[UPDATE] Colours of Memory: An International Conference on the Writing of Geoff Dyer

full name / name of organization: 
Birkbeck, University of London

Papers are invited for the first academic conference dedicated to the writing of Geoff Dyer—novelist, essayist, art and photography critic and travel writer. Dyer's witty subtle and experimental writing has won him critical acclaim and a broad literary following but has received little sustained academic attention to date. The event will mark a collaboration between the Centre for Contemporary Literature and the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, looking particularly at the place of photography and of photographic criticism in Dyer's work. Geoff Dyer will be in attendance throughout the day and for a Q&A session at the end of procedings.

Dyer is an interstitial figure: his blending of memoir, essay and fiction ('creative criticism') and use of intertextuality and sampling in his writing work together to challenge established generic boundaries and cultural hierarchies. His interests take in everything from film, photography, travel, jazz and Modernist literature to drugs, doughnuts, rave music and the poetics of procrastination. His playful, personal and sometimes meandering style expands our understanding of how criticism relates to its subject, but also amounts to a commentary on the contemporary itself, specifically questions of uncreativity, 'reality hunger' and exhaustion in the information age. This conference aims to bring together scholars with expertise in this important author for the first time, but also to use Dyer's work as a way of accessing some of the most urgent debates in literary and photographic criticism.

Topics might include, but are not limited to:
•The photo book
•Cinema and the avant garde
• Remix culture
• Conceptual writing and uncreativity
• 1980s and 1990s British fiction
• Postmodern travel writing
• The slacker generation and after
• Anti-intellectualism and the place of the critic
• Englishness and postcolonial melancholia
• The poetics of boredom
• Music in contemporary fiction
• Retromania and nostalgia
• Rave fiction

The conference welcomes proposals for individual papers or panels. We are open to papers which, like Dyer's writing, experiment with the established boundaries of the genre. Submissions are welcome from both research students and academics.

Please send a title and 300 word abstract for a 20 minute paper by 12th January. Abstracts to Bianca Leggett,geoffdyerconference2014@gmail.com. The conference will be held on 11th July 2014 at 43 Gordon Square, Birkbeck, London.