The Society for the Study of the Short Story invites proposals for its 15th conference to take place in Lisbon, 27-30 June 2018. The conference theme is “Beyond History: The Radiance of the Short Story”. The full cfp and further information can be found on the conference website.
ENSFR is pleased to be involved as collaborating organisation in the conference “The American Short Story: New Horizons”, the second annual conference of the Society for the Study of the American Short Story, organised by Oliver Scheiding at the University of Mainz. Plenary speakers are Lorraine López (Vanderbilt University) and Kasia Boddy (University of Cambridge). The full programme can be found here.
Proposals are invited for a conference dedicated to the novels and short stories of British writer, Sarah Hall. The conference will be attended by Sarah Hall herself and papers delivered at the conference will be considered for inclusion in an edited collection to be published in Gylphi’s ‘Contemporary Writers’ series. The conference is hosted by the University of Leuven and being organised by Elke D’hoker (KU Leuven, Belgium) and Alexander Beaumont (York St John University, UK). It will take place at the Leuven Irish college (http://www.leuveninstitute.eu/). Please send a 300-word abstract for a 20-min paper, along with a 100-word biographical note, to Elke D’hoker (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Alexander Beaumont (email@example.com) by Friday 19th January 2018.
Sarah Hall published her first novel, Haweswater, in 2002. Since then she has developed into one of the UK’s most protean and quietly acclaimed writers, producing poetry, short fiction and novels in a wide range of genres which are nonetheless bound together by a common style and a common set of preoccupations: wild(er)ness, female sexuality and the deep connection between language, landscape and the body.
Hall’s novels have been nominated for the Booker prize on three occasions and have won a host of other awards; in 2013 she won the BBC National Short Story Award for ‘Mrs Fox’. Her work is regularly reviewed in the British and American press, and, following the publication of The Wolf Border in 2015, has in recent years enjoyed a significant increase in exposure. Yet little scholarly material on Hall’s writing exists, despite its relevance to ongoing concerns within contemporary literary and cultural studies. The complicated legacies of Romanticism; ecocriticism and rewilding; rural poverty and the invisibility of non-metropolitan spaces; social breakdown and the endless reconstitution of political power; the dissolution, renovation and survival of gender norms; the reinvention of subjectivity and the scriptable nature of the body – all are significant preoccupations of the field and features of Hall’s rapidly evolving body of writing.
Topics for papers might include, but are not limited to:
- Romanticism and the ‘post-Romantic’
- The country and the city: agriculture, land ownership and rural labour
- Wilderness and borderlands
- The representation of ‘the North’
- Desire, the body and sexual agency
- Language and poetics
- Art, ekphrasis and aesthetics
- The mixed genres and modes of Hall’s work (pastoral, Gothic, dystopia etc)
- The intertextual dimension of Hall’s writing
- Hall’s relationship with the ‘new nature writing’
- The aesthetics, politics and economics of the short story
The fourth ENSFR conference will take place in Lille, France. Proposals are invited (in French or English) that explore the relation between short fiction and desire across different periods and genres, including flash fiction, the novella and short story cycles. As a concentrated and intense form of prose writing, short fiction lends itself very well to representations of desire. As Sarah Hall says, “The form is very good at unzipping the mind’s fly.” Think of Katherine Mansfield’s “Bliss” (1918): “For the first time in her life Bertha Young desired her husband;”or of J. G. Ballard’s “The Subliminal Man” (1963), where hypnotic techniques of advertising turn the desire for consumer items into an irresistible compulsion. The short story form itself may be driven by desire as a structuring principle, the desire for instance of the reader to explore its gaps and mysteries. In Towards the End (1985), for instance, John Gerlach suggests that closure may be an object of desire. Several critics have analysed desire and its objects in the novel. Peter Brooks speaks of “a dynamics of desire animating narrative and the construal of its meanings”, René Girard’s concept of “mimetic desire” suggests that a human instinct for imitation is what drives people. Do these ideas also apply to the short story or do desire and the short story interact in a different way?Literature, religion and art began with objects of desire and have never abandoned the theme. From Helen of Troy and the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden via Novalis’s blue flower to the throne of Westeros, numerous examples spring immediately to mind, and if the ten commandments tell people not to covet anything that belongs to their neighbours, this surely implies that they are highly likely to do just that.
Although we expect most proposals to be individual, panel proposals of three closely related papers will also be considered. Proposals (250-300 words) should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by 15th December 2017.