Under the Volcano: 70 Years On

deadline for submissions: 
November 30, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Dr Helen Tookey / Liverpool John Moores University
contact email: 

Registration is now live for 'Under the Volcano, 70 Years On: A Malcolm Lowry Conference', 28-29 July 2017, Liverpool John Moores University and Bluecoat, Liverpool

2017 marks the seventieth anniversary of the publication of Malcolm Lowry’s great modernist novel Under the Volcano, and the sixtieth anniversary of Lowry’s death. This two-day international conference will explore the legacy of Lowry’s work, his literary status today and his ongoing role as source of inspiration to creative writers and artists across various disciplines. 

It also provides an opportunity to explore the new areas of interest opened up by Ottawa University Press’s publication of critical editions of Swinging the Maelstrom (2013), In Ballast to the White Sea (2014) and the 1940 Under the Volcano (2015). We’re delighted to have keynote addresses from Professor Emerita Sherrill Grace and Professor Michael Schmidt, alongside papers and discussions from noted Lowry scholars from Canada, the US and Europe.

The conference appropriately takes place in Liverpool, across the Mersey from Lowry’s birthplace on the Wirral. Since 2009, Bluecoat (Liverpool’s contemporary arts centre) has worked with the Firminists, an informal collective of Lowry enthusiasts and academics, to stage an annual ‘Lowry Lounge’ to celebrate the writer in the place of his birth. This programme has included guided walks, film screenings, talks and discussions, archival displays, music and other creative responses to Lowry, and the publication of an illustrated volume, Malcolm Lowry: From the Mersey to the World (edited by Bryan Biggs and Helen Tookey; Liverpool University Press, 2009). 

On the Friday evening, delegates are invited to a meal at Bluecoat, followed by a performance of The Lighthouse Invites the Storm, a newly commissioned sound art piece that draws on the local maritime landscape, Lowry’s own writings (especially Ultramarine) and the stories of Wirral-based retired seafarers, to create an immersive experience inspired by Lowry’s life and work. 

On the Saturday afternoon, following the conclusion of the formal academic proceedings, there is the opportunity to take part in a guided walk culminating in New Brighton, Lowry’s birthplace, and then to join us at Mariners’ Park (merchant seamen's retirement home) for an evening of Lowry-inspired sounds and words.

For conference programme and registration please go to


Contact: Dr Helen Tookey, Liverpool John Moores University, h.j.tookey@ljmu.ac.uk