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PG presentation at ‘Fast Forward: Women’s Writing in the 21st Century’ conference

School of Culture & Communication and GOIPG student Paula McGrath recently presented a paper to ‘Fast Forward: Women’s Writing in the 21st Century’ conference, which took place 8th-9th September at Sheffield Hallam University.

The conference was organised by the PG CWWN (Postgraduate Contemporary Women’s Writing Network), and sought to position the post-2000 work of established authors alongside the field’s new voices in order to facilitate a conversation about the present state, and possible futures, of women’s writing.

Postgraduates and academics from universities across the UK, as well as Greece and Ireland (UL), presented papers on the work of Ali Smith, Zadie Smith, Miriam Toews, Rita Wong, Aritha van Herk, and Chris Kraus, among others, provoking stimulating discussions. An inspiring keynote from Dr. Anna Ball (Nottingham Trent University) explored the theme of flight: ‘Wingwomen: Towards a Contemporary Feminist Politics of Flight in Twenty-First Century Women’s Writing’. For many participants, a highlight of the event was a poetry workshop and reading, led by Welsh poet Emily Blewitt, during which some new poems came into being (and new poets, perhaps).

Paula’s paper, ‘Mining the Critical for the Creative: Trauma in A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing’, the first from her doctoral research, contrasted strategies used by Eimear McBride to represent trauma in her novel A Girl is a Half-formed Thing with those used by Annie Ryan in the stage adaptation, within the context of current literary trauma theory. She is grateful to the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences for financial support, to Annie Ryan for giving so generously of her time and thoughts, and for providing a video recording of the play, and to Dr Tina O’Toole for invaluable feedback and presentation tips.

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