National Literatures and new ‘englishes’: writing from Wales

Chair: Dr Aidan Byrne, University of Wolverhampton

Speakers:

Professor Daniel Williams, Swansea University – ‘English Literature and the Twilight of Britishness’

Professor Kirsti Bohata, Swansea University – ‘Hybrid english’

Dr Tomos Owen, Bangor University – ‘Of an Apocalyptic Tone Recently Adopted in Welsh Writing: Post-Devolution Fiction’

This panel approaches Welsh writing in English – a distinctive strand of Anglophone literature – via four nations, postcolonial and post-devolution perspectives. Welsh writing in English has been productively explored as an example of a ‘postcolonial’ literature which forges a new ‘english’ from its hybrid linguistic and cultural contexts. More recently, scholars have adopted four nations approaches which decentralise England in transhistorical studies of nation building and cultural identities. Meanwhile, critics have identified a flowering of literature in both languages (Welsh and English) in post-devolution Wales, but does the content of this new writing suggest confidence or crisis? This Panel presents three papers which touch on these key areas of research in the study of Anglophone literature from Wales. ‘English Literature and the Twilight of Britishness’ adopts a four nations approach to the question of Britishness. ‘Hybrid English’ traces the influence of the Welsh language on the ‘english’ literature of Wales. The third paper, ‘Of an Apocalyptic Tone Recently Adopted in Welsh Writing’, considers recent post-devolution writing published in both English and Welsh in which the authors appear to be ‘writing on the edge of catastrophe’. The purpose of this panel is to encourage the recognition of plurality and diversity within the Anglophone literatures of a politically shifting Britain.

Organised by the Association for Welsh Writing in English www.awwe.org

Friday 7th July, 11.00