Call for Papers
Common Threads: Black and Asian British Women’s Writing
International Conference


Confirmed Keynote Speaker:
Bernardine Evaristo


Venue:
University of Brighton, UK
Dates:
21st-23rd July 2022


Deadline for Submission:
31st January 2022


Following the inaugural conference of the Black British Women’s Writing Network (BBWWN) at the University of Brighton in 2014, we are  pleased to announce the second international conference on Black and Asian British Women’s Writing. This conference celebrates the fact that so many Black and Asian women writers have emerged in the last two decades and acknowledges the significant impact their writing has made on publishing and the media since 2015. Black and Asian women’s writing has transformed Britain’s cultural landscape and provoked urgent conversations about nation and identity, home and belonging. Their work challenges the control white, British canonical writers have asserted over what qualifies as literary, where meaning is located in literary culture, and whose voices are privileged. The last couple of years have been particularly exciting for Black and Asian British women writers with Bernardine Evaristo winning the Booker Prize in 2019, the first Black British woman to do so, and several debut authors such as Reni Eddo-Lodge topping the UK’s fiction and nonfiction paperback charts in 2020-21, and receiving substantial attention and recognition. The recent publication of The Cambridge Companion to Black British and Asian Writing (edited by Deirdre Osborne), and The Cambridge History of Black and Asian British Writing (edited by Susheila Nasta and Mark Stein) bring together over 400 years of Black and Asian British writing. 2022 also marks the 21st anniversary of the landmark ‘Write Black, Write British’ conference at the Barbican (organised by Kadija George), and of the publication of the anthology Bittersweet: Contemporary Black Women’s Poetry. Common Threads aims to celebrate this rich cultural heritage while at the same time exploring how Black and Asian British Women’s Writing enables us to re-imagine the nation otherwise in the context of the unsettling, hostile environment of post-Brexit Britain.

The organisers welcome submissions from academics, postgraduate and early career researchers, teachers, publishers and literary activists. We welcome individual papers and panel proposals on any genre and topic related to writing by Black and Asian British women and queer people of colour. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Intersections and Common Threads: Black and Asian British Women’s Writing in the era of Black Lives Matter and post-Brexit Britain
• Teaching Transformation: Black and Asian British Women’s Writing and Decolonising the Curriculum
• Black and Asian British Women’s Life Writing, Screenwriting, Journalism, Popular fiction, Radio drama, Short fiction/flash fiction, Non-fiction
• Black and Asian British Women’s Poetry and Spoken Word Performances
• Speculative Fiction
• Drama and Performance
• Critically neglected writers/new writers
• Black and Asian Women’s Writing and the School Curriculum
• Black and Asian British Children’s Literature and storytelling
• Black and Asian British Queer Writing
• The 2018 Windrush Scandal
• The matter of bodies, politics, place and diaspora
• Making Space/Reconfiguring space: real and imaginary spaces, online, publishing and other spaces, worlds turned upside down
• Regional and rural writing

Please send an abstract of 300 words maximum and brief bio by 31st January 2022 to commonthreads2022@gmail.com. The notification of acceptance will be sent by March 1, 2022. Online presentations/panels welcome. More details will be provided once notifications have been sent. Common Threads is an in-person event, but a limited number of online presentations can be accommodated.

The conference organizers will be working toward the publication of presented papers in a journal Special Issue in 2023.

Organisers: Professor Suzanne Scafe (Brighton), Dr. Sarah Lawson-Welsh (York St. John), Kadija George Sesay (Brighton), Dr Vedrana Velickovic (Brighton) and Amanda Holiday (Brighton).

Supported by The Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics (SECP) and Humanities and Social Science Research and Knowledge Exchange Funding.

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