BrexLit: Writing the British Border in Times of Crisis

deadline for submissions: 
March 1, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
University of Santiago de Compostela

6th and 7th July 2023

University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain)


Invited Speakers: 

Kristian Shaw (University of Lincoln) 

Vedrana Velickovic (University of Brighton) 





On 23 June 2016 the UK voted in favour of its exit from the European Union, an unparalleled decision that divided British society like few other events in the country’s recent history. This event came to be known, in political jargon, as Brexit. Although England and Wales were the two nations that voted in favor of Brexit, as Scotland and Northern Ireland voted against, the fact is that, democratically, the whole of the United Kingdom was required to comply with this decision. Brexit is the latest occurrence of a global phenomenonwhere borders are regaining an unusually prominent role in global politics, particularly since the 9/11attacks (Glencross, 2016; Clarke, 2017; Eaglestone, 2018; Korte and Lojo, 2019; Bellamy and Castiglione, 2019; Bromhall, 2019; CalvoVérgez, 2020; De Gruyn, 2020; amongst others). As soon as the Brexit referendum’s outcome was announced, narratives about Brexit began to surface. These textsattest to a growing sense of exceptionalism that typifies British neo-nationalism. This corpus of work is known as BrexLit and it has been circulated in both English and non-English-language pieces.  


As Kristian Shaw indicates, “[a] study of Brexit through the medium of literature is somewhat appropriate given the extent to which the referendum was based on mendacious fictions” (218). The “BrexLit: Writing the British Border in Times of Crisis” conference aims at exploring the ways in which authors of BrexLitinterrogate British national insularity alongsideits paradoxical sense of global belonging. BrexLit illustrates the conflictive relationship between the British Isles and the rest of the European continent, particularly with European institutions. Some of the latest publications by authors such as John Lancaster, Linda Grant, Anthony Cartwright, Amanda Craig, Jonathan Coe or Ian McEwan, to name but some, suggest that BrexLit is not just an anecdotic literary phenomenon. It is for this reason that this conference calls for contributions that explore BrexLit from different avenues of research: from the field of postcolonial studies (Said, 1978; Gilroy, 2004; Koegler, Malreddy, & Tribucke, 2020; among others), from the field of discourse and identity (Kristeva, 1988; Bromhall, 2019; Hauthal, 2021; among others), or the field of politics and philosophy through concepts such as ‘national chauvinism’ (Bieber, 2018) or ‘white supremacy’ (Sayer, 2017). 


The conference itself will have an on-site format. We invite all those who wish to participate in the “BrexLit: Writing the British Border in Times of Crisis” conference to send their proposals for twenty-minute papers with an abstract no longer than 250 words to before 1st March 2023. Panel proposals consisting of three 20-mins talks will also be welcomed. Notification of the successful proposals will be announced by the end of April 2023. Please include the title, as well as your name, institution and email address. Although we will consider contributions from other avenues of research, we are particularly keen to receive proposals covering: 


BrexLit in English 

BrexLit in Languages Other than English 

Porous Borders 

Social Exclusion 

Migration and Identity 

Contemporary Diasporas 

Fortress Europe 

Postcolonial Nostalgia 

Reverse Colonisation