Contemporary Conversations: British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies

Philip LeonardOpera Theatre

‘Contemporary Conversations’ will bring together speakers from various creative and professional contexts to consider how the idea of ‘the contemporary’ is initiating new directions in literary studies and allowing us to rethink the place of writing in the world. Participants in this session will include a writer, an early career academic, a publisher, an established researcher, and a representative from the UNESCO Cities of Literature network. Each will be invited to discuss recent literary developments relating to a range of cultural and social provocations that are now preoccupying many writers, literary studies teachers, students, and researchers, and in the creative industries. These include:

  • contemporary book production
  • contemporary Britain
  • contemporary canons
  • contemporary crises
  • contemporary experimentalisms
  • contemporary futures
  • contemporary inequalities
  • contemporary pasts
  • contemporary technologies
  • contemporary transnationalisms

Shaping this conversation will be a consideration of how we might critically examine the ideas of ‘here’ and ‘now’ that are implied by ‘the contemporary’. Discussion will take in questions relating to chronology and periodization (when does ‘the contemporary’ emerge? When will it end?) and space, place, and geography (is ‘the contemporary’ experienced across regions and territories? Is there a global present?), as well as disconnection and anachronism (is detachment from ‘the contemporary’ essential to understanding it?). Throughout, speakers will consider recent literary developments, writers, and texts that raise – and sometimes seek to answer – these questions.


LEARNED SOCIETIES STRAND: British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies

Fri 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm