British Council Literature Seminar
#BritLitMunich 2018 chaired by Robert Macfarlane
"British literature has been powerfully reshaped by a surge of reaction to the living world. The last two decades in the UK have seen an extraordinary resurgence of what has become popularly known as 'nature writing', but might also be called the 'literature of landscape' or 'place-writing'. Across non-fiction, fiction, poetry, drama, performance and cross-media forms, writers have turned their attentions to the complex questions of our relationships with the more-than-human world of weather, climate, land and creaturely life. Love, fear, hope, loss, belonging, de-racination, identification, alienation, care, naming, state power, childhood, conservatism, radicalism, the Anthropocene...the subjects of this new literature are hugely various, often political, and very contemporary. The roots of this writing, though, go back as far as the early Celtic Christian poetry of the sixth to ninth centuries AD." - Robert Macfarlane
#BritLitBerlin 2018 chaired by Bernardine Evaristo
"The 2018 seminar will be an exploration of some of the ways in which British writers are exploring gender and sexuality in the twenty-first century. We will look at the current conversations around gender identity that have been gaining ground in the mainstream recently, including the challenge to the social construction of gender binaries. As the spectrum and categories of transgender identities and LGBTQ+ sexualities continue to revolutionise how we define ourselves as humans, we will examine how this is being played out in literature. At the same time feminism has recently enjoyed a rebirth and gone mainstream. The post-feminist era is over and young women, in particular, are taking ownership of Fourth Wave Feminism, a shift as individualised as each proponent. We will ask how this is being addressed by writers of fiction and poetry, whose work appears to subscribe to a range of feminist ideas or ideals. We will ask how we can create literature that is complex and nuanced, while also being consciously political. As notions of masculinity and femininity are called into question, subverted, rejected and expanded, we will examine the decisions we make that inform our literature in this regard. Who and what do we write about? What fictional characters do we create, and why? What are the self-imposed limits that determine whether or how we write across gender and sexuality? And what are our responsibilities as writers when addressing these issues? Finally, what are the expectations imposed upon us by the reading public and the publishing industry to write from a perspective that correlates to our (cis) gender?" - Bernardine Evaristo
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