CFP: A new ‘feminist’ novel? Popular narratives and the pleasures of reading

CFP: A new ‘feminist’ novel? Popular narratives and the pleasures of reading
9 March 2020, 11.58pm - 11.59pm
Call for Papers

Rescheduled Conference Dates:  16-17 June 2022

REGISTER HERE for the online conference. Full programme available

Keynote speakers:

Serena Todesco (Literary Translator and Independent Researcher in Italian Literature & Gender Studies): 'A Ferrantean Legacy? Contemporary Italian Women's Narratives, or How to Turn Literary Feminism into "Pleasure"'
Agnès Martin-Lugand (French novelist): Reading and Conversation from/on her work. 
Agnès Martin-Lugand is the author of ten successful novels which have been translated into thirty-four languages (

Organisers: Dr Sandra Daroczi (University of Bath) and Dr Adalgisa Giorgio (University of Bath)
This cross-cultural conference takes its cue from the recent popularity of a number of novels focusing on women by authors from around the world, for example Elena Ferrante’s quartet L'amica geniale,  Agnès Martin-Lugand's Les gens heureux lisent et boivent du café, Anna Gavalda’s Ensemble c’est tout, Tatiana de Rosnay’s Elle s’appelait Sarah, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments, Madeline Miller’s Circe, and Rosa Montero’s La carne. The popularity of these novels has been increased by their translations into many languages and their transfer to cinema and the small screen, pointing to their relevance to women’s lives around the globe and sensitizing audiences to old and new feminist issues. The aim of the conference is to explore the recent ‘return to the story’ and the tensions that follow, thus working towards a theorization of the pleasures of reading. The focus is both on the textual and authorial control of the reading process and the readerly power over the text.
Submissions are welcomed across a range of topics and questions including, but not limited to:
• Links between extradiegetic and diegetic readings
• The power of texts to establish a connection with their readers and generate empathy
• To what extent is the act of reading situated in time and place?
• The merging of self-reflexivity and realism in these narratives
• What tropes of classic popular fiction (for example, characters and plot) are being used or remodelled?
• Feminist ideas and ideals present in these popular novels
• What feminist readings, if any, do they encourage?
• How do they pass on feminist messages, if at all?
• What literary strategies do they use to be both popular and (politically) committed?
• Links between commercial success and readers’ empowerment
• Is this literature escapist? Can escapism be productive?
Papers are invited from a range of literatures and languages. The event will be in English.
Proposals of no more than 250 words for 20-minute papers and a short bio should be sent by Monday, 9th of March 2020 to

The conference is funded by the Cassal Endowment Fund of the University of London, and the Politics of Culture and Memory and the Gender & Sexuality Research Clusters of the Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies, University of Bath.

University statement on Senate House protests


Jenny Stubbs
020 7862 8832