war; interwar political consciousness
  • Domestic fiction; gender, class, families
  • Race
  • Post-colonial writing
  • Queer writing; writing against the norm
  • Science fiction, speculative fiction and fantasy
  • Life writing/autobiography
  • Fiction for children
  • Historical fiction
  • Crime fiction
  • Periodicals/magazines
  • Poetry
  • Drama
  • Adaptation for film or stage

Please include a brief personal biography (about 50 words).

Do contact us if you have any questions and for submissions

Closing date for submissions March 17th 2020