Political Activism, Archives, and Modernist Women Writers
Research Papers followed by Archives Showcase by the Working-Class Movement Library, Salford
Recent years have seen renewed interest in the political activism and social commitments of modernists, with a particular focus on writers of the interwar period. Harnessing the potential of this organizational turn in modernist studies,twin-strand session, including a panel of research papers and an archive showcase, will put the spotlight on women writers and activists.
The leftist political activism and social commitments of interwar women writers were extensive and varied. Winifred Holtby was a member of the Six Point Group and Independent Labour Party, Sylvia Townsend Warner was a committed communist and a Red Cross volunteer in Spain during the Civil War, Naomi Mitchison was a committed socialist and stood as a Labour Party candidate, Storm Jameson was co-founder of the Peace Pledge Union and a Labour Party activist, and MP Ellen Wilkinson wrote two popular novels during the course of her political career. The research panel will include 15 minute academic papers considering the way these women writers and activists responded to their social and political contexts and wrote their own commitments into their fiction and non-fiction texts in a range of, often unexpected, ways.
The archive showcase that follows will include talks from Labour movement archivists and offer the audience an introduction to some of the gems of the Working-Class Movements Library and an opportunity to discuss the role of archival research in English Studies more broadly.