This page provides information on events organised by the CCWW, and comprises event details, the papers presented as well as links to podcasts and event reports hosted elsewhere. 


‘Damals, dann und danach’. Symposium in Honour of the 70th Birthday of Barbara HonigmannGeorg Cover

25 February 2019 | Venue: IMLR, University of London

The symposium was organised as an academic assessment, but also as a celebration of Barbara Honigmann’s writing. The texts discussed on the day ranged from her earliest to her latest published, covering a multitude of aspects of Honigmann’s work, and considering her as one of the best-known Jewish authors writing in German, but also as an indispensable part of the canon of writers who grew up in the GDR and left that country before its demise. The perspective she brings to both themes is distinctively, but not stridently, feminine. At the time of her birthday she will have been living and writing for 35 years in Strasbourg, so her work is of central importance for all those working in diasporic literature. Because she draws extensively on her own experience in her writing, her work is a rich source for thinking about autobiography and autofiction. A major theme of her work is concerned with the extraordinary lives and personalities of her parents, and the event was fittingly rounded off with a reading by Barbara Honigmann of extracts from her latest book, Georg, which follows the life of her father. Following the reading, Honigmann discussed issues of translation with her translator Judith Köhler.

Papers presented
Martin Brady (London):  ‘Das kann und darf nicht wahr sein’: Barbara Honigmann’s Stage Adaptation of Das singende springende Löweneckerchen
Rapha Hoffmann (Leipzig): Signed out of the GDR. Die jüdische Perspektive in Roman von einem Kinde
Margaret May (London): ‘Die banalen Wörter “aus nichts”’: Exploring the Sophisticated Simplicity of Barbara Honigmann’s Narrative Style
Malte Osterloh (Private Scholar): Erinnerung als Erlösung. Autobiographie und Heilserwartung im Werk Barbara Honigmanns
Withold Bonner (Tampere): ‘Vielleicht ist es mein Großvater. Vielleicht auch nicht.‘ Fotografien und Postmemory in Texten von Barbara Honigmann
Reinhard Zachau (Sewanee, TN): Barbara Honigmann’s German-Jewish Project
Lauren Hansen (Florida): Migration as Textual Strategy in Barbara Honigmann’s Eine Liebe aus nichts
Robert Gillett (London): 'Très affectueusement': Letters and Letter-Writing in the Work of Barbara Honigmann
Godela Weiss-Sussex (London), Space, Time and Language in Das überirdische Licht
Katja Garloff (Portland, OR): On Diasporic Place-Making: Barbara Honigmann’s Chronik meiner Straße
Tarek Mahmoudi (Berlin): Rue Edel, 67000 Strasbourg: Akkulturation im Mikrokosmos einer Straße
Derek Wiebke (Seattle): (Dis)Locating Minor Literature in Barbara Honigmann’s Chronik meiner Straße


Bilingual Writing by Contemporary Women Writers

30 November 2018 | Venue: IMLR, University of London

This symposium was part of the recent shift away from ideas of ‘national’ literatures and the heightened interest on the part of leading scholars in the ‘global turn’ and in the transnational encounters, border crossings and migrations that influence literary creation. The event was a collaboration between the CCWW and the French Department of the University of Cardiff which hosted the 2018-19 Society for French Studies International Visiting Fellow, Dr Natalie Edwards (University of Adelaide). One of several events that took place during Dr Edwards’s stay in the UK, it focused on her current intellectual interests, and was designed to encourage the participation of early career as well as established scholars in the field, to foster their engagement with current research on bilingualism in contemporary women’s writing. It interrogated life writing by bilingual women authors from a wide variety of standpoints and generated rich debate on the elastic idea, and the politics of translation. Delegates discussed how bilingual writers choose the language in which they write, how their bilingualism affects their writing and how this writing challenges paradigms in literary studies. The event concluded with a round-table discussion on extracts demonstrating strategic use of bilingualism from Lydie Salvayre’s Goncourt-winning novel Pas pleurer. Finally, Antonia Wimbush (Birmingham) and Ashwiny Kistnareddy (Cambridge) summed up the key points emerging during the proceedings and gave their thoughts as to future research directions. The symposium was generously supported by the Cassal Trust Fund

Papers presented
Antonia Wimbush (Birmingham): Gisèle Pineau: A Transnational, Translingual Writer?
Christopher Hogarth (South Australia): ‘Causer des migraines à Léopold Sédar Senghor?’ The use of African languages in Fatou Diome’s prose
Natalie Edwards (Adelaide): Bilingual Life Writing by Maryse Condé
Fiona Cox (Exeter): Translation, Creativity and Grief in the work of Josephine Balmer
Julia Waters (Reading): Ananda Devi and Self-Translation
Julie Rodgers (Maynooth): Ying Chen and the linguistic ‘entre-deux’
Nicole Fayard (Leicester): Translating Words into Action: The Suggestive Power of Language in Marie Nimier’s L’Hypnotisme à la portée de tous
Sandra Daroczi (Bath): Autobiographical projections in Julia Kristeva’s fiction

LGBT and Parenting: an Emerging ThemeMyriam Blanc book image

19 October 2018 | Venue: IMLR, University of London

The focus of this seminar was on representations of LGBT families across a range of female-authored works, including Irish poetry, children’s literature in France and Austria, and contemporary French and Italian women’s fiction. Its speakers included a poet and a novelist who have sought to express their own experiences of lesbian parenting in literary form. The keynote speaker, Myriem Blanc, is the author of a ground-breaking non-fiction novel about her own experience of bringing up children with her wife in the south of France. The seminar was rich, broad-ranging and cohesive, allowing for in-depth discussion between participants and other attendees, and will have an impact as an intellectual, social and networking opportunity, givimg impetus to an emerging theme in contemporary women’s writing still in its infancy.  The event was generously supported by the Cassal Trust. A publication (an edited special issue of a journal or an edited volume)  is expected to arise from the


Papers presented
Elizabeth Quirke (Galway): Beyond ‘the Transgressor Mother’: Situating Non-Biological Lesbian Motherhood within Irish Poetry
Georg Huemer (Sorbonne): LGBT+ Parenting in Contemporary Austrian Children’s and Youth Literature
Robert Payne (Haute-Alsace): ‘Not All Families Are the Same’: Same-Sex Parenting in Children’s Literature in France
Myriam Blanc (author): The Women Had Lots of Children: The Story of a Same-Sex-Parent Family: Testimony or 'Non-Fictional Novel'?
Jasmine Cooper (Cambridge): An Exploration of Queer Childlessness in Contemporary French Women’s Writing
Charlotte Ross (Birmingham): Melancholy and Mourning: Italian Literary Representations of LGBTQ Parenting


Women in Transition – Crossing Borders, Crossing BoundariesWomen in Transition

20-22 September 2018 | Venues: King's College London / St Peter's College, Oxford | Organisers: Maria-José Blanco and Claire Williams

The conference took place firstly at King’s College London, and then at St Peter’s College, Oxford, with academics, artists and professionals from various different sectors coming together from all over the world to discuss and reflect on the immensely broad and varied notion of transition, and, more specifically, how this is and has been experienced by women. This event brought together scholars and students of literature as well as writers and colleagues from the social sciences (sociologists, psychotherapists and clinicians). The thematic focus on 'transition' in women’s lives included the presentation of research on how women have crossed biological, geopolitical, political borders as well as emotional, sexual, cultural and linguistic boundaries. Established writers, filmmakers and artists from several different countries added very valuable discussions of the practice of representing one’s own life, and the transitions one has gone through. 26 academic papers were interspersed with a film screening by Catalan film-maker Mònica Rovira, an interactive performance piece by the Istanbul Queer Art Collective, the inauguration of a temporary exhibition (Representatives) showing work by London-based Brazilian women artists, readings and conversations with Spanish author Marta Sanz and English author Joanna Walsh, and the launch of a collection of short-stories by contemporary Portuguese women writers, translated into English by Margaret Jull Costa. The transitions explored ranged from the corporeal and psychological – puberty and the menopause, motherhood, confrontations with pain and health diagnoses – to geographical, cultural and linguistic dislocations, as well as sexual, romantic and relational transitions, and also an exploration of the frontiers between various different art-forms and genres. With the conference’s rich and powerful theme serving as a description of not only its academic focus but also many of its participants’ own identities as women in transition (between countries, languages, life-stages, professional quarters, etc), the atmosphere which developed across the course of the three days was one of refreshingly open and engaged dialogue, in which the personal and professional came together to academically and artistically fruitful, thought-provoking and greatly enjoyable effect. It remains to be seen whether the meeting of frontiers – between different institutions, disciplines and fields of study at this conference will prompt further interaction and future collaborations – an extension of the conference’s own temporal and spatial limits such as this deeply creative and constructive event deserves. 





Sketching / Scripting Women Goblet

Seminar Series | Organiser: Catriona MacLeod

In 2017 the CCWW launched a new initiative: a series of seminars dedicated to studying female-authored graphic novels, beginning with a focus on the French bande dessinée. Since the mid-1990s, female artists have become an increasingly visible presence in the French-language graphic novel, an art form with which women were previously rarely associated, yet research concerning the work of Francophone female graphic novelists, whilst slowly increasing, remains sparse. The primary goal of these seminars was therefore to contribute to the development of research into this socially, culturally and aesthetically significant area. Two seminars were held in the academic year 2017-18, one in London and one in Paris, each exploring the work of a prominent creator who was present to discuss her work with the audience. Both events were generously supported by the Cassal Trust Fund. The seminars are expected to contribute to a publication advancing the understanding of Francophone bandes dessinées written by women.

Dominique Goblet on her Graphic Novels
27 October 2017 | Venue: IMLR, Senate House, London.

At this seminar Belgian graphic novelist Dominique Goblet spoke about her œuvre, including the recent translation of her bande dessinée Faire semblant, c’est mentir into English. The presentation was followed by discussion on the specifics of this text and on female-authored graphic novels more generally.


Johanna Achipper on her Graphic Novels
23 March 2018 | Venue: ULIP

Johanna Schipper, a Dutch-born artist who writes in French, spoke about her œuvre. Schipper was the first recipient of the Prix Artémisia, an award created to honour the best female-created bande dessinée published each year. She discussed her work as a female artist in the French industry (publicly accused of ingrained sexism in 2016 following the lack of inclusion of any female artists on the shortlist for the Grand Prix at the Angoulême festival) and as an artist (and sometimes translator) of bandes dessinées writing in her second language. The seminar attracted a diverse audience, including participants familiar with the French bande dessinée industry and those interested in questions of language and bilingualism. This event forms part of the University of London’s year-long celebrations, Leading Women, marking 150 years since the first female students were admitted into higher education in the UK. 



Disorderly Eating : Food and Disruption in Contemporary Women's Writing

Symposium | 1 December 2017 | Venue: IMLR, University of London | Organiser: Shirley Jordan

This cross-cultural symposium explored some of the increasingly disturbing ways in which contemporary women’s writing, both fictional and non-fictional, turns its attention to our relationship with food. In recent years an increasing number of fictional and autobiographical works by women have grappled with the difficult subject of eating disorders, especially anorexia nervosa, and there is a growing body of scholarship in this area. This event set out to expand the focus on disorderly eating, to look not only at, but also beyond clinically-diagnosable cases and to investigate the wider spectrum of other accounts of disorder that are elaborated in a range of contemporary women’s writing through a focus on food. The event concluded with a round table and discussion about future research directions. The event was generously supported by the Cassal Trust Fund. A co-edited special issue with critical introduction and additional articles has been submitted for publication in a leading Modern Languages journal.

Papers presented
Ruth Cruickshank (RHUL): Who’s Messed Up? From Ernaux’s Disordered Eating to Feminist Approaches to Food in Late-capitalist France  
Sandra Daroczi (Exeter): Food and Societal (Dis)Order in Darrieussecq’s Works
Abigail Lee Six (RHUL): Predatory Consumption in Gema del Prado Marugán, Comer con los ojos (2016)
Judith Still (Nottingham): The Solitary Pleasure of a Mère de famille OR Disorderly Eating in Marie NDiaye’s ‘La Gourmandise’
Heike Bartel (Nottingham): Re-assessing Gender through Writing about Male Eating Disorders



A New Language - A New Life? Translingual Literature by Contemporary Women Writers

Symposium | 1 March 2018 | IMLR, University of London | Organiser: Godela Weiss-Sussex

This symposium brought together scholars working on translingual women’s writing in the language fields of Italian, French and German and explored the particular richness of texts produced by writers in languages that are not their mother tongues. It was conceived as a springboard for a larger international conference on women’s translingual writing, planned for 2019, and was organised by the CCWW as part of the AHRC-funded Open World Research Initiative project ‘Cross-Language Dynamics - Reshaping Communities’, and generously supported by the Cassal Trust Fund.

Papers presented
Anne Fleig (FU Berlin): New Language and Female Voice – Heteroglossia in the Writings of Emine Sevgi Özdamar and Yoko Tawada
Mary Gallagher (University College Dublin): Nancy Huston on Othering the Mother-Tongue
Maria Cristina Seccia (Hull): Translingualism as Reparation in Shirin Ramzanali Fazel’s Nuvole sull’Equatore
Godela Weiss-Sussex (IMLR, London): Translingual Creativity and Belonging in Katja Petrowskaja’s Vielleicht Esther (2014)
Anna-Louise Milne (ULIP): Plural Subjectivities, or 'Writing With'



Contemporary Jewish Women's Writing in Germany and Austria - A 'Minor' Literature?

Workshop | 27 April 2018 | IMLR, University of London |Organisers: Maria Roca Lizarazu and Godela Weiss-Sussex

This workshop explored whether the label and concept of a ‘minor’ literature (Deleuze/Guattari, 1975) can be usefully applied when examining contemporary Jewish women’s writing in Germany and Austria. As women, Jewesses and migrants, many of these writers belong to a whole range of minority groups, while also being firmly embedded in the literary market, as the success and public visibility of Funk, Grjasnowa, Gorelik or Petrowskaja demonstrates. Questions raised included: What – if anything – makes their writing ‘minor’? How can we conceptualise the relationship between being ‘minor’/writing ‘minor’ literature and contributing to the mainstream? How do these writers negotiate the various and intersecting components of their identities? And how does their writing contribute to and re-calibrate our understanding of German-and Austrian-Jewish literature more generally? The workshop concluded with a reading by the Berlin author Mirna Funk. Publication in preparation. 

Papers presented
Anita Bunyan (Cambridge): Minor, Mainstream or Situational? The Narratives of Eva Menasse
Myrto Aspioti (Oxford): The Identity Politics of Uncertainty: Eva Menasse’s Quasikristalle
Paul Hoehn (Berkeley): Katja Petrowskaja and the Labour of Kinship
Maria Roca Lizarazu (Warwick/IMLR): Between Minority and the Mainstream – Constructions of Jewishness in the Contemporary German Media Landscape
Mirna Funk (Berlin): Autobiografie als Schlüssel zu einer Geschichte über die Welt
Lena Ekelund (Independent Researcher): Daughter’s Voices: Translation, Genealogy and Intertextual Networks as Techniques of Transmission
Kerstin Steitz (Virginia): Aesthetic and Literary Traditions in Mirna Funk’s Winternähe
Annette Bühler-Dietrich (Stuttgart/Ouagadougou):  ‘Hast du nicht alle zu Hause’ – Sprache und Gleichgewicht in Katja Petrowskaja’s Vielleicht Esther



Women's Writing and Science

Symposium | 18 May 2018 | Venue: IMLR, University of London | Organiser: Jean Conacher

The world of science, traditionally dominated by men, has proven a fruitful domain for women writers. In exploring the work of a range of contemporary women writers from different cultural contexts who engage with science, this symposium engendered discussion around topics such as the portrayal of women scientists (woman as scientist/scientist as woman); literary engagement with scientific themes; Creativity in science and fiction inter-relations and mutual gains; commonalities between specific sciences and literary fiction; and the scientific lens and its impact on writing fiction (genre, narrative choices). Through the encounter with practitioners (novelist and creative writing teacher Aifric Campbell and science student Anita Chandran), the symposium facilitated a lively dialogue between academic consideration of the topic and the exploration of possibilities of mutual enrichment.

Papers presented
Benjamin Dalton (KCL): Forms of Freedoms: The Plasticities of Catherine Malabou and Marie Darrieussecq
Sonja Stojanovic (Nôtre Dame): Bodies in Conflict in Élisabeth Filhol’s La Centrale [The Nuclear Power Plant]
Aifric Campbell and Anita Chandran (Imperial,London): Creative Writing and Scientific Identity
Jean E. Conacher (Limerick/CCWW): Processes of Recovery in Helga Königsdorf’s Respektloser Umgang [Fission]
Emily Jeremiah (RHUL): Transpositions: Ulrike Draesner's Aesthetics of Encounter
Karen Leeder (Oxford): Twin Spin: The Role of Science in Ulrike Draesner’s Poetry