full name / name of organization: 


An International Conference hosted by the Faculty of Arts and Letters,
Catholic University in Ružomberok, Slovakia
in association with the Katherine Mansfield Society

27-29 June 2012

Keynote Speakers:

Angela Smith, C. K. Stead, Maurizio Ascari,
Gerri Kimber, Claire Davison-Pégon

Having arrived in London from New Zealand in 1908 to commence her life as a writer, Katherine Mansfield travelled widely in Europe during the 1910s and early 1920s. Rarely was this for pleasure; the notion of escaping from a situation, people, and later her search for a cure for tuberculosis, predetermined much of her journeying. The resonances of this constant travelling and immersion in foreign cultures can be perceived in both her personal writing and her creative endeavours.

Possible topics for discussion might include, but are not limited to:

• KM and Germany
• KM and Russia
• KM and Poland
• KM and Belgium
• KM and France
• KM and Italy
• KM and Switzerland
• Notion of expatriation and displacement in KM's stories
• Responses to, and reception of, KM in Europe
• KM's influence on continental writers
• KM as (post)colonial traveller

A highlight of the conference will be an optional trip on 30 June to nearby Krakow, the home of Poland's most celebrated artist, Stanislaw Wyspianski, with a visit to see the internationally renowned Wyspianksi museum and the stained glass window in the Franciscan church, the inspiration for two of KM's poems.

Please send 200 word abstracts for individual papers of 20 minutes, or 500 word proposals for panels of 3 papers to Dr Janka Kaščáková atjanka.kascakova@ff.ku.sk by 1 November 2011. Decisions will be announced by 15 December 2011.

Conference venue:
The conference will take place on the premises of the Faculty of Arts and Letters, at the Catholic University in Ružomberok.

About the University:
The Catholic University in Ružomberok is a state university established in 2000. Being so young, we don't have much history but the advantage is that we can create that history ourselves. The Department of English Language and Literature, which will organize the conference in cooperation with the Katherine Mansfield Society, has just celebrated its 15th year, having being previously a part of the school that developed into the new university.

About Ružomberok:
Ružomberok is a small industrial town in the north of Slovakia, quite close to the Polish border. Although in itself a typical industrial city with hardly any places of interest (apart from our department;), Ružomberok is surrounded by spectacular forests and mountains and its surrounding countryside is a favourite place for hiking in summer and skiing in winter. On approaching it from the south-west (where you would most probably approach it from), one passes through the valley of the river Váh, which is adorned by a range of old medieval castles (most of them in ruins) that were built to create a certain chain of communication. The defenders of one could always see the castles next to theirs and communicate by fire signals in case of emergency, or shoot cannon balls at each other for fun when they were extremely bored.

Accompanying events:
Trip to Poland:
This will take place on Saturday, 30 June. We will do our best to spend as much of the day in Krakow as possible – we will certainly visit the Wyspianski Museum and the stained glass window in the Franciscan church, the inspiration for two of KM's poems.

Other events:
We have been contacted by a group of Ukrainian film-makers who have just made a film based on KM's "A Cup of Tea", and if all goes well, the film will be screened at the conference and you'll have the opportunity to speak to the director, producer and the main actress. The Facebook page for the film is athttp://www.facebook.com/Cup.of.Tea.Short.Film

Further excursion:
As we could never take you to Poland without first showing you a bit of Slovakia, we are planning a small trip (sort of a short-break in between the academic debate) – the destination and other details will be published in due time.

How to get to Ružomberok:
By plane:
You can fly to Krakow, Bratislava or Vienna airports. Although Krakow is the closest, to get to Ružomberok from there might be a bit tricky (you would have to change trains or coaches). In case more of you choose this option, we will arrange a coach for you. (This would certainly be a very good option for those who plan to attend the trip to Krakow. After the trip you could stay there and fly home directly).
Bratislava and Vienna airports are close to each other and whether you choose one or the other, there is a very good connection to Ružomberok. There is a shuttle bus from Vienna airport to Bratislava (leaving every hour) and from there, you can either take a direct coach or train to Ružomberok.
By coach:
Ružomberok is an important traffic junction and lies on the main east-west and south-north roads. For that reason many coaches from Slovakia and Czech Republic stop there (unfortunately not Polish ones).
By train: Most fast trains from the direction of Bratislava, Košice and Prague stop here.
By car: The best solution is to use your GPS ;))))
Should you need any assistance with your travel arrangements, do not hesitate to contact Janka Kaščáková at kascakova@ff.ku.sk. She will send you train or coach schedules and/or advise you on how to get to Ružomberok easily.
Those who fly from overseas are also advised to contact Janka prior to the purchase of the plane ticket. She can sometimes find better value tickets than your travel agents ;))))