Action Writing – 3rd July

The Politics of U.S. Literature 1960s to Present

A one-day conference, sponsored by Birkbeck’s Centre for Contemporary Literature and the Department of English

Friday 3rd July 2015, 9am-7pm, Birkbeck, University of London
The Keynes Library, Room 114, 43 Gordon Square, London

Free to attend, but advance registration compulsory. Email: 

Event Schedule
9.00:    Registration

9.25:    Introductory Keynote
Martin Eve | Birkbeck, University of London | ‘He doesn’t talk politics any more’: Politics and Postmodernism; Morality and Metafiction; Nihilism and the Novel?
(Chair: Joe Brooker)

10.25: Panel One
Fictions of Political Economy
Andrew Rowcroft | University of Lincoln | ‘What’s Left? Contingency vs. Orthodoxy in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars (1993)’
Anthony Leaker | University of Brighton | ‘“Work as much as possible or die” – Homo Economicus and Neoliberal Work Practices in Dave Eggers’ The Circle
Mark West | University of Glasgow | ‘Is It Time Yet? Narrative and the Future in Dana Spiotta’s Eat the Document
(Chair: Alex Williamson)

11.45 – 12.00: Refreshments provided

12.00:  Panel Two
Fact and Fiction: Memoir, the Historical Novel, and the political future
Ross Griffin | University College Cork, Ireland | ‘”A Devil in Us All”: representing national violence in Philip Caputo’s A Rumour of War (1977)’
Amber Di-Ferdinand | Durham University | ‘An Unacknowledged Connection: reading the works of Joseph Beam, Essex Hemphill, and Randall Kenan as modern-day versions of Frederick Douglas’s nineteenth century slave narrative’
Christopher Lloyd | Goldsmiths, University of London | ‘Politics of Grief: mourning black bodies in Jesmyn Ward’s Men We Reaped (2013)’
(Chair: Anna Hartnell)

1.20-2.10: Lunch (NB lunch will not be provided)

2.10:    Panel Three
Identity Politics: Agency, Representation and Subversion
Linda Freedman | University College London | ‘Romanticism after Auschwitz: Blake and Bellow’
Ettie Bailey-King | University of Oxford |’Radical de-sexing in Siri Hustvedt’s The Blazing World’
Michael Flay | University of Derby | ‘Social Critique and Disability in Fiction: DeLillo’s Cosmopolis and The Body Artist’
(Chair: Monalesia Earle)

3.30 – 3.50: Refreshments provided

3.50:    Panel Four
Politics and Aesthetics: writing in and outside the margins
Nick Beck | Queen Mary University | ‘The individualist under siege in the work of Renata Adler’
Ben Hickman | University of Kent | ‘Figures of Inward: Language Writing and ‘Labour’’
Alex Williamson | Birkbeck, University of London | ‘Protecting Salman – Auster, DeLillo and the Rushdie Defence Pamphlet’
(Chair: Joe Brooker)

5.10:    Closing Keynote
Michael Hrebeniak | University of Cambridge |‘Drawn towards an unknown praxis:’ Notes on the Improvised Habitus via Kerouac, Coleman & Pollock (Chair: Anna Hartnell) 

6.15:    Wine Reception in the Keynes Library