Posted on 23rd April 2012

Posted by Sophie

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Twenty-First Century British Fiction Symposium at Birkbeck, May 11-12

The twenty-first century may still be young, but the prodigious output of outstanding fiction in Britain since we hit the new millennium has provided plenty of talking material.

Who are the voices of British fiction today and how are they changing the way we read? What do we mean by British fiction in the age of devolution, and of globalization? Is digital culture changing fiction as we know it? How are contemporary authors reformulating the way we think about the country and the city, the global and the local, the past and the future?

On 11th and 12th of May, Birkbeck College will be staging a two-day symposium that engages with the emergent trends, themes and questions in British fiction today in the form of a symposium. Bringing together writers, researchers and publishers to exchange their perspectives, the Twenty-First Century British Fiction event looks set to be a lively and wide-ranging conversation.

Friday’s proceedings will be kicked off with a keynote from Birkbeck’s own Dr. Joseph Brooker before beginning a day of panels whose papers range from the ‘Profoundly Ordinary’ (‘Jon McGregor and Everyday Life’) to the profoundly extraordinary (‘Eating Other People’s Words is Divine: On Cannibalistic Transubstantiation’). The day will culminate with a panel discussion, ‘Publishing the 21st Century’ with Dr. Katy Shaw (University of Brighton), Professor Deborah Philips (University of Brighton) and Anthony Levings in the Keynes Library, with wine and refreshments to finish.

Saturday begins with a keynote from Professor Robert Eaglestone (Royal Holloway) followed by another full day of panels and papers whose themes include ‘Novel Technologies’, ‘Ecologies’ and ‘Provincialising Britain’. Following the panels will be a Writer’s Roundtable chaired by Birkbeck’s Russell Celyn Jones of Birkbeck in which a group of exciting new authors discuss their work and the future direction of British fiction. Writers include Saltire Society prize-winning novelist Luke Williams (The Echo Chamber), leading light of literary thrillers Susanna Jones (When Nights Were Cold) and Guardian-featured graphic novelist Karrie Fransman. The day will finish with a wine reception.

Friday’s symposium will be held in the Clore Management Centre, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square, London, WC1E 7HX, with panel and wine reception hosted around the corner in the Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square. Saturday’s event will be held in Room B36, Main Building, Birkbeck College, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HX. Registration is free but places are limited. To register please contact Tony Venezia and Bianca Leggett at [email protected] For more information: or follow C21st_symposium on Twitter.



Booner Cope

26th April 2012 at 11:28

I’d say the opposite. I’m about to read Irvine Welsh’s new Skagboys. I’ve just read Chris Morton’s English Slacker and Stewart’s King Crow. I am a massive fan of the new king of dark satire Jonny Gibbings and his remarkable ‘Malice in Blunderland’ and all are very British.

Digital, I think has allowed a sort of bespoke solution to readers demands. Like music, readers are finding authors and books outside of traditional avenues and so elude the awareness of the establishment. Where I live, people are graffitting words and quotes from Gibbings’s book. Has that ever happened before?

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