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Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing (CCWW) Seminar Series.

As a concept, metaphor, and sensation, ‘heat’ evokes some of the most urgent issues of the contemporary period. We are currently faced with the climate, energy, and cost-of-living crises, in which we inhabit the paradox of cold, unheated homes in an ever-warming global climate. Bound up with ecological and economic injustice, heat is unevenly distributed within society and across the planet. Heat is also something that we feel, on our skin and beneath it, as our bodies face illness and change: from fevers and flushes, to burning pain and blushing cheeks. It is equally an affective and sensory term that connotes love, sex, and anger. This particular triad of feminist concerns has renewed significance in the wake of the #MeToo movement, and undergirds current protest movements demanding access to healthcare, contraception, abortion, and safety for everyone, including non-binary and trans people. 

In this series, the conceptual focus on heat brings together speakers whose research covers such topics as illness and ageing; sex and intimacy; protest and rage; and the global climate emergency. Our speakers explore contemporary women’s writing across languages and cultures, and work in and between such fields as feminist, gender, and sexuality studies; postcolonial studies; affect studies; and the medical and environmental humanities. The seminars in this series will move between the cellular and the planetary, and the personal and the collective, asking how heat figures in contemporary literature by women from across the globe.

Launch Event
Wednesday 8 March 2023, 4:30–6:30, Zoom

‘Burning Up: Reading Hot Bodies’

In this launch seminar for the ‘So Hot!’ series, we begin with the body. We focus in particular on depictions of bodies feeling hot and producing heat in recent women’s writing. Our speakers consider temperature fluctuations caused by hormonal changes, such as during gender transition and the menopause. In combination, these papers examine how heat figures as affect, effect, and symbol in contemporary works of poetry and prose.

This event will be chaired by Professor Siobhán McIlvanney (King’s College London),and will include ashort comfort break.


‘“Sometimes within a flash I feel as if my femininity is… coming apart”: Hot Flashes and Heated Gender Debates in Recent Menopause Memoirs’
Veronika Schuchter (Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies)

‘Turning Up the Heat on Stereotypes of the Midlife Woman: Not Just Hot Flushes and Hopelessness’
Felicity Moffat (King’s College London)

‘“Another Word for Cool”: On Two Poems by Jameson Fitzpatrick’
S. Brook Corfman (University of Pittsburgh)

All are welcome to attend this free seminar being held online via zoom. Booking is essential to receive the online joining link. To register and attend this launch seminar taking place on 8 March at 16:30 GMT please follow the Book Now link at the top of this page.

Series schedule:

Wednesday 29 March 2023, 5–6:30pm, Zoom
‘Getting Heated: Rage as Feminist Praxis’

Wednesday 19 April 2023, 5–6:30pm, Zoom
‘The Sun Never Sets: On (Post)colonialism and Global Heating’

Wednesday 26 April 2023, 5–6:30pm, Zoom (Rescheduled from 15 March)
‘It’s Getting Hot in Here: On Sex, Pleasure, and Intimacy’

This series is organised by Alexandra Pugh ( and Elly Walters (