Category Archives: Lectures

‘Play, Recreation, and Experimentation’ (Kent)

Interdisciplinary Conference

‘Play, Recreation, and Experimentation

Literature and the Arts since the Early Modern Times’

8-9 Dec 2017

Hosted by the
Centre for Modern European Literature (CMEL) at the University of Kent, Canterbury, with the generous support of CMEL, the MHRA conference award, and the British Comparative Literature Association (BCLA).

Venue: Kentish Barn seminar room, Canterbury Cathedral Lodge (enter via the main Cathedral gate and follow the signage)

(*spaces limited, early registration strongly encouraged)

This interdisciplinary conference aims to explore relations between play, recreation, and experimentation by examining their articulations in literature and the arts (broadly understood as the visual arts, architecture, music/sound art, film) from the early modern period to the present day. There are many instances of engagement with the ludic and experimentation, e.g. early modern literature on the theme of playing with appearances (being and seeming); Duchamp’s Fontaine; Dada and Surrealist practices including cadavre exquis, collage, bricolage; Oulipo and pataphysics; postmodern pastiches and hybridity in architecture, and re-inventions of myth and history in contemporary fiction. Nevertheless, we intend to shed new light on these works and probe their implications for a theory of the ludic through considering the interactions and dialogues between play, recreation, and experimentation. The broad chronological and disciplinary scope is meant to accommodate to the comparative and intermedial perspective that this topic involves.

We are pleased to present an exciting conference programme with a diverse range of topics. Please see our blog page for details about the papers and to register:

Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation (Oxford)

Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation is a research programme based jointly at TORCH, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, and the Centre for Comparative Criticism and Translation at St. Anne’s College. Since 2013 our research programme brings together experts from the disciplines of English, Medieval and Modern Languages and Oriental Studies, and draws in collaborators from Classics, Music, Visual Arts, Film, Philosophy and History. We run seminars, workshops, conferences and a discussion group; we stage public events, such as Oxford Translation Day; and we edit a book series, Transcript, as well as an online journal, OCCT Review. If you’re interested in comparative literature and translation studies, OCCT is the place to be!

A general overview of the events this term can be found here — or, for more details, see the event descriptions.

OCCT is a Divisional research programme supported by TORCH and St Anne’s College. Our organising committee includes Prof Matthew Reynolds, Prof Adriana X. Jacobs, Prof Mohamed-Salah Omri, Dr Eleni Philippou, Dr Peter Hill, Ms Karolina Watroba, Ms Kate Costello, Ms Valeria Taddei, Dr Kasia Szymanska, Prof Ben Morgan, Prof Patrick McGuinness;;

Translating the World: The Booker, The Vegetarian & Tilted Axis Press (KCL)

Translating the World: The Booker, The Vegetarian & Tilted Axis Press

Thursday October 12th 2017, 18.30-19.30, Council Room (K2.29), King’s Building, Strand Main Campus

Tickets are free but please reserve your place via Eventbrite:

Part of the Arts and Humanities Festival 2017

Who brings books from around the world to our bedside tables, tablets and headphones? When we encounter a novel from Japan or Argentina, how has it journeyed into our lives and how does this in turn shape the world we imagine?  Who works to assist literature across international borders?  And how can we conceptualise their ‘service’?

Writer and critic Boyd Tonkin, former literary editor of The Independent and Man Booker International Prize Judge joins the Prize’s inaugural joint-winner Deborah Smith and King’s academic Zoe Norridge to unpick these questions.  Taking the translator as a key figure in the global circulation of literature, we explore how this intrepid pioneer curates the UK public’s view of the world by selecting, championing and rendering accessible distant writing.

Since it was first awarded in 1969, the Booker Prize has shaped the way in which British and international audiences have read and understood the world.  Originally limited to Commonwealth writers, winners such as Rushdie, Naipaul and Coetzee have extended and complicated readers’ conceptions of the ‘anglosphere’.  The reconfigured Man Booker International Prize, re-launched in 2016 after its merger with the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, takes this further by rewarding a work of fiction in translation.  In its first year the judges celebrated Korean novelist Han Kang’s The Vegetarian.

When Smith decided to pitch her translation of Han’s beautifully crafted and disconcerting novel to her publisher, Portobello Books, she began a journey bringing insights into Korean perceptions of what it means to be human to UK audiences worlds apart.  The publishing house she subsequently founded –  Tilted Axis Press – continues this mission, shaking up international literature with translations of radical new writing.

We discuss why, at a time of increasingly policed borders, such movement across cultures is essential.  Here, to translate is indeed a world service.



Boyd Tonkin is a writer, broadcaster and former Literary Editor of The Independent who now writes on arts and literature for The Economist, the Financial Times, The Spectator and Newsweek.  In 2001 he re-founded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for literature in translation, later leading the prize’s merger with the Man Booker International Prize and chairing the first Panel of Judges in 2016.

Deborah Smith translated the Man Booker International Prize-winning novel The Vegetarian by Korean writer Han Kang.  She founded Tilted Axis Press in 2015 whilst completing her PhD in contemporary Korean Literature at SOAS.  Other translations include Han’s Human Acts and Bae Suah’s Greater Music and Recitation.

Zoe Norridge is a Senior Lecturer in English and Comparative Literature at King’s.  Her primary focus is African literature but her research on cultural responses to conflict has also taken her to Papua New Guinea, Argentina and Northern Ireland.  She is currently translating work by Rwandan writer Yolande Mukagasana.

Culture and Anarchy 150th Anniversary Panel (Sussex)

On the 22nd of June 2017, the University of Sussex is hosting a special edition of the BBC Radio 3 programme Free Thinking, which will mark the 150th anniversary of Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy with a panel discussion in front of a live audience.

Arnold argued that modern life was producing a society of ‘Philistines’ who only cared for material possessions and hedonistic pleasure. As a medicine for this moral and spiritual degradation, Arnold prescribed ‘culture’, which he defined as ‘the best which has been thought and said in the world’, stored in Europe’s great literature, philosophy and history. By engaging with this heritage, he argued, humans could develop towards a higher state of mental and moral ‘perfection’.

The discussion, hosted by the writer and broadcaster Matthew Sweet, will discuss the significance of Culture and Anarchy, and its legacy in ongoing arguments for the value of culture and the humanities.

The speakers on the panel will be:

Tiffany Jenkins (sociologist of heritage, author of Keeping Their Marbles: How the Treasures of the Past Ended up in Museums, and Why They Should Stay There).

 Simon Heffer (writer, author of High Minds: the Victorians and the Birth of Modern Britain).

Stella Duffy (writer and co-director of the Fun Palaces campaign).

Will Abberley (lecturer in Victorian literature at Sussex).

The discussion will be followed by an audience Q & A.

Everyone is welcome to join us for this unique event. Please book your free place here.

Encounter with Cristina Fernández Cubas, Nottingham

Encounter with Cristina Fernández Cubas, University of Nottingham, 2nd June 2017

Cristina Fernández Cubas is one of the most accomplished contemporary writers of the fantastic in Spain and winner of the Premio Nacional de Narrativa in 2016. Join us in this event to discuss her work and the recent English translation of La habitación de Nona.

Translation workshop with Margaret Jull Costa, 2pm-3pm, Location: Trent C40. Limited spaces. By invitation only.

Literary round table: La habitación de Nona (Nona’s Room),4pm – 5pm. Location: Hemsley B2. With Cristina Fernández Cubas (Premio Nacional de Narrativa, 2016) and translators Kathryn Phillips-Miles and Simon Deefholts. Discussion in Spanish and English followed by a wine reception. All welcome but please register on Eventbrite.

This event is part of the research project Gender and the Fantastic in Hispanic Studies supported by the British Academy. Other sponsors: Grupo de Estudios sobre lo Fantástico, Grupo de Estudios Multitextuales de lo Insólito y Perspectivas de Género, BETA: Asociación de Jóvenes Doctores en Hispanismo.

Invited translators:

Margaret Jull Costa has been a literary translator for over 30 years and has translated works by novelists such as Eça de Queiroz, José Saramago, Javier Marías and Teolinda Gersão, as well as poets such as Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen and Ana Luísa Amaral. She has won various prizes, most recently the 2017 Best Translation Book Award for her co-translation with Robin Patterson of Lúcio Cardoso’s novel Chronicle of the Murdered House.. In 2013 she was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and in 2014 was awarded an OBE for services to literature. In 2015 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Leeds.She is currently Honorary Professor in Translation Studies at the University of Nottingham.

Kathryn Phillips-Miles and Simon Deefholts both studied Romance Languages and Literature at University College of Wales, Aberystwyth and later at Birkbeck College, University of London. They have enjoyed varied careers including teaching, translation, lexicography and finance, and have spent several years living and working in Spain. They have jointly translated a number of plays for the Spanish Theatre Festival of London as well as the three works comprising the Spanish Season in Peter Owen Publishers’ World Series of literature in translation: Nona’s Room by Cristina Fernández Cubas, Wolf Moon by by Julio Llamazares and Inventing Love by José Ovejero.