Keynote and Plenary Speakers 2014

We are pleased to confirm that the following will be appearing at the inaugural Literature and Physical Culture conference:

Keynote Speakers:

Professor Sarah Churchwell (University of East Anglia)

Sarah Churchwell is Professor of American Literature and Public Understanding of the Humanities at the University of East Anglia. Her research interests are 20th-21st century and contemporary American literature and culture; American film history; gender theory; cultural studies and popular culture; and biography and autobiography. Her new monograph, Careless People, about F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby, was published in 2013 to great acclaim. She is the author of The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe (2004), co-editor of Must Read: Rediscovering the Bestseller (2012), and author of various articles, chapters and introductions.

Professor Churchwell has made many appearances on television; she is a regular panellist on ‘The Review Show’ (BBC2) and has contributed to various film documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, and SkyOne, including Arena’s ‘TS Eliot’ (BBC2), ‘The Rules of Film Noir’ (BBC4), and ‘Unfinished Masterpieces’ (BBC2). She is featured in the film documentary ‘Love, Marilyn’, which appeared in cinemas in 2012 and on HBO in 2013. Also a regular on the radio airwaves her appearances include ‘Any Questions’, ‘Front Row’ and ‘Woman’s Hour’. Her journalism can be found widely in The Guardian, The Independent, The Observer, The Times, The Telegraph, and in specialist publications such as The New Statesman, The New York Times Book Review, The Times Literary Supplement and The Spectator, among others.

Professor Churchwell will be presenting a keynote lecture on physical culture in the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Andrew Lycett (Author, Broadcaster and Biographer)

Educated at Charterhouse and Christ Church, Oxford, where he read Modern History, Andrew Lycett is a revered biographer, author and broadcaster.

After graduating, he travelled in and began writing about India. He has worked in Africa and the Middle East as a foreign correspondent, mainly for The Times and The Sunday Times. Over a period of twenty years he also edited several magazines and other publications dealing primarily with the Arab world. He acted as a consultant to the Economist Intelligence Unit and was a contributing editor of GQ. As a result of regular visits to Libya, he wrote his first book with his Sunday Times colleague, the late David Blundy, Qaddafi and the Libyan Revolution (1987).

Since the mid-1990s, he has concentrated on writing non-fiction. His biographies of literary greats have all been universally celebrated. Rudyard Kipling was the Times Literary Supplement’s International Book of the Year for 1999 as voted for by the influential critic Terry Eagleton, who described it as ‘magisterial’. His other monographs include Ian Fleming (1995), Dylan Thomas: A New Life (2003), Conan Doyle – The Man Who Created Sherlock Holmes (2007) and Kipling Abroad – Traffics and Discoveries from Burma to Brazil (2010). His new biography, Wilkie Collins: A Life of Sensation, is due for publication in September 2013.

Lycett has edited and contributed to several other books, including works for The Folio Society, and he has also contributed to the new Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. His journalistic output includes feature articles, book reviews and radio broadcasts, including Great Lives: Conan Doyle:  on BBC Radio4. He continues to write and review for a large number of newspapers and magazines.

He speaks regularly at international literary festivals and other events on books, biography and international current affairs. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, as well as of the Royal Geographical Society, and is meetings secretary for the Kipling Society. In the summer he can be found somewhere in the Home Counties, keeping wicket for the GTs, a travelling team of cricketers.

Andrew Lycett will be delivering a keynote lecture on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the literary sportsman.

Professor Luke Gibbons (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)

Luke Gibbons, is Professor of Irish Literary and Cultural Studies at the Department of English NUI Maynooth, and formerly taught at the University of Notre Dame, U.S.A., and Dublin City University. He has published widely on Irish culture, film, literature, and the visual arts, as well as on aesthetics and politics.

His publications include Gaelic Gothic: Race, Colonialism and Irish Culture (2004), Edmund Burke and Ireland: Aesthetics, Politics and the Colonial Sublime (2003), The Quiet Man (2002), Transformations in Irish Culture (1996), and co-wrote (with Kevin Rockett and John Hill) Cinema and Ireland (1988), the pioneering study of Irish cinema. He was a contributing editor to Seamus Deane, ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (1991), and has edited two recent collections, Re-Inventing Ireland: Culture, Society and the Global Economy (with Peadar Kirby and Michael Cronin, 2002), and ‘The Theatre of Irish Cinema’ (with Dudley Andrew), a special issue of The Yale Journal of Criticism (2002). He won a Kaneb teaching award at the University of Notre Dame, where he co-supervised over 20 Ph. D dissertations. His research interests include film, modernism, romanticism, aesthetics, visual culture, critical theory and cultural history, particularly as they bear on developments in Irish culture and he is currently working on St Endas, the Body and Modernism.

Professor Gibbons will be presenting a keynote lecture on the body in Joyce, Beckett and Francis Bacon.

Plenary Speakers:

Professor Simon Bainbridge (Lancaster University)

Professor Simon Bainbridge is a Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Lancaster University. Professor Bainbridge’s main research interest is in the relationship between the writing of the Romantic period and its historical contexts. He is the author of British Poetry and the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (2003), Napoleon and English Romanticism (1995) and the editor of Romanticism: A Sourcebook (2008).

He has published his research in journals such as Romanticism, and The Byron Journal and has written essays and entries for The Oxford Handbook to English Literature and Theology (2009), Romanticism: An Oxford Guide (2005), The Blackwell Companion to European Romanticism (2005), and An Oxford Companion to The Romantic Age: British Culture 1776-1832 (2001). He is currently continuing his research into the cultural responses to the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and also working on the literature and culture of mountaineering in the Romantic period. He is a former President of the British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS) having also edited the organisation’s Bulletin and Review for a number of years and acted as its secretary.

Professor Bainbridge will present The Rise of the Romantic Mountaineer.

Professor Tony Collins (De Montfort University)

Professor Tony Collins is the Director of the International Centre for Sports History and Culture at De Montfort University. As a historian, his specialisms include British social history from 1850, British Imperial history and the history of sport.

His most recent work, Sport in Capitalist Society, was published in March 2013, and other critically acclaimed monographs include Rugby’s Great Split: Class, Culture and the Origins of Rugby League Football (1998), Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain (2006), and A Social History of English Rugby Union (2009). These three works saw him become the only triple winner of the Aberdare Prize for sports history book of the year, and the latter was chosen as a sports book of 2009 by The New Statesman, The Guardian and The Independent on Sunday. He is currently writing Rugby: A Global History, for publication by Bloomsbury in 2015. Published articles have appeared in journals including Ethnologie Française, The Historical Journal and Sport in History.

Professor Collins was a co-consultant and contributor to ‘Sport and the British’, a 30-part BBC Radio4 series broadcast in 2012, and was a historical adviser for BBC4’s documentary Eddie Waring: Mr Rugby League (2010). He has featured on ‘Thinking Allowed’ (Radio4), ‘SportsHour’ (BBC World Service) and ABC Radio Australia and appeared on Australian television’s  Channel 9. He is currently engaged in consultancy work for the Rugby Football League, Rugby Football Union, National Football Museum, and the Supreme Court.

Professor Collins will be delivering a plenary paper entitled ‘And we have come into our heritage’: Rugby, the First World War and the Cult of the Fallen.

Professor John Whale (University of Leeds)

Professor John Whale is Professor of Romantic Literature at the University of Leeds, and his research has focused on the interface of literary aesthetics and politics in the Romantic period.

His recent work has taken a new direction: Romantic masculinities, and takes an interest in the autobiographical subject and the nature of male confession. This has now developed to include a historiography of boxing in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Professor Whale is currently working on Romantic period pugilism in relation to masculinity and national identity and has also begun research into the literary culture of Romantic period Liverpool and takes particular interest in William Roscoe and his circle.

He is the author of John Keats (2005), Imagination Under Pressure: Politics, Aesthetics, and Utility 1789-1832 (2000), Thomas De Quincey’s Reluctant Autobiography (1984) and co-edited Beyond Romanticism (1992) with Stephen Copley. Published articles have appeared in journals such as Romanticism and Hazlitt Review, and he has co-edited a special issue of the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies with Dr David Higgins. He is also the Co-Investigator  of an AHRC-funded Research Network entitled ‘Creative Communities, 1750-1830’. Professor Whale has a long-standing interest in contemporary English poetry and is a published poet.  His first collection, Waterloo Teeth, was published in 2010 and was shortlisted for the Forward Best First Collection Prize in 2011; his second, Frieze, is due for publication in September 2013.

Professor Whale will be delivering a plenary paper, Writing Fighting/Fighting Writing 1800-1825.

Dr Vybarr Cregan-Reid (University of Kent)

Dr Vybarr Cregan-Reid is a lecturer and the Co-Director of the Centre for Gender, Sexuality and Writing at the University of Kent. The principal subjects of his research are nineteenth-century literature, landscape, science and anthropology. Other research interests include gender, degeneration and death in Victorian literary and visual culture and he is also interested in Victorian representations of water and the ways in which they are connected to notions of gender, disease, cleanliness, history and the law.

His most recent monograph, Discovering Gilgamesh: Geology, Narrative and the Historical Sublime in Victorian Culture, (due September 2013), focuses on the discovery of The Epic of Gilgamesh in 1872 and the tremendous influence that it exerted upon theories of geology, history, narrative and aesthetics in the Victorian period. He has contributed to The Companion to the British Short Story & Short Fiction (2006), the bestselling 1001 Novels (2006) and has written a chapter on ‘Classic Fiction’ for 501 Books You Must Read, (2006), which was also a bestseller and has been translated into 10 languages.

Dr Cregan-Reid is currently working on his second book, a study of running, being and meaning called Psychojography: the Pursuit of Freedom in the Modern World. He has written articles on swimming in nineteenth-century culture and the significance of the treadmill in literature and culture, and has also published work on Dickens, E.M Forster, Macaulay and Kingsley in journals such as English Literature in Transition and Critical Survey.

Dr Cregan-Reid will present a plenary paper entitled: The Hardy Runner: thinking landscape with the body.

Dr Emelyne Godfrey (Author and Broadcaster)

Dr Emelyne Godfrey is an author and broadcaster who graduated with a PhD in English from Birkbeck College in 2008 and is author of Masculinity, Crime and Self-Defence in Victorian Literature: Duelling with Danger (2011) and Femininity, Crime and Self-Defence in Victorian Literature: From Dagger-Fans to Suffragettes (2013) both published by Palgrave. The first suffragette novel, Elizabeth Robins’s The Convert, has been recently reprinted by Victorian Secrets, accompanied by Emelyne’s notes and introductory comments.

Dr Godfrey was recenty interviewed on Bartitsu for ‘The One Show’ and appeared in the BBC 4 Timeshift documentary, ‘Everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting: The Rise of Martial Arts’. As well as writing dictionary entries, she has contributed to History Today, BBC History Magazine and is a regular reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement. Her latest project is a book-length account of the militant suffragettes.

Dr Godfrey will be presenting a paper entitled Parasols of Fury: Edwardian Crime and Self-Defence and the Rise of the ‘Jujutsu-suffragettes’.

Dr Claire Westall (University of York)

Dr Claire Westall is Lecturer in Contemporary Literature at The University of York. Her research primarily investigates the literary-cultural legacies of British imperialism in contemporary writing, comparatively in relation to Caribbean literature and wider postcolonial/global questions, and in relation to debates about England, Englishness and devolution in Britain.

Dr Westall has written extensively on anglophone Caribbean literature and culture and literary representations of sport and sporting culture, particularly cricket, and is currently working on her first monograph provisionally entitled Cricket, Literature and Postcolonialism: Knowing England, the Caribbean and Britain.

She has co-edited and contributed chapters to Literature of an Independent England (with Michael Gardiner, 2013) and Cross-Gendered Literary Voices: Appropriating, Resisting, Embracing (with Rina Kim, 2012). She has contributed chapters on cricket in literature to Coral Identities: Essays on Indo-Caribbean Literature (2012), The Cambridge Companion to Cricket (2011), The Caribbean Short Story: Critical Perspectives (2011) and Kipling and Beyond: Patriotism, Globalisation and Postcolonialism (2010). Her articles have appeared in journals such as Moving Worlds, Sport in History and Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal.

Dr Westall will present a plenary paper entitled The Legend of W. G. Karunasena: Nationalist Googlies and Drunken Narration in Shehan Karunatilaka’s Chinaman .

Dr Catherine Wynne (University of Hull)

Dr Catherine Wynne is a senior lecturer at The University of Hull, and her research and publications extend across the literary and visual culture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with a particular focus on representations of colony and empire, the Gothic, travel writing and illustration.

Her most recent monograph, Bram Stoker, Victorian Theatre and the Gothic was published in July 2013, and 2012 saw the publication of the two-volume edited collection Bram Stoker and the Stage: Reviews, Reminiscences, Essays and Fiction. Other notable works include The Colonial Conan Doyle: British Imperialism, Irish Nationalism, and the Gothic (2002), Sherlock Holmes and Conan Doyle: Multi-Media Afterlives (with Sabine Vanacker, 2012), and Victorian Literary Mesmerism (with Martin Willis, 2006). She has also contributed chapters to Ellen Terry: Spheres of Influence (2011), Was Ireland a Colony? (2005), Pictures, Migrating Identities (2003) and Devil Himself: Villainy in Detective Fiction and Film (2002). She has published a number of essays on nineteenth-century literature, photography and film that have appeared in journals such as The Kipling Journal, Journal of European Studies, English Literature in Transition and Victorian Review, among others.

Dr Wynne has written and presented an episode of BBC Radio 3’s ‘The Essay’ on Bram Stoker for a series commissioned to mark Stoker’s centenary (April 2012). She also co-wrote and featured in the television documentary Dracula’s Bram Stoker, directed by Sinéad O’Brien  for Ferndale Productions (2003).

Her current monograph, Lady Butler: Painting, Travel, and War, is the first ever biography of Lady Butler and is due for publication in 2014.

Dr Wynne will present a plenary lecture titled: ‘I have perhaps the strongest influence over young men, especially young athletic sporting men, of anyone in England, (bar Kipling)’: Conan Doyle’s Fighting Bodies


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