Sunday, 26 July 2015

Recent conference on "Representing the Tudors"

On 10 July 2015 I attended the fascinating conference, "Representing the Tudors", at University of South Wales.  The conference was organised by an international group of Tudor period scholars, Ingibjörg Ágústsdóttir from University of Iceland, and Diana Wallace and Jane Finucane, both from University of South Wales. It was great to see Inga and Diana again - the last time I met them both was at the 'The Marginalised Mainstream' conference at University of London in November 2012.  I also met up with Emily Garside, the co-organiser of the 2014 New Directions in Sherlock conference at UCL, which was really nice.

"Representing the Tudors" coincided with an exhibition of Welsh art at University of South Wales, entitled Engaging with the Past, echoing the theme and focus of the conference, in its diversity of artistic and representational methods and its multifaceted creative exploration of history. It was inspiring to be able to combine the contemplation of artwork with listening to papers. University of South Wales in Treforest was a great venue for the conference - close to Cardiff, and surrounded by lovely views which I was able to enjoy in the afternoon during the tea break outside.

Dr Jerome de Groot from University of Manchester, gave the morning's excellent keynote, entitled 'The discreet sigh of flesh against flesh': affect, materiality and ghostliness‘.   I gave my own paper in the session on 'Tudors in Fiction' later that morning.  My paper was called '“I stand out like a raven”: Female Detection and the Tudor Period in Nancy Bilyeau’s Crime Fiction.' This examination of the contemporary American writer Nancy Bilyeau and her creative engagement with Tudor history in her fiction afforded me a way of thinking about how we re-present this period through present-day literary modes and discourses, and the challenges and opportunities this provides.  Follow the link for more information about Representing the Tudors.

Sadly I wasn't able to stay for the whole two days, but I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience at the conference. I particularly valued the opportunity to engage with Bilyeau's complex and well-constructed historical thrillers, and was pleased to present the work to such a supportive and engaged audience. This paper was the result of recent new research I have undertaken, so I was appreciative of the useful feedback and responses I received at the conference, and I plan to publish the paper in the future! After the conference I came away with newfound interests and inspirations, which I will be pursuing further this summer.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

New article on Irish children's literature in press!

In September the print version of my article on the Irish author Nicola Pierce's children's novel Spirit of the Titanic will be published in the journal Women's Studies: An Inter-disciplinary Journal. The article is entitled "Haunting the Text: Nicola Pierce’s Spirit of the Titanic and Irish Historical Children’s Fiction". My article forms part of the second Special Issue on Irish women's writing in the journal, edited by Brian McCabe. For anyone with an interest in Irish women's writing, I warmly recommend checking out the first Special Issue, which was published earlier this year.  A preview of the entire special issue and all the articles in it can be seen here Women's Studies: An Inter-disciplinary Journal

This article is part of several publications I have produced in recent years on children's literature. I am especially interesting in contemporary Irish and Australian children's/YA literature, particularly with a historical focus as this allows for a discussion of the politics of re-presenting history in postcolonial contexts through imaginative writing.  Working on Nicola Pierce's novel and examining the history surrounding the Titanic was really interesting. This was one of the most enjoyable projects I have worked on for a while, and I am really pleased that my article on this brilliant novel will be appearing in print soon. 

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Call For Papers: "Mothers Without Their Children"

One of my other long-standing academic interests is representations of mothers and maternal perspectives.  I am currently editing a book on that subject with Andrea Robertson of Ryerson University, Canada.  The book is entitled Mothers Without Their Children, and will be published by Demeter Press in 2016.  The book is interdisciplinary in scope, which is intended to encourage a broad range of contributions and perspectives on the subject, and also widen the appeal of the book.  I am looking forward immensely to working with Andrea on this book, on a topic that fascinates and inspires me.  The subject of the book - mothers without their children - is both controversial and poignant. We aim for this book to move beyond stereotypical portrayals of the mother without her child(ren), to examine the complexities of this particular maternal experience.  We have already received an impressive haul of proposals for the book, and are very excited about getting to work on it!  We are still looking for a few more chapters, so we have extended the deadline for submissions of proposals until 1 September 2015.  If you are interested, do submit your proposal by 1 September to