What Happens Now: 21st Century Writing in English

3rd International conference Conference 14 July 2014 17 July 2014

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Call for Papers

The Call for Papers is now closed and we are no longer accepting proposals. A draft programme will appear in April. If you have a query, please contact the conference organisers - Dr Siân Adiseshiah, Dr Martin Eve, Dr Rupert Hildyard, and Dr Agnes Woolley - through the following email address: WHN@lincoln.ac.uk

Confirmed keynote speakers:

  • Robert Eaglestone, Professor of Contemporary Literature and Thought, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Imogen Tyler, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Lancaster University
  • Colette Conroy, Senior Lecturer in Drama, University of Hull
  • Paul Farley, Professor of Poetry, Lancaster University
  • Derek Attridge, Professor of English, University of York

...and a performance of What Happens to the Hope at the End of the Evening by Tim Crouch and Andy Smith.


The third international What Happens Now conference will provide a forum in which to discuss, reflect on, and review creative literary and dramatic work in English, published since the year 2000. The principal aim of this conference series is to contribute to the canon formation process by which the significant and innovative writers and dramatists of the new millennium are discovered and discussed, and to begin to identify new patterns, clusters, trends and paradigms in contemporary prose, poetry and drama.

We welcome papers discussing the full range of literary and dramatic expression produced from the mainstream to the margins, including:

historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy, utopian and dystopian writing, life writing, children’s literature, travel writing, graphic novels, flash fiction, romantic fiction, crime writing, verbatim drama, musical theatre, post-dramatic theatre, technologically mediated performance, electronically mediated text, performance poetry, and poetic dialogue.

Alongside the analysis of literature and drama in all its forms, this conference is also keen to explore evolving debates in critical theory and the teaching of 21st-century writing.

Suggestions for areas of discussion include, but are not limited to:

What happens now

  • Terror and catastrophe
  • Environmental endgame
  • Globalization and consumerization
  • The Financial Crisis
  • Austerity politics
  • 21st-century demographies.

Genre and Form

  • Mainstream and experimental, popular and avant-garde
  • New genres/forms
  • Mixing genres/forms, fact/fiction
  • Re-emergence of older forms
  • New technologies and form
  • Adaptation.

Contexts of Literature

  • Individuals, communities, and institutions in a marketized world
  • New conceptions of time
  • Spatial struggles: occupations and riots
  • Digital culture
  • Self-publishing and the economics of production.

Politics and identity

  • Political impotence, political agency
  • 21C racisms
  • Return of the violent right
  • Religious returns/postsecularism
  • Class abjects
  • (Dis)ability and Critical Disability Theory
  • Global injustice and postmillennial subalternity
  • Bioscience, Butlerism and the politics of reproduction
  • Misogyny and the pornography of consumer culture.

Literary and Cultural Theory

  • Recent theorists (Giorgio Agamben, Antonio Negri, Jacques Rancière, Alain Badiou, Judith Butler, Slavoj Žižek Gilles Deleuze, Timothy Morton, Bruno Latour, Peter Sloterdijk, David Abram)
  • Recent theories (Hybrid/Diaspora/Gender/transgender/Trauma and testimonial criticisms/Ecocriticism/Cybercriticism)
  • Contemporary applications of older theoretical frameworks (Marxist, feminist, postmodernist, (anti-)humanist, historicist, Lacanian, phenomenological)
  • Critical conversations: dialogues among disciplines.

Teaching 21st Century Writing

  • Pedagogical problems and opportunities
  • Professionalization of creative writing
  • Cutting back on humanities
  • Sources and resources
  • Students as consumers.

Register for this event