Love Letters. Thursday 21st January - Saturday 23rd January 2016: London: UK

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Love Letters
3rd Global Meeting of the Letters and Letter Writing Project

Call for Participation 2016

Thursday 21st January – Saturday 23rd January 2016
London, United Kingdom

This is not a love letter

"I read over your letters again and again, and am continually taking them up as if I had just received them; but alas! They only serve to make me more strongly regret your absence: for how amiable must her conversation be, whose letters have so many charms?" Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, 6.7 [Translation William Melmoth 1915]

Is this a love letter? Or is it something else entirely?

It might have started out as a communication from Pliny to his young wife Calpurnia. However, he included it in a collection destined for public consumption. How much did he rewrite the letter for his new audience? And did he give a public reading of this letter as was common at this time, before circulating it? Was this letter ever delivered to Calpurnia in person, or only publicly, as a new literary genre?

What is and does a love letter? Are there any essential elements, or do the defining characteristics of amorous correspondence change from generation to generation, and from one culture to another? Is a song, the words of which adopt the conventions of epistolary communication, a letter? Or a love poem in an envelope? Or a greeting card?

This conference provides a rare opportunity for a global community to come together and discuss both traditional and alternative love letters. This community could be made up of those in the creative arts, writers, academics or non-academics, in other words anybody with an interest in this area that is willing to share and participate. This conference forms part of a specific focus research stream and continues dialogues started as part of the Letters and Letter Writing project that began two years ago. Its aim is to enrich current research, inspire new ideas and approaches and take this discussion farther both in terms of creating new networks and encouraging cross disciplinary projects that could find their form in either events or publications. It might interest those in the fields of literature, history, film studies, gender studies, political science, linguistics, musicology, creative writing, life-writing to name just a few.

The Advisory Group welcomes the submission of proposals for short workshops, practitioner-based activities, performances, papers and pre-formed panels. We particularly welcome short film screenings; photographic essays; installations; interactive talks and alternative presentation styles that encourage engagement. Submissions should be no more than 300 words and are invited on these or cognate themes for any historical period or geographical location;

~ Breakup letters
~ Love poems in letters
~ Letters leading to betrothal or marriage
~ The role of scribes in writing love letters or expressing intimacy and love (platonic, erotic or otherwise)
~ Love letters in the visual arts
~ Love letters in fiction, poetry, biography (including fiction and poetry written as love letters)
~ The valentine industry and its effects on personal relations, including between children
~ Expressions of love in valentines or other greeting cards, from standard to bizarre
~ Artists' valentines
~ Between gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual partners
~ Platonic friendship expressed in epistolary form
~ Parental love expressed in epistolary form
~ Love of church, god, country and nature in epistolary form
~ Lack of love where it was expected/love letters and stalking
~ Discussion of love in letters between writers, philosophers or thinkers
~ Love letters sent from or to prison, POW camps or mental health institutes
~ Love letters in opera, country and western songs, and other musical genres
~ The past, present and future of the love letter, and the factors that have shaped changing social attitudes toward this mode of communication
~ How love / affection / desire is expressed (vocabulary, explicitness, symbolism, imagery)
~ Etiquette and 'art' of letter writing
~ Love letters as political communication
~ Letters of admiration to a famous dead person
~ Online love letters
~ Love letters as historical/genealogical documents (issues of reliability, archiving/preservation)
~ Influence of gender on the writing and reception of love letters
~ Clinical perspectives on the impulse to write and the pleasures associated with writing and receiving love letters
~ Multicultural perspectives on love letters
~ Critical strategies for analysing love letters as a writing genre

Call for Cross-Over Presentations
The Love Letters project will be meeting at the same time as two other projects: Exploring Sexuality and Spirituality and Exploring The Erotic. All three groups will share at least one creative workshop in common led by a poetess who writes sensual and erotic poetry. In addition we welcome submissions which cross the divide between two or even all three project areas. If you would like to be considered for a cross project session, please mark your submission "Crossover Submission".

As part of the conference, there will be an opportunity for those who wish to participate in an afternoon workshop focusing on "Reading Erotic Poetry". The workshop is an ongoing project within the Exploring the Erotic project. You will explore the ways in which poems can accommodate the erotic, moving from subtle erotic love expressions over blunt eroticism to hard pornographic features in erotic poetry. The workshop will address other forms of writing, including letters and letter writing.

Further details and information can be found here:

What to Send
300 word abstracts, proposals and other forms of contribution should be submitted by Friday 14th August 2015.
All submissions be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.

You will be notified of the panel's decision by Friday 28th August 2015.
If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 11th December 2015.

Abstracts may be in Word, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Love Letters Abstract Submission

Where to Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs:

Organising Chairs:
Linda McGuire:
Rob Fisher:

This event is part of a new emerging inclusive interdisciplinary research and publishing project which overlaps projects working in the areas of Writing, Letters, Graphic Novel, Storytelling. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.

It is anticipated that a number of publishing options will arise from the work of the project generally and from the meeting of the Love Letters stream in particular. Minimally there will be a digital eBook resulting from the conference meeting. Other options, some of which might include digital publications, paperbacks and a journal will be explored during the meeting itself.

Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation. Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.