Ted Hughes: Dreams as Deep as England – Conference 9-12 Sept 2015

Ted Hughes: Dreams as Deep as England 

An International Conference at the University of Sheffield, 9-12 September 2015

Call for Papers: Reminder and Extension of Deadline

The University of Sheffield’s School of English has been the most productive centre of research on Ted Hughes since the 1970s, led by Neil Roberts, and more recently home to a thriving creative writing programme under the guidance of Simon Armitage. In 1990 the University awarded Hughes an honorary D.Litt. The School is proud to host the seventh International Conference on the former Poet Laureate. Hughes’s reputation has fluctuated in that period, but now stands higher than it ever did.

Hughes’s family home from the age of eight to twenty-one was the South Yorkshire mining town of Mexborough, fifteen miles from Sheffield. In the surrounding countryside he recreated the natural ‘paradise’ that he had enjoyed as a small boy on the hills above Mytholmroyd. Here is the pond celebrated in ‘Pike’, here he encountered the horse that stalks the narrator of ‘The Rain Horse’, saw his first live wild fox and heard the legend of the knight and wildcat in nearby Barnborough commemorated in ‘Esther’s Tomcat’. At Mexborough Grammar School he met the inspirational teachers Pauline Mayne and John Fisher, and his first poems were published in the school’s magazine, Don and Dearne. South Yorkshire is where Hughes became a poet.

The conference will be based at Halifax Hall, formerly home of the Victorian industrialist, philanthropist and Lord Mayor of Sheffield Sir Joseph Jonas, later a University hall of residence, now a hotel and conference centre close to the city’s recently restored Botanical Gardens.

The conference will feature a reading by Simon Armitage, a keynote lecture by Professor Seamus Perry and a conversation  with Jonathan Bate about his biography of Hughes. On the Saturday there will be a tour of Hughes’s South Yorkshire led by Steve Ely, author of the forthcoming book, Made in Mexborough: Ted Hughes’s South Yorkshire. We also plan to arrange a poetry reading by delegates.

Please send proposals for twenty-minute papers and brief biographical details to Neil Roberts at n.j.roberts@sheffield.ac.uk, by 30 November 2014. To be considered, proposals must be strictly no more than 300 words. Proposals for themed panels of three speakers will also be considered. Although the title refers to England specifically, all approaches are welcome. Here are some suggestions:

Hughes and Yorkshire (South and/or West)
Hughes and the Environment
Hughes and Religion
Hughes and Other Writers
Hughes as Playwright
Hughes’s Current Influence
Hughes as Writer for Children
Hughes and Feminism
Hughes as Translator
Hughes and Esoteric Knowledge
Hughes’s Prose
Hughes as Laureate
Hughes and War
The Hughes Archives

Anyone with an interest in Hughes is also very welcome to attend without offering a paper.

Please visit the conference website at http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/english/tedhughes.

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