From Brontë to Bloomsbury Fifth International Conference: Reassessing Women’s Writing of the 1920s and 1930s

deadline for submissions: 
March 2, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
International Centre for Victorian Women Writers (ICVWW). Canterbury Christ Church University.
contact email: 


International Centre for Victorian Women Writers (ICVWW)  

From Brontë to Bloomsbury Fifth International Conference:  


Reassessing Women’s Writing of the 1920s and 1930s 



16-17 July 2018


Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK 



Keynote speakers: Professor Faye Hammill (University of Glasgow)

                                     Professor Mary Joannou (Anglia Ruskin University)


The ICVWW’s five-year project From Brontë to Bloomsbury: Realism, Sensation and the New in Women’s Writing from the 1840s to the 1930s aims to trace and reassess, decade by decade, how women’s writing develops in the cultural context of the 1840s to the 1930s: a transformative period in women’s private, public and literary lives. Including the work of canonical authors such as Elizabeth Gaskell and Virginia Woolf, the project is also significantly concerned with rediscovering and repositioning the lives and work of neglected female writers. 


Now in its final year, the project aims to build on the success of the four previous conferences on women’s writing from the 1840s to the 1910s. The interbellum years are often associated with literary Modernists, who sought to challenge readers and also dissociate themselves from their Victorian forebears, through innovative stylistic devices and alienating forms. Modernism offered a self-conscious break with tradition and an attempt to find modes through which to represent the horrors of war and its aftermath, and the dynamics of individual consciousness. The unprecedented political, social and cultural changes wrought by the First Word War changed the landscapes in which women wrote and their relationships with the world around them, leading to greater interrogation of conceptual boundaries including gender, sexuality, genre and even geography.


This cfp seeks proposals that explore this period to illuminate the range and vitality of British women’s writing from 1920-1939. 


Particularly welcome are papers which encourage new perspectives on literary genre, the critical reception of women writers, or canon formation.


Topics may include but are not limited to: 

  • Women’s experiences of, and reactions to, war 
  • Women’s liberation and the influence of political change
  • Inter-generational conflict 
  • Working-class women's writing
  • Journalism and periodical writing 
  • Letters, diaries, memoirs and autobiographies 
  • Children’s literature
  • Literature of science and medicine
  • Crime fiction and women’s writing of the Golden Age 
  • Literary Modernism and writing against the canon
  • Counter-Modernism
  • Poetry 
  • High and low art and the changing aesthetic landscape
    • Lesser known women writers such as Rose Macauley, Antonia White and Ethel Mannin


Final papers should be kept to 20 minutes. There will be an additional ten minutes per paper for questions at the end of each panel.


300 word abstracts and a 100-150 word biographical note should be sent to the organising committee (Dr Susan Civale, Professor Adrienne Gavin, Alyson Hunt and Professor Carolyn Oulton) at by 2 March 2018. 


We are also accepting proposals for ‘flash papers’ of 5-10 minutes in length. These should be unscripted papers at the early ideas stage, designed to use the collective wisdom of panel attendees to construct, shape and develop an argument. If you would be interested in submitting a flash paper please send an abstract which outlines your main area of focus and three key questions you would like to discuss. We particularly welcome PhD candidates, independent scholars and scholars newly embarking on this period of research.