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School of English news - March-April 2017

Short Story Collection

Douglas Dunn short storiesProfessor Douglas Dunn, former Head of the School of English, has published his first collection of selected short stories, The Bagpiping People, with Turnpike Books. Widely considered one of the finest poets of our time, this collection of Douglas's stories is drawn from two previous volumes published in 1985 and 1995, as well as from stories published in The New Yorker. Set in Scotland, with many depicting his natal Renfrewshire, the stories focus on family secrets and the hidden desires of individuals, capturing the bonds and tensions of family and community life, as well as the possibility of righting the wrongs of the past. From the parental self-deceptions and the growing independence of a child depicted in 'Bobby's Room', to the description of the Scotland that lies behind that seen by tourists in 'The Canoes', each story portrays a whole, vivid world that allows a glimpse into an individual life, while simultaneously asserting the individuality of that life.

Zinnie Harris at the Lyceum Theatre

As part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, Zinnie Harris will be directing the Scottish premiere of A Number, written by acclaimed contemporary playwright Caryl Churchill whose recent Escaped Alone won Best Play at the Writers’ Guild Awards. A Number premiered in 2002 at The Royal Court Theatre in London where it won the Evening Standard Award for Best Play. Zinnie Harris's own recent play The Restless House is one of ten plays currently shortlisted for the prestigious international Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. A Number will run at the Lyceum Theatre from April 6th to 15th.

BBC Audio Drama Award for Oliver Emmanuel

'Emile Zola: Blood, Sex and Money', for which Oliver Emmanuel was a lead writer, has won the category for Best Adaptation in the BBC Audio Drama Awards. The series, which starred Glenda Jackson, adapted all twenty novels of Emile Zola's epic Rougon-Macquart family saga and was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2015-2016. Oliver’s blog post about the writing of the series can be read here:

Translation in the Middle Ages

Dr Ian Johnson photoFrom 15th to 18th March, Dr Ian Johnson will be attending the Eleventh Cardiff Conference on the Theory and Practice of Translation in the Middle Ages, The Medieval Translator: Medieval Translations and their Readership, hosted by the Austrian Academy of Sciences/ÖAW Institute for Medieval Research, Vienna. Ian will be speaking on 'Rendering Readers' Soulscapes: Variant Translation of Interiority in Late Medieval English and Scottish Literary Culture’. His paper addresses the issue of how in late medieval English and Scottish literary culture each choice of translation -- down to the smallest preposition, modulation of tone or shift of voice -- affects the configuration of reader interiorities, especially in contemplative, meditative or allegorical works.

Keynote on Postmodernist Biofiction

Susan SellersOn March 25th, Professor Susan Sellers will be a keynote speaker at a one-day conference on 'Postmodernist Biofiction' at the University of Reading, where she will be discussing her novel Vanessa and Virginia as well as current work. The other keynote speakers will be novelists Maggie Gee and David Lodge.

Graeme Macrae Burnet in conversation with Professor Sally Mapstone

Graeme Macrae BurnetAll are welcome to hear Graeme Macrae Burnet, author of the Booker Prize nominated His Bloody Project, in conversation with the Principal, Professor Sally Mapstone.

Booth lecture Theatre, Medical Building
Tuesday 4 April

Graeme was brought up Kilmarnock. Ayrshire and now lives in Glasgow. He has also lived in the Czech Republic, France, Portugal and London.

A former TV researcher, English teacher and bookseller, his French-set debut The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau was a cult hit and won him a Scottish Book Trust New Writers’ Award. His second novel, His Bloody Project, was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker prize, the LA Times Crime Book of the Year, and won the Satire Prize for Fiction. It has been variously described as "astonishing", "fiendishly readable", "spellbinding" and "masterly", and is set to be translated into more than a dozen languages.

He is currently working on a follow-up to The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau, entitled The Accident on the A35.

Postgraduate News

Kate Bone, Rosa Campbell and Jess Orr (all PhD students in the School of English) are currently running poetry workshops as part of StAnza International Poetry Festival's Poetry Book Group. This group is open to members of the public and meets three times in the lead up to the festival to read and discuss the work of participating poets. So far poets covered in the workshops have included Sarah Howe, David Wilson, Kayo Chingonyi and Alice Oswald. The StAnza International Poetry Festival is held at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews from 1st to 5th March.

Jess Orr has also been organising literature events for the Audacious Women Festival in Edinburgh, which ran from the 18th-26th February, and included a public workshop on 'Stories from Scotland's Audacious Women' on Saturday 18th February at the City Art Centre. Full details of all the events can be found at:

Florence Hazrat has been offered a fully-funded place at the spring symposium The Embodied Senses at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D. C. for May 2017. This interdisciplinary programme includes papers and workshops, and integrates sensory perception with conceptual fields of enquiry such as selfhood, memory, and performance theory. Further information can be found here:

Alumna news

Jane Austin and PerformanceMarina Cano, who completed her Ph. D. with the School on Jane Austen, has published a monograph entitled Jane Austen and Performance with Palgrave Macmillan. Marina's book explores the performative and theatrical force of Austen's work and its afterlife, from the nineteenth century to the present. It unearths new and little-known Austen materials: from suffragette novels and pageants to school and amateur theatricals, passing through mid-twentieth-century representations in Scotland and America, and concluding with an examination of Austen fandom based on an online survey conducted by the author, which elicited over 300 responses from fans across the globe.