[DEADLINE APPROACHING] Naomi Alderman: Empty Spaces, Untold Stories

deadline for submissions: 
February 11, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Mike Witcombe, Bath Spa University

One-Day Conference, 30th April 2019, Bath Spa University, England

Naomi Alderman’s rise to literary stardom following the publication of The Power in 2016has been remarkable.  Alderman had been a critically feted novelist for a decade before The Power. Her earlier work had led to an Orange Award for Young Writers in 2006 and she was named a Granta Young Novelist of the Decade in 2013. The Power, written following a year-long mentorship by Margaret Atwood, won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2017; as with Atwood’s speculative fiction, it is situated on the boundaries of genre and literary fiction.  Some critics saw it as a radical departure for Alderman yet there are evident continuities with her previous literary work, both stylistically and thematically, especially in its engagements with religion, history and feminism. The novel also drew on Alderman’s experience in writing for genre: she is the author of several videogames, including the popular Zombies Run! running app, and a Doctor Who novel entitled Borrowed Time (2012). A film version of Alderman’s novel Disobedience has just hit UK cinemas, while Alderman is the writer and producer of a forthcoming television adaptation of The Power.


This conference will be held in the scenic grounds of Bath Spa University, where Alderman is Professor of Creative Writing, and it is anticipated that selected papers from the conference will form the basis for an edited collection. It will feature keynote lectures by Geoffrey Alderman and Karen Skinazi - as well as Naomi Alderman herself!

We invite applications for papers to be presented at this conference. Topics may include, but are not restricted to:

  • Literary mentorship
  • Cross-platform storytelling
  • Religious identity in Alderman’s work
  • Gender and Feminism
  • Adaptation and Film 
  • Genre fiction / literary fiction
  • Teaching Alderman’s work
  • Videogames and narrative design
  • Literary prize culture and celebrity
  • Influence and intertextuality

Please send 250 word proposals for papers to be presented to Dr Mike Witcombe and Caroline Wintersgill at aldermanconference@gmail.com by the 11th of February 2019. The abstract should include your name, email address, and affiliation, as well as the title of your proposed paper.

Thanks to the generosity of the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies, we are able to offer competitive bursaries to facilitate the participation of postgraduate students and Early Career researchers. Please indicate on your application if you wish to be considered for these.