This page provides information on events organised by the CCWW, and comprises event details, the papers presented as well as links to podcasts and event reports hosted elsewhere.
Covid and the Woman Writer
Workshop | 30 April 2021 | Online
This workshop brought together academic and creative writers to discuss the sudden change to human life as a result of the current pandemic. Studies of the ways in which women in particular have been impacted as a result of increased workloads and adjustments to working from home were complemented with analyses of emerging literary texts grappling with the lockdown experience, with personal testimonies, and with explorations of the impacts on translators’ working practices. The dialogue between creative and academic work provided illuminating insights into the impact of the experience of Covid on the human psyche and on quotidian experience. Contributors included writers and academics from the UK and around the globe; despite their various backgrounds, they converged on their core observations and recommendations for commemorating the experience of everyday life, emotions and work practice in times of Covid to a remarkable extent. Papers were submitted in advance (and are available by panel at the links below) and discussed in their panels as follows:
Panel 1: Capacity to Work/Publish/Create (Chair: Caragh Wells, Bristol)
Catherine Davies (Leeds): How Far Did the UK Spring 2020 Lockdown Exacerbate Gender-based Research Inequalities? Rebecca Clode, Alice Grundy, Melinda Harvey and Julieanne Lamond (Australian National University): What Happens to Women’s Voices during a Pandemic? A Quantitative Study of the Impact of COVID-19 on Women Writers in Australia Artist Collective PartSuspended (London): Collaborative Writing on SPIRALS during the Covid-19 Lockdown
Panel 2: Personal Testimony / Creative Contribution (Chair: Godela Weiss-Sussex, ILCS)
Maria V. Luna-Thomas (London): The Chiaroscuro Effect of Relentless Parenting during Lockdown Sonka Hecker (Berlin): Am I Still Me? Janet Newman (Open University): Lost for Words Isabel Cristina Mateus (University of Minho) Rear Window (Chronicles of Lockdown) Gail Chester (London): ‘Operational Challenges’: or, Managing to Get Any Writing Done, Whether it’s Covid19 or Not
Panel 3: Studying Women Writers (Chair: Adalgisa Giorgio, Bath)
Daria Kozhanova (Bologna): Italian Women Writers and Pandemic: New Voices of Empowerment Ellen Patat (Milan): Di Terra e di Misterio by Tuti: Place and Identity at Times of Covid Louyzza Vasquez (University of the Philippines): Poetry and the Pandemic: How Filipina Writers Persist
Panel 4: Translation (Chair: Emily Jeremiah, Royal Holloway, London)
Muireann Maguire (Exeter): From the Novel Coronavirus to the Coronavirus Novel – a Translator’s Perspective Clare Nimmo (Universidad Pontificia Comillas de Madrid): The Masked Translator: Layering in Theatre and Media during the Pandemic Éva Cserháti (Shrewsbury): Who Killed the Matryoshka Doll? Self-Translation as Self-Harm
From 'Where are you from?' to 'Where shall we go together?' Re-imagining Home and Belonging in 21st-Century Women's Writing
Conference | 23-24 September 2020 | Online
In this era of mass migration, Questions of home and belonging emerge with new urgency in public discussion in many European nations in this era of mass migration. Focusing on recent literary imaginaries and discussions of home and belonging by women writers across cultures, this conference investigated the possibilities of literary and artistic intervention in traditionally held ideas, and of contributing to the formation of alternative, inclusive and future-oriented conceptualisations of belonging which allow us to think ambiguous, multiple and/or shifting attachments. Exploring cultural enunciations that lead away from binary definitions of inclusion/exclusion, the conference built on research on the changing concepts of home and belonging, not as idealised stability, but as fluid in terms of space and time. The frames of reference referred to included work by Braidotti, Massey and Ahmed on questions of home, migration and the ethics of relationality. These are intrinsically linked with feminist thought, and connect with a tradition of enunciating alternative, more open and fluid concepts of home in women’s writing. This conference explored to what extent recent and current literature by female writers across languages and cultures follows in the footsteps of this tradition.
Papers were submitted in advance (they are available at the links below) and discussed in round table panels as follows:
Ricarda Vidal (King's College London) and Manuela Perteghella (Open University): Curatorial Introduction to Conference Exhibition ‘Home on the Move – Poetry, Migration, Translation (exhibition to be viewed online here)
Contemporary Women’s Writing: Writing / Reading for Change
A Celebrationof the Work of Gill Rye
Symposium | 8 November 2019 | Venue ILCS, University of London
This cross-cultural symposium, one of the key events marking the 10th anniversary year of the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing, celebrated the work of the Centre’s founder Gill Rye, Professor Emerita in French Studies. It brought together a range of 11 expert speakers, both established and early career, whose research intersects with or has been inspired by that of Professor Rye, or whose intellectual trajectory has developed thanks to connection with the CCWW. There was a particular focus on new narratives of mothering and on writing and reading for change, both areas in which Professor Rye has published pioneering work. The three panels were: ‘Maternal Narratives and Counter Narratives’; ‘Making Space for the Maternal: Friendship and Sisterhood in Life and Writing’; and ‘Reading/Writing for Change’. In addition, the conference hosted two keynote lectures. The first, from Dr Amaleena Damlé (Durham) was entitled 'New Narratives of Mothering: Notes towards a Relational Epistemology of Birth'. The second, from Professor Diana Holmes (Leeds) was entitled ‘“Reading can change your life”. Women’s Middlebrow Fiction in the Light of Gill’s Reading for Change’. The proceedings concluded with a reception and a series of personal tributes to Gill. The event was kindly supported by the Cassal Trust Endowment Fund.
Eglė Kačkutė (Maynooth): Mothering through Migration Katie Stone (Warwick): Re-Imagining the Maternal Experience: Maternal Regret in Contemporary German Literature Jasmine Cooper (Cambridge): Queer Childlessness in Négar Djavadi's Désorientale Amaleena Damlé (Durham): New Narratives of Mothering: Notes towards a Relational Epistemology of Birth Maria-José Blanco (London/Group Work Practitioner [IGA]): Thank You Mothers: Carmen Martín Gaite and Gill Rye in My Life and my Writing Claire Williams (Oxford): Networks and New Interpretations of Motherhood in Mães que tudo Adalgisa Giorgio (Bath): The Power of Female Alliance according to Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels (L’amica geniale). An Academic’s Subjective Reading in the Context of the CCWW Sandra Daroczi (Bath): Reading Women’s Identities in the Contemporary French Popular Novel Catriona McLeod (ULIP): Redrawing the Female Body in Aurélia Aurita’s Fraise et Chocolat Siobhan McIlvanney (London): Re-presenting the 'Ordinary': The Sexual/Textual Politics of (Early French) Women's Magazines Diana Holmes (Leeds): ‘Reading can change your life.' Women’s Middlebrow Fiction in the Light of Gill’s Reading for Change
Translating Women: Breaking Borders and Building Bridges in the English-language Book Industry
Conference | 31 October-1 November 2019 | Venue: ILCS, University of London
This two-day conference, organized by Dr Helen Vassallo (University of Exeter) and Dr Olga Castro (Aston University) explored the circuits of translation of women-authored literature into English, with the aim of promoting synergies between academic and publishing contexts, and questioning the power dynamics of the English-language book industry. Its various panels and papers offered fresh insights into the cultural, social, economic and political implications of making foreign women writers available to English-speaking readers, gave consideration to where ‘borders’ lie in translated literature, and asked how and why women might destabilise them. The conference’s feminist perspective challenged the relative lack of recognition and influence of women writers, while its transnational and geopolitical focus encouraged a cross-cultural understanding already fostered by translation and by the pioneering work of organisations such as ‘English PEN’ and ‘Literature across Frontiers’. There were panels on ‘The Visibility of Women in Translation’, ‘Translation as Activism’; ‘Women Writers in and on Translation’; ‘Initiatives Promoting Women in Translation’; ‘Networks of Translation’; ‘The Geopolitics of Translation’ and ‘Ideologies of Translation’. The event’s keynote speaker was Dr Margaret Carson, co-founder of the Women in Translation tumblr. Two public conversations were held between authors and translators: author Négar Djavadi (Disoriental, 2018) and her translator Tina Kover; author Ariana Harwicz (Die, My Love, 2017; Feebleminded, 2019), and her translators Carolina Orloff and Annie McDermott. The event was kindly supported by the Cassal Trust Endowment Fund, and the Translingual strand of the OWRI ‘Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community’ project.
Margaret Carson (New York): Snap! or The Whys and Hows of Women in Translation Nicky Harman (freelance literary translator): Getting heard, getting translated – A Look at What Chinese Women Writers are Saying Rosalind Harvey (freelance literary translator): Women in Translation – A Triple Absence? Aysun Kiran (Marmara): Translating Ece Temelkuran: The Insane and the Melancholy Jean Anderson (Wellington): Translation as Activism: Resisting Borders and Building Bridges between Cultures Aviya Kushner (Chicago): Women Who Don’t Follow the Rules: On Translation, Activism, and Individuality Clémence Scalbert Yücel, Yaser Ali, Farangis Ghaderi and Rinat Harel (Exeter): Bridging Activism and Scholarship: Translating Kurdish Women’s Texts into English Eva Moreda (author/Glasgow) Singing a Song in a Foreign Land: Diaspora, Invisibility and (Self)-Translation, Galicia to UK Éva Cserháti (writer and literary translator): A Foreigner Navigating the Industry: My Journey to Self-Translation as a Female Crime Writer Anna Menyhért (author/Budapest) and Anna Bentley (freelance literary translator): Five Hungarian Women Writers: Their Reception and Publication Godela Weiss-Sussex (Cambridge/IMLR) and Heike Bartel (Nottingham): The ‘Encounters’ Seminar Series Chantal Wright (Warwick): The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation Margaret Carson (New York): The Women in Translation tumblr Meytal Radzinski (founder of #WITMonth): Women in Translation and #WITMonth Salwa Benaissa (founder of literary initiative Project Plume): Project Plume Helen Vassallo (Exeter): The Translating Women Project Nadia Georgiou (Surrey): Translating Women: Gender Politics and Literary Translation from Modern Greek into English Oisin Harris (independent scholar): Women in Translation and Causes of Underrepresentation: An Examination of Interrelated Factors. Muireann Maguire (Exeter): Climbing the Mountain and Crossing the Wall: Translating Politically Sensitive Post-Soviet Women's Literature Şule Akdoğan (Warwick): A Transnational Feminist Engagement with Translation: Contemporary Turkish Women Writers in English Translation Corine Tachtiris (Amherst): Allyship and Intersectional Feminism in Translation Olivia Hellewell (Nottingham): Supply-driven Translation and the Geopolitics of Translating Women Pâmela Berton Costa (São Paulo): What Makes a Book Worth Reading? Analysing Paratexts of the Translation of La casa de los espíritus (The House of the Spirits) Monica Manolachi (Bucharest): Contemporary Romanian Women Novelists: From Invisibility to Translation and Self-Translation Mohammad Shafiqul Islam (Shahjalal): Women Writers of Bengali Literature: Transcending Borders through Translation Leticia de la Paz (Almería) and María Ayete (Salamanca): Political Literature and the Need for Translation: Ideology and Power in Sara Mesa’s Narrative
'Encounters': Katja Petrowskaja and Shelley Frisch
30 May 2019 | Venue: ILCS, Senate House
Author and translator came together in this Encounter to discuss Shelley Frisch's translation of Katja Petrowskaja's bestseller Vielleicht Esther (2014), a singular, haunting, unforgettable work of literature. Maybe Esther tells the moving story of a family's entanglement with 20th-century history, one with which Petrowskaja's own family is inextricably involved. Her great-uncle, who in 1932 shot a German diplomat in Moscow, was sentenced to death; her Ukrainian grandfather disappeared during World War II only to reappear 40 years later; her great-grandmother, who may have been the 'Esther' of the title, was too old and frail to leave Kiev when the Jews there were rounded up. Petrowskaja takes the reader from Berlin to Warsaw, Moscow and Kiev, from Google searches, strange encounters and coincidences to archives, anecdotes and jokes, in a journey in search of her own place in the past and present, in memory and history, languages and countries.
Katja Petrowskaja was born in 1970 in Kiev. She studied at the University of Tartu, Estonia, and was also awarded research fellowships for Columbia University (New York) and Stanford (California). She received her PhD in Moscow. Since 1999, she has lived and worked in Berlin. Vielleicht Esther is her first book, and has been translated into 20 languages. Among the prizes and awards she has received are the Premio Strega Europeo (2015), the Ernst-Toller-Preis (2014), the »aspekte«-Literaturpreis (2014), and the Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis (2013).
Born in 1952, Shelley Frisch was awarded a PhD from Princeton University. She has taught at the Universities of Bucknell and Columbia, and Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges where she was Chair of the German Department. She turned to full-time translating in the 1990s and is now best known for her translations of biographies, most notably of Kafka (2016), Nietzsche (2002), Einstein (2005), Leonardo da Vinci (2010), and Marlene Dietrich and Leni Riefenstahl (2015). She has won the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize (2014), the Aldo and Jeanne Scalgione Prize (2005-6), and was long-listed for the PEN Translation Prize, the National Book Critics Circles Awards, and the National Translation Award.
Across Languages. Translingualism in Contemporary Women's Writing
30-31 May 2019 | Venue: ILCS, University of London
This two-day conference was held under the auspices of the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing (CCWW) and the AHRC Open World Research Initiative project ‘Cross-Language Dynamics’ (Translingual Strand). Combining these two areas of research, the event brought together scholars working on translingual women’s writing in a range of language fields to explore the particular richness of texts produced by writers in languages that are not their mother tongues. We examined the work of translingual authors operating between a variety of languages: Japanese and German, English and Creole, Somali and Italian, Amazigh and Catalan and many, many more. Fascinatingly, the issues raised by these texts are similar, whatever the language field, and here is a glimpse of some of the main topics discussed:
Where static concepts of belonging are questioned and increasingly replaced by hybrid identities and affiliations and by fluid attachments, changing with time, the power of translingual language use and its analysis can become a means to reimagine the identitarian force of language, it can bring to the fore new subjectivities and new forms of community. Considered in conjunction with questions of gender and power, translingual writing can also reveal powerful ways of conceptualizing emancipatory feminine writing. Beyond concerns of identity formation, furthermore, translingual language use opens up new ways of thinking and of deconstructing established modes of expression through associative cross-language connections. In so transcending the binaries of language use it is apt to reveal new forms of literary writing.
The conference included an author/translator conversation between Katja Petrowskaja and her translator, Shelley Frisch. Both Katja and Shelley have won several prizes for their work on Vielleicht Esther/Maybe Esther, and only last month, Maybe Esther was shortlisted for the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize, which celebrates the best books about the Russian-speaking world.
Godela Weiss-Sussex (ILCS): Introduction: Translingual Writing - Concepts and Parameters Anna-Louise Milne (ULIP):Metropolitain.e: Language in Compressed Spaces Alain Ausoni (Lausanne): A Translingual Charge Against the Language of French Literature: Katalin Molnár 'an fransè' Áine McMurtry (KCL): Translingual ‘Annaloge’ in Uljana Wolf’s Meine schönste Lengevitch (2013) Claudia Zucca (Trinity College Dublin): Amelia Rosselli’s Diario in Tre Lingue/A Diary in Three Languages: a Translingual Approach Aled Rees (Swansea): ‘Miss America is losing her Spanish’: Bilingualism, Biculturalism and Belonging in Julia Alvarez’s How the García Girls Lost Their Accents Ellen Jones (IMLR): Queer Linguistic Trajectories in Erín Moure’s Paraguayan Sea Edith Frampton (San Diego): Healing Betweens: The Hybrid Jamaican Riffs of Erna Brodber’s Myal Alice Loda (Sydney): Translingualism and Transhumanism: Linguistic Distance and Transformation in Barbara Pumhösel’s Exophonic Writing Kasia Szymanska (Oxford): ‘Our Little Border Traffic’: Uljana Wolf’s German-Polish Poetry Brigitte Rath (Innsbruck): Erasing Expectations: Transforming Female Authorship Christine Ivanovic (Vienna): Translingual Meets Translational Writing: the Next Generation Mary Wardle (Sapienza, Rome):Rejecting the (Step)Mother Tongue: Jhumpa Lahiri’s Translingual Journey Mark D. Lee (Mount Allison, Canada): ‘The illusion of invisibility’: Appanah & Sinha Writing in French Núria Codina (Louvain): Multilingualism and Gender in the Writings of Najat El Hachmi and Chika Unigwe Jeannine Woods (Galway): Folkloric Refigurings in Éilís Ní Dhuibhne’s Dún na mBan trí Thine [The Women’s Fairy Fort on Fire] Marko Pajević (Tartu): Adventures of Language: Yoko Tawada’s Exophonic Explorations of German Beata Migut (Edinburgh): Yoko Tawada’s The Bath Between Languages and Images. Lauren Dooley (Cambridge): Translingualism and the Translation of the Feminine Self in the Works of Yoko Tawada Katharina Walter (Innsbruck): Yoko Tawada: Creator of European Ideograms? Deirdre Byrnes (Galway): ‘Wünschelrute Deutsch’: Negotiating Identity Across and Beyond Languages in Katja Petrowskaja’s Vielleicht Esther Gigliola Sulis (Leeds): Multilingual, Translingual and Transnational Female Lives in Two Novels on the Italian Migration to Argentina Jean Andrews (Nottingham): Maria Valupi: Forgotten in Three Languages Rebecca Walkowitz (Rutgers, NJ): Lahiri, Tawada, and the New Migrant Novel Tom Vanassche (Freiburg/Br.): No Bridging the Distance: Destabilising Reference in Ruth Klüger’s weiter leben and Landscapes of Memory Agata Lagiewka (Galway): What Language Do I Dream In? Finding a Home and Language in Exile Eglė Kačkutė (Vilnius): Nancy Huston: Translingual Mother, Bilingual Writer Anna Saroldi (Oxford):Cinematic Strategy as a Form of Unbelonging in the Trilingual Poetry of Jorie Graham and Amelia Rossell Dobrochna Futro (Glasgow):Translanguaging Art. Across Languages and Across Modes in Monika Szydłowska’s Do You Miss Your Country? Youna Kwak (Pomona College, CA): The Third Language: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee, Between Native and New Nafiseh Mousavi (Växjö): The Self, the Word and the Image: Intermingled Performance of Autobiographicality, Translingualism and Intermediality in Marjane Satrapi’s Graphic Novel
Women and Power in French and Francophone Society and Culture
17-19 May 2019 | Venue: Hinsley Hall Pastoral Centre, Leeds
This three-day, interdisciplinary event, the 15th biennial Women in French (WiF) UK conference, ran from 17 to19 May 2019 and was hosted by Hinsley Hall Pastoral Centre in Headingly. It received generous support from the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing (IMLR), Newcastle University, the Society for French Studies, the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France, and publishers Peter Lang and Liverpool University Press who contributed a sum towards bursaries for postgraduate and ECR colleagues. It brought together almost 70 delegates from France, Spain, the USA, Canada and the UK in order to explore the recent events in France (and beyond) which have brought the question of women’s power high on the agenda across a range of public forums. The conference asked what constitutes ‘power’, where power lies and how power is gendered, arguing that such questions require new investigation and theorizing. There were 47 papers ranging across cultures and historical periods and grouped into panels including ‘Women and Power in the Business World’; ‘Women, Power and Institutions’; ‘Sex and Power from 1968 to #MeToo’; ‘Mothering Differently: Non-Mothers and Empowerment’; ‘Mythologies of Gender and Power’, and ‘(Dis)empowerment, Intersectionality and the Body’. Keynote speakers, both prize-winning writers, were Iranian-born Chahdortt Djavann, whose paper addressed the question Où se situe le pouvoir au féminin? and Armelle Le Bras-Chopard, whose paper was entitled Hantise masculine du pouvoir des femmes et procès des sorcières. The conference included the traditional trip to Ilkley Moor where delegates enjoyed walking and talking under a brooding sky, and a very well attended creative writing workshop organised and run by French writer Lou Sarabadzic. The programme incorporated tributes to recently deceased filmmaker Agnès Varda, including a dedicated panel and screening of her last but one documentary film, Visages Villages. Delegates also paused at the Society for French Studies Conference Reception to remember sadly missed colleagues Angela Kershaw and Adèle King. Two books were launched which had emerged from previous WiF events and the conference ended with a vibrant planning session as members looked towards the 2021 event. A volume on the theme of Women and Power in French and Francophone Society and Culture and co-edited by Shirley Jordan and Siobhán McIlvanney is under preparation.
Rebecca DeRoo: ‘gnès Varda: Power and Protest in the Film Industry Adina Stroia: Late Age, Late Works: The Power of Reinvention in Agnès Varda’s Documentary Cinema Marie-Claire Barnet: Sans toit ni loi (1985-2019) : Mona, la force d’une femme en marche Plaquevent: Women, power and sexuality: the gender dynamics of discussions on the sexual revolution in the sixtie Sandra Dararoczi: Monique Wittig’s Les Guérillères at 50: Echoes with #MeToo Bronwyn Winter: From DSK to #metoo/#balancetonporc: Sexual violence, feminism, media and politics Louise Gay: An Example of Queenship in France: Power and Historiography of Capetian Queens Laurèine Gervas: Anne d’Autriche dans les Mémoires de Françoise de Motteville un tempérament politique entravé Isabelle Marc: Je ne veux pas qu’on m’explique ce que je peux faire»: la volonté de puissance chez Virginie Despentes Lucie Bertrand-Luthereau: Le pouvoir féminin dans l'œuvre de Virginie Despentes Tessa Nunn: Candice Renoir: A Mother on the Crime Scene Andrea Jonsson: Power in Black and White and Red: the Graphic Feminisms of Liv Strömquist and Marjane Satrapi in France Susan Ireland: Gendered Power Dynamics in Nancy Huston’s Le Club des miracles relatifs Sonja Stojanovic: Negotiating Positions of Power in the Corporate World Valentina Denzel: Blue beard’s adaptation in feminist discourse: A power struggle of life and death Carole Edwards: Les femmes dans la mythologie de Laurent Gaudé Raquelle K. Bostow: Marlène as Medusa in Nina Bouraoui’s Standard Caroline Verdier: Corps, silence et pouvoir chez Nicole Malinconi Rebecca Rosenberg: Pathographies and Power: Narrating Anxiety in Panique (2014) by Lydia Flem and Le nénuphar et l’araignée (2015) by Claire Legendre Stephanie Schechner: Women in French and Power: Rights and Responsibilities in an Age of Contingent Labor Maggie Allison: Du pouvoir de la voix à la voie au pouvoir des femmes en France. (Du refrain de Barbara à la rengaine de Marine) Emilie Oleron-Evans: Matrimoine ou le pouvoir des femmes au musée Michèle A Schaal: Qui détient le pouvoir? Identité de genre et domination dans deux pièces de théâtre de Claire Legendre Dawn Cornelio: Des pouvoirs et impuissances de l’autofiction chez Claire Legendre Adrienne Angelo: L’autonomie et la création: La vengeance (auto)fictionnelle de Claire Legendre Julie Rodgers: Moms Behaving Badly: Exercising Maternal Control Online Ariane Gibeau: Maternité et refus du care dans Une vie nouvelle de Madeleine Pelletier J.D.Cooper: An Exploration of Childlessness and Power in the Work of Fatou Diome Vicki De Vries: Feminist journalism and claims to power under the Code Civil Lina Vale: Nancy Huston’s French Voice Alison Marmont: Embodying spaces: ethnic minority women’s (un)emotional negotiation of power relations in contemporary French literature Elise Hugueny-Léger: Le ‘pouvoir symbolique’, à l’intersection du genre et de la classe sociale: (re)lire L’Événement d’Annie Ernaux Cara L. Wilson: The Roots of (Dis)Empowerment: Black Women’s Hairstories in the films Bande de filles and Mariannes Noires Emna Mrabet: Corps féminins et prise de pouvoir chez les cinéastes tunisiennes Raja Amari et Kaouther Ben Hnia Armelle Le Bras-Chopard: Hantise du pouvoir des femmes et procès des sorcières Noëlle Brown: The Power of a Myth: The False Demarginalization of Marie Bashkirtseff Diane Galbaud: Lucie Chevalley-Sabatier, entre conformisme apparent et audace personnelle Mélanie Fabre: Conquérir le droit à la parole: Louise Renard, femme et militante de la Belle Époque Poly Galis: Nelly Arcan’s Corps and Corpus Maria Tomlinson: The Violated and Powerless Female Body in Niger: Representations of FGM and HIV in Adelle Barry’s short story collection En Attendant Minuit (2015) Antonia Wimbush: Le sperme des hommes ici est nocif’: Sexual Exploitation of Women in Théo Ananissoh’s Delikatessen (2017) Miruna Craciunescu: Lorsque l’image se fait chair. L’identité relationnelle des femmes artistes dans La Tintoretta de Michèle Teysseyre (2011) et L’enragé de Dominique Rolin (1978) Pauline Henry-Tierney: Girl Power: Adolescent Sexual Subversion and Domination in Contemporary French Fiction Rachael Stockdale: An Alternative Narrative of Queer Women of the fin de siècle Cécilia Francis: Figurations de la moudjahidate: l’agentivité au féminin en contexte de décolonisation algérienne Mildred Mortimer: The Memoirs of Militants of the Algerian War (1954-1962) : Zohra Drif and Evelyne Safir Lavalette Jacqueline Couti: Chercher la femme: 20th and 21st (Re)writing of Women’s participation in the 1870 Insurrection of the South of Martinique Mary McCullough: Negotiating Domesticity: Women, Power and Knitting in French Texts on World War II
‘Damals, dann und danach’. Symposium in Honour of the 70th Birthday of Barbara Honigmann
25 February 2019 | Venue: ILCS, University of London
The symposium was organised as an academic assessment, but also as a celebration of Barbara Honigmann’s writing. The texts discussed on the day ranged from her earliest to her latest published, covering a multitude of aspects of Honigmann’s work, and considering her as one of the best-known Jewish authors writing in German, but also as an indispensable part of the canon of writers who grew up in the GDR and left that country before its demise. The perspective she brings to both themes is distinctively, but not stridently, feminine. At the time of her birthday she will have been living and writing for 35 years in Strasbourg, so her work is of central importance for all those working in diasporic literature. Because she draws extensively on her own experience in her writing, her work is a rich source for thinking about autobiography and autofiction. A major theme of her work is concerned with the extraordinary lives and personalities of her parents, and the event was fittingly rounded off with a reading by Barbara Honigmann of extracts from her latest book, Georg, which follows the life of her father. Following the reading, Honigmann discussed issues of translation with her translator Judith Köhler.
Papers presented Martin Brady (London): ‘Das kann und darf nicht wahr sein’: Barbara Honigmann’s Stage Adaptation of Das singende springende Löweneckerchen Rapha Hoffmann (Leipzig): Signed out of the GDR. Die jüdische Perspektive in Roman von einem Kinde Margaret May (London): ‘Die banalen Wörter “aus nichts”’: Exploring the Sophisticated Simplicity of Barbara Honigmann’s Narrative Style Malte Osterloh (Private Scholar): Erinnerung als Erlösung. Autobiographie und Heilserwartung im Werk Barbara Honigmanns Withold Bonner (Tampere): ‘Vielleicht ist es mein Großvater. Vielleicht auch nicht.‘ Fotografien und Postmemory in Texten von Barbara Honigmann Reinhard Zachau (Sewanee, TN): Barbara Honigmann’s German-Jewish Project Lauren Hansen (Florida): Migration as Textual Strategy in Barbara Honigmann’s Eine Liebe aus nichts Robert Gillett (London): 'Très affectueusement': Letters and Letter-Writing in the Work of Barbara Honigmann Godela Weiss-Sussex (London), Space, Time and Language in Das überirdische Licht Katja Garloff (Portland, OR): On Diasporic Place-Making: Barbara Honigmann’s Chronik meiner Straße Tarek Mahmoudi (Berlin): Rue Edel, 67000 Strasbourg: Akkulturation im Mikrokosmos einer Straße Derek Wiebke (Seattle): (Dis)Locating Minor Literature in Barbara Honigmann’s Chronik meiner Straße.
30 November 2018 | Venue: ILCS, University of London
This symposium was part of the recent shift away from ideas of ‘national’ literatures and the heightened interest on the part of leading scholars in the ‘global turn’ and in the transnational encounters, border crossings and migrations that influence literary creation. The event was a collaboration between the CCWW and the French Department of the University of Cardiff which hosted the 2018-19 Society for French Studies International Visiting Fellow, Dr Natalie Edwards (University of Adelaide). One of several events that took place during Dr Edwards’s stay in the UK, it focused on her current intellectual interests, and was designed to encourage the participation of early career as well as established scholars in the field, to foster their engagement with current research on bilingualism in contemporary women’s writing. It interrogated life writing by bilingual women authors from a wide variety of standpoints and generated rich debate on the elastic idea, and the politics of translation. Delegates discussed how bilingual writers choose the language in which they write, how their bilingualism affects their writing and how this writing challenges paradigms in literary studies. The event concluded with a round-table discussion on extracts demonstrating strategic use of bilingualism from Lydie Salvayre’s Goncourt-winning novel Pas pleurer. Finally, Antonia Wimbush (Birmingham) and Ashwiny Kistnareddy (Cambridge) summed up the key points emerging during the proceedings and gave their thoughts as to future research directions. The symposium was generously supported by the Cassal Trust Fund
Papers presented Antonia Wimbush (Birmingham): Gisèle Pineau: A Transnational, Translingual Writer? Christopher Hogarth (South Australia): ‘Causer des migraines à Léopold Sédar Senghor?’ The use of African languages in Fatou Diome’s prose Natalie Edwards (Adelaide): Bilingual Life Writing by Maryse Condé Fiona Cox (Exeter): Translation, Creativity and Grief in the work of Josephine Balmer Julia Waters (Reading): Ananda Devi and Self-Translation Julie Rodgers (Maynooth): Ying Chen and the linguistic ‘entre-deux’ Nicole Fayard (Leicester): Translating Words into Action: The Suggestive Power of Language in Marie Nimier’s L’Hypnotisme à la portée de tous Sandra Daroczi (Bath): Autobiographical projections in Julia Kristeva’s fiction
LGBT and Parenting: an Emerging Theme
19 October 2018 | Venue: ILCS, University of London
The focus of this seminar was on representations of LGBT families across a range of female-authored works, including Irish poetry, children’s literature in France and Austria, and contemporary French and Italian women’s fiction. Its speakers included a poet and a novelist who have sought to express their own experiences of lesbian parenting in literary form. The keynote speaker, Myriem Blanc, is the author of a ground-breaking non-fiction novel about her own experience of bringing up children with her wife in the south of France. The seminar was rich, broad-ranging and cohesive, allowing for in-depth discussion between participants and other attendees, and will have an impact as an intellectual, social and networking opportunity, givimg impetus to an emerging theme in contemporary women’s writing still in its infancy. The event was generously supported by the Cassal Trust. A publication (an edited special issue of a journal or an edited volume) is expected to arise from the seminar.
Papers presented Elizabeth Quirke (Galway): Beyond ‘the Transgressor Mother’: Situating Non-Biological Lesbian Motherhood within Irish Poetry Georg Huemer (Sorbonne): LGBT+ Parenting in Contemporary Austrian Children’s and Youth Literature Robert Payne (Haute-Alsace): ‘Not All Families Are the Same’: Same-Sex Parenting in Children’s Literature in France Myriam Blanc (author): The Women Had Lots of Children: The Story of a Same-Sex-Parent Family: Testimony or 'Non-Fictional Novel'? Jasmine Cooper (Cambridge): An Exploration of Queer Childlessness in Contemporary French Women’s Writing Charlotte Ross (Birmingham): Melancholy and Mourning: Italian Literary Representations of LGBTQ Parenting
Women in Transition – Crossing Borders, Crossing Boundaries
20-22 September 2018 | Venues: King's College London / St Peter's College, Oxford | Organisers: Maria-José Blanco and Claire Williams
The conference took place firstly at King’s College London, and then at St Peter’s College, Oxford, with academics, artists and professionals from various different sectors coming together from all over the world to discuss and reflect on the immensely broad and varied notion of transition, and, more specifically, how this is and has been experienced by women. This event brought together scholars and students of literature as well as writers and colleagues from the social sciences (sociologists, psychotherapists and clinicians). The thematic focus on 'transition' in women’s lives included the presentation of research on how women have crossed biological, geopolitical, political borders as well as emotional, sexual, cultural and linguistic boundaries. Established writers, filmmakers and artists from several different countries added very valuable discussions of the practice of representing one’s own life, and the transitions one has gone through. 26 academic papers were interspersed with a film screening by Catalan film-maker Mònica Rovira, an interactive performance piece by the Istanbul Queer Art Collective, the inauguration of a temporary exhibition (Representatives) showing work by London-based Brazilian women artists, readings and conversations with Spanish author Marta Sanz and English author Joanna Walsh, and the launch of a collection of short-stories by contemporary Portuguese women writers, translated into English by Margaret Jull Costa. The transitions explored ranged from the corporeal and psychological – puberty and the menopause, motherhood, confrontations with pain and health diagnoses – to geographical, cultural and linguistic dislocations, as well as sexual, romantic and relational transitions, and also an exploration of the frontiers between various different art-forms and genres. With the conference’s rich and powerful theme serving as a description of not only its academic focus but also many of its participants’ own identities as women in transition (between countries, languages, life-stages, professional quarters, etc), the atmosphere which developed across the course of the three days was one of refreshingly open and engaged dialogue, in which the personal and professional came together to academically and artistically fruitful, thought-provoking and greatly enjoyable effect. It remains to be seen whether the meeting of frontiers – between different institutions, disciplines and fields of study at this conference will prompt further interaction and future collaborations – an extension of the conference’s own temporal and spatial limits such as this deeply creative and constructive event deserves.
In 2017 the CCWW launched a new initiative: a series of seminars dedicated to studying female-authored graphic novels, beginning with a focus on the French bande dessinée. Since the mid-1990s, female artists have become an increasingly visible presence in the French-language graphic novel, an art form with which women were previously rarely associated, yet research concerning the work of Francophone female graphic novelists, whilst slowly increasing, remains sparse. The primary goal of these seminars was therefore to contribute to the development of research into this socially, culturally and aesthetically significant area. Two seminars were held in the academic year 2017-18, one in London and one in Paris, each exploring the work of a prominent creator who was present to discuss her work with the audience. Both events were generously supported by the Cassal Trust Fund. The seminars are expected to contribute to a publication advancing the understanding of Francophone bandes dessinées written by women.
Dominique Goblet on her Graphic Novels
27 October 2017 | Venue: ILCS, Senate House, London.
At this seminar Belgian graphic novelist Dominique Goblet spoke about her œuvre, including the recent translation of her bande dessinéeFaire semblant, c’est mentir into English. The presentation was followed by discussion on the specifics of this text and on female-authored graphic novels more generally.
Johanna Achipper on her Graphic Novels
23 March 2018 | Venue: ULIP
Johanna Schipper, a Dutch-born artist who writes in French, spoke about her œuvre. Schipper was the first recipient of the Prix Artémisia, an award created to honour the best female-created bande dessinée published each year. She discussed her work as a female artist in the French industry (publicly accused of ingrained sexism in 2016 following the lack of inclusion of any female artists on the shortlist for the Grand Prix at the Angoulême festival) and as an artist (and sometimes translator) of bandes dessinées writing in her second language. The seminar attracted a diverse audience, including participants familiar with the French bande dessinée industry and those interested in questions of language and bilingualism. This event forms part of the University of London’s year-long celebrations, Leading Women, marking 150 years since the first female students were admitted into higher education in the UK.
Disorderly Eating: Food and Disruption in Contemporary Women's Writing
Symposium | 1 December 2017 | Venue: ILCS, University of London | Organiser: Shirley Jordan
This cross-cultural symposium explored some of the increasingly disturbing ways in which contemporary women’s writing, both fictional and non-fictional, turns its attention to our relationship with food. In recent years an increasing number of fictional and autobiographical works by women have grappled with the difficult subject of eating disorders, especially anorexia nervosa, and there is a growing body of scholarship in this area. This event set out to expand the focus on disorderly eating, to look not only at, but also beyond clinically-diagnosable cases and to investigate the wider spectrum of other accounts of disorder that are elaborated in a range of contemporary women’s writing through a focus on food. The event concluded with a round table and discussion about future research directions. The event was generously supported by the Cassal Trust Fund. A co-edited special issue with critical introduction and additional articles has been submitted for publication in a leading Modern Languages journal.
Papers presented Ruth Cruickshank (RHUL): Who’s Messed Up? From Ernaux’s Disordered Eating to Feminist Approaches to Food in Late-capitalist France Sandra Daroczi (Exeter): Food and Societal (Dis)Order in Darrieussecq’s Works Abigail Lee Six (RHUL): Predatory Consumption in Gema del Prado Marugán, Comer con los ojos (2016) Judith Still (Nottingham): The Solitary Pleasure of a Mère de famille OR Disorderly Eating in Marie NDiaye’s ‘La Gourmandise’ Heike Bartel (Nottingham): Re-assessing Gender through Writing about Male Eating Disorders
A New Language - A New Life? Translingual Literature by Contemporary Women Writers
Symposium | 1 March 2018 | ILCS, University of London | Organiser: Godela Weiss-Sussex
This symposium brought together scholars working on translingual women’s writing in the language fields of Italian, French and German and explored the particular richness of texts produced by writers in languages that are not their mother tongues. It was conceived as a springboard for a larger international conference on women’s translingual writing, planned for 2019, and was organised by the CCWW as part of the AHRC-funded Open World Research Initiative project ‘Cross-Language Dynamics - Reshaping Communities’, and generously supported by the Cassal Trust Fund.
Papers presented Anne Fleig (FU Berlin): New Language and Female Voice – Heteroglossia in the Writings of Emine Sevgi Özdamar and Yoko Tawada Mary Gallagher (University College Dublin): Nancy Huston on Othering the Mother-Tongue Maria Cristina Seccia (Hull): Translingualism as Reparation in Shirin Ramzanali Fazel’s Nuvole sull’Equatore Godela Weiss-Sussex (IMLR, London): Translingual Creativity and Belonging in Katja Petrowskaja’s Vielleicht Esther (2014) Anna-Louise Milne (ULIP): Plural Subjectivities, or 'Writing With'
Contemporary Jewish Women's Writing in Germany and Austria - A 'Minor' Literature?
Workshop | 27 April 2018 | ILCS, University of London |Organisers: Maria Roca Lizarazu and Godela Weiss-Sussex
This workshop explored whether the label and concept of a ‘minor’ literature (Deleuze/Guattari, 1975) can be usefully applied when examining contemporary Jewish women’s writing in Germany and Austria. As women, Jewesses and migrants, many of these writers belong to a whole range of minority groups, while also being firmly embedded in the literary market, as the success and public visibility of Funk, Grjasnowa, Gorelik or Petrowskaja demonstrates. Questions raised included: What – if anything – makes their writing ‘minor’? How can we conceptualise the relationship between being ‘minor’/writing ‘minor’ literature and contributing to the mainstream? How do these writers negotiate the various and intersecting components of their identities? And how does their writing contribute to and re-calibrate our understanding of German-and Austrian-Jewish literature more generally? The workshop concluded with a reading by the Berlin author Mirna Funk. Publication in preparation.
Papers presented Anita Bunyan (Cambridge): Minor, Mainstream or Situational? The Narratives of Eva Menasse Myrto Aspioti (Oxford): The Identity Politics of Uncertainty: Eva Menasse’s Quasikristalle Paul Hoehn (Berkeley): Katja Petrowskaja and the Labour of Kinship Maria Roca Lizarazu (Warwick/IMLR): Between Minority and the Mainstream – Constructions of Jewishness in the Contemporary German Media Landscape Mirna Funk (Berlin): Autobiografie als Schlüssel zu einer Geschichte über die Welt Lena Ekelund (Independent Researcher): Daughter’s Voices: Translation, Genealogy and Intertextual Networks as Techniques of Transmission Kerstin Steitz (Virginia): Aesthetic and Literary Traditions in Mirna Funk’s Winternähe Annette Bühler-Dietrich (Stuttgart/Ouagadougou): ‘Hast du nicht alle zu Hause’ – Sprache und Gleichgewicht in Katja Petrowskaja’s Vielleicht Esther
Symposium | 18 May 2018 | Venue: ILCS, University of London | Organiser: Jean Conacher
The world of science, traditionally dominated by men, has proven a fruitful domain for women writers. In exploring the work of a range of contemporary women writers from different cultural contexts who engage with science, this symposium engendered discussion around topics such as the portrayal of women scientists (woman as scientist/scientist as woman); literary engagement with scientific themes; Creativity in science and fiction inter-relations and mutual gains; commonalities between specific sciences and literary fiction; and the scientific lens and its impact on writing fiction (genre, narrative choices). Through the encounter with practitioners (novelist and creative writing teacher Aifric Campbell and science student Anita Chandran), the symposium facilitated a lively dialogue between academic consideration of the topic and the exploration of possibilities of mutual enrichment.
Papers presented Benjamin Dalton (KCL): Forms of Freedoms: The Plasticities of Catherine Malabou and Marie Darrieussecq Sonja Stojanovic (Nôtre Dame): Bodies in Conflict in Élisabeth Filhol’s La Centrale [The Nuclear Power Plant] Aifric Campbell and Anita Chandran (Imperial,London): Creative Writing and Scientific Identity Jean E. Conacher (Limerick/CCWW): Processes of Recovery in Helga Königsdorf’s Respektloser Umgang [Fission] Emily Jeremiah (RHUL): Transpositions: Ulrike Draesner's Aesthetics of Encounter Karen Leeder (Oxford): Twin Spin: The Role of Science in Ulrike Draesner’s Poetry