Is a Novel JUST a Novel? 4th September 2014

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Durham University
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Call for Papers: Department of English Studies One-Day Conference

Durham University, 4th September 2014

Is a Novel JUST a Novel?

Keynote speakers: Professor Andrew Bennett and Dr. Dan Vyleta

The Department of English Studies at the Durham University is convening a one-day conference which will be held on 4th September 2014 in Durham University.

This year's conference, titled "Is a Novel JUST a Novel?", focuses on the novel, which implies the function and role of the novel as a genre in our life as well as its similarities to and differences from other modes of writing. It gives the opportunity to highlight the manifold function of the novel. Consequently, it allows speakers to deal with the idea from different points of view, be they social, political, psychological, etc. In their papers, applicants can explain why the novel is so dominant in our own time despite the fact that people are supposed to be more obsessed with life and to be short of time to read a novel. The main aim is to raise various questions related to the position of the novel being more than just a novel: "what's its use? Is reading a novel a way of understanding people better? Can a novel affect people's way of thinking? etc." In this manner participants are encouraged to discuss their point of view in terms of the novel's function in literature as a genre and in life as a way of expression. Potential topics for proposals include (but are not limited to):

The novel and Marxism (consumerism and capitalism)

The novel and technology

The novel and feminism

The novel and identity, autonomy, authorship

The novel and ideology

Storytelling and construction/crisis of the self

The novel in its social and political contexts

The novel and discourse

About the keynote speakers:

Professor Andrew Bennett, Bristol University, is a prominent professor of literature whose focus is on Romanticism, twentieth- and twenty-first-century writing and literary criticism. His The Author, as a case in point, investigates how the notion of the author takes shape and changes historically.

Dr. Daniel Vyleta (Durham University; Birmingham University from August 2014), has taught history, literature and creative writing and is also a critically acclaimed novelist whose novel The Crooked Maid was shortlisted for the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

We are now accepting submissions for oral presentations. The standard length of a talk will be between 20 to 30 minutes. An important part of the conference is that selected papers will be published later in the online journal Postgraduate English at Durham University. Information can be found at

Articles for the publication in the journal should be between 5000 and 7000 words (the standard length for publication). For more information concerning Author Guidelines please visit:

To apply, please send your proposal not more than 500 words length (in .doc, .docx, .pdf or .tex), to or

Please mention your full name, level of study and name of university and faculty. The deadline for submitting your proposals is midnight 18 July. We will respond to them by 25 July.

Refreshments (tea and coffee with cookies) will be provided during the conference.

Please visit us on

If you require any further information, the organisers can be contacted at and