Memory and Resistance in 21st Century Women’s Fiction ‎

deadline for submissions: 
July 15, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Amira Farhani / The University of Buckingham

Date: August 26th, 2023.

Venue: 51 Gower Street (WC1E), London/ Online.

The turn of the century marked a significant bloom in writing from the Global South by women who are seeking to position themselves among established creative and cultural centres, confirming their roles as women writers and activists. These voices created a third space to articulate their resistance against family, state, and intellectual patriarchies, far from the peripheries and the margins. ‘By engaging with their condition as women vis-à-vis [the postcolonial nation]’, in Elleke Boehmer’s words, ‘these writers have succeeded even so in addressing issues of belonging that have both national and translocal resonances’ (2005, 190). The role of women writers has varied constantly in voicing feelings and emotions of loss and trauma, from wives and domestic servants to fighters in political revolutions and social upheavals. This has particularly urged them to stand against oppressive cultural structures. These writers have exploited literary fiction, and popular fiction, as a vehicle through which to relate stories about agency, subjectivity, and othering. Although their non-fiction genres have gone viral during recent crises, fiction (whether literary or genre) still needs further exploration. The extent to which less familiar women writers own their narratives, bear witness, and participate in decision-making is at the core of this conference, as an attempt to ‘expand the frontiers of the politics of reading’ women’s fiction from the Global South as a narrative of agency (Spivak 1985, 259).

The intention of this conference is to encourage new scholarly approaches to the role played by women writers from the periphery in establishing a narrative voice as a third space within the fields of memory and postcolonial studies. In this cross-fertilization, we aim to scrutinize the ways in which women writers use personal and collective memories to empower their fictional writing. Yet, while deeply political, acting as a vital space for representing ‘strategies of resistance’, women’s literary fiction in the postcolonial context also has unique aesthetic, formal, and stylistic qualities (Sorensen 2010, x). The conference hopes to create its own space, within which an interdisciplinary network of critics seeks to: understand directions of feminist postcolonial theory; alongside broader theories of social remembering in 21st century women’s fiction.

We warmly invite 20-minute presentations on critical and literary approaches to contemporary women’s fiction in English. Papers could include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

-          Identity Formation and marginality

-          Cultural Tropes of Resistance

-          Memory and Wars

-          Resistance and Trauma 

-          National and translocal belonging


Please send proposals of no more than 300 words and a brief bio (around 50 words) to this email:  no later than July 15th, 2023.