CFP: Daphne du Maurier Centenary Conference (UK) (9/30/06; 5/10/07-5/11/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Becky Munford


Thursday 10 May to Friday 11 May 2007

Born 100 years ago on 13 May 1907, Daphne du Maurier is one of Britain's
most popular novelists, her works among its most celebrated exports. She is
especially associated with the bestselling novel, Rebecca, which has enjoyed
international success since its publication in 1938. The renowned film
versions of her books, including Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940) and The
Birds (1963), and Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now (1973), have brought her a
major global reputation, which has continued with television and theatre
versions of the short fiction and novels, including a new, box
office-breaking touring play of Rebecca.

Her popularity has sometimes led to patronising critical commentary, and she
suffered badly from dismissive classification as a 'romantic novelist' -
something she fiercely repudiated. The success of Rebecca has led to the
neglect of a generically-varied and thematically wide-ranging body of
fiction and non-fiction writing. However, in recent decades, distinguished
international critics and biographers have paid serious attention to, and
offered challenging perspectives on, this complex writer and her work.

Since 2003, Virago has reprinted the whole oeuvre, placing many out-of-print
texts back in the public domain and inviting novelists and critics to
contextualise the writings for a new generation of readers. These
introductions, together with original critical and biographical essays on du
Maurier, and some of her unpublished fiction and poetry, will appear in
Virago's The Daphne du Maurier Companion, edited by Helen Taylor. The
Companion commemorates the 100th anniversary of Daphne du Maurier's birth,
as will the Centenary Daphne du Maurier Festival of Arts and Literature, to
be held 10-19 May 2007 in Fowey, Cornwall, where the writer began to write
and lived during most of her career.

The University of Exeter Special Collections Library holds a large archive
of du Maurier family papers, and its School of English has been closely
involved with this archive and the Festival. It is therefore hosting an
International Centenary Conference, 10-11 May, 2007, to dovetail with the
Festival so that delegates can participate in both. The conference is based
in Fowey Town Hall, at the heart of Cornwall, the county du Maurier loved
and made famous through her evocative writing. Du Maurier's work will be
discussed in terms of new critical and biographical approaches, and through
the new insights made possible by access to archival materials. Events
include keynote lectures, thematic workshops and panels, a buffet lunch
overlooking the Estuary and Harbour, and a reception hosted by du Maurier's
three children at Ferryside, the house where she wrote her first novel, The
Loving Spirit, now home of her son, Christian Browning. Keynote speakers
include Nina Auerbach, author of Daphne du Maurier, Haunted Heiress, Sally
Beauman, novelist and author of Rebecca's Tale, and Avril Horner and Sue
Zlosnik, co-authors of Daphne du Maurier: Writing, Identity and the Gothic
Imagination. Some speakers and delegates will be invited to contribute to a
Book Group Day, Saturday 12 May, and to other Festival events. This
conference is expected to attract considerable interest, but because Fowey
venues are small, places will be strictly limited.

Short papers (15 minutes) and presentations are invited on any aspect of
Daphne du Maurier's life and work, to be delivered in two thematic workshops
and two panels throughout the conference.

Proposals, 500 words maximum, should be sent via email to: and by 30 SEPTEMBER 2006.

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Received on Tue Apr 04 2006 - 11:02:55 EDT