Representing the British Spy: Fictions, Histories and Futures.

deadline for submissions: 
March 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
University of West London
contact email: 

Keynote Speaker: Professor James Chapman

Tuesday 22nd May 2018

The University of West London.


From the Elizabethan courtier and spy Sir Philip Sidney to the graphic novel Kingsman and its film adaptations, may be traced a rich tradition of individuals, texts and narratives that have spanned creative works informed by experience of actual espionage to tales and characters shaped by the ever-evolving genre conventions of what has become an immensely popular story form. British spy stories have featured both gentleman adventurers – in the Erskine Childers, John Buchan, Leslie Charteris tradition – and career professionals – such as the characters conceived by Ian Fleming and Len Deighton. Their tone has ranged across gritty verisimilitude and procedural detail, through the melancholy of betrayals and vocational doubts to implausible plotlines, kinetic action, and tongue-in-cheek parody. Somerset Maugham’s Ashenden, John le Carré’s Smiley, Graham Greene’s Wormold and Mike Myer’s Austin Powers indicate some of the variety of ways in which the British spy has been represented. Real-life spies such as Guy Burgess, Anthony Blunt and Sidney Reilly, inter alia, have figured in narratives such as Another Country, A Question of Attribution, and Reilly, Ace of Spies that combine – to varying degrees – documented fact with speculation and invention.

This one day conference at the University of West London in Ealing aims to bring together scholars from a range of disciplines including, but not limited to, Literature, History, Film, Cultural Studies, Cyber-security, Politics and International Relations.


Deadline for proposals:

Proposals for papers (250 words) plus a short biographical statement, should be received by Thursday 1st March 2018. Please email


Conference fees:

(including morning coffee, lunch, and an evening drinks reception) - £45, Students/unwaged £25.