One day symposium at the Faculty of English, University of Cambridge on Wednesday 26th April 2023
Keynote: Dr Kaye Mitchell, Director of the Centre for New Writing, University of Manchester.
Ali Smith is a pre-eminent contemporary Scottish writer whose critical significance is now increasingly matched by her public reputation. Her winning of the 2014 Goldsmith’s Prize and Costa Book Award and the 2015 Women's Prize for How to be Both has meant that her experimental writing has gained a wider readership than ever before. Her recent Seasonal quartet series has been widely acclaimed for its formally innovative and critically insightful account of the present climate, with Summer winning the Orwell Prize in 2021. Smith has risen to public view as an exciting and inventive writer who combines an exploration of critical and creative challenges with ethical and philosophical urgency: addressing current political realities while pushing at the boundaries of experimental writing. Championing both emerging and neglected writers and visual artists – not least through her idiosyncratic prose style – Smith is an influential voice in contemporary British writing.
This symposium, which will be attended by the author herself, intends to explore the critical and creative significance of her body of work. The symposium will lead to the publication of a volume in the Gylphi Contemporary Writers: Critical Essays series. The titles in this series are devoted to contemporary writers whose work is popularly and critically valued, but on whom a significant body of academic criticism has yet to be established. Each of the titles in the series develops out of the best contributions to an international conference; represents the most astute and provocative material in current thinking about the writer’s work; and suggests future avenues of thought, comparison and analysis.
Papers on her entire oeuvre are sought, covering both creative and non-fiction works. We welcome papers that engage with the rise of new critical approaches that have continued to transform and develop alongside Smith’s writing, notably ecocriticism, meta-modernism, intertextuality and connections to visual art, postcriticism, recent queer/trans theory, and refugee/border studies that speak to her work and would enable the planned new collection of essays to reflect the most exciting current modes of critical engagement with her writing.
Abstracts and bios should be emailed to:
Dr Ellie Byrne E.Byrne@mmu.ac.uk Alex Calder firstname.lastname@example.org
Submission date for abstracts: Jan 10th, 2023.