Symposium Retrospective: ‘Sister Earth: Global Relationships in Contemporary Women’s Writing’

Clearly conference season is in full swing, with this being my third event retrospective in a row. This will be my last for a while, as term gets going here and I feel more pressure to knuckle down to the proper business of doctoral study.

‘Sister Earth’ was arranged by PG CWWN with the support of the Goldsmiths English and Comparative Literature Department, and it was held on the 26th April. The event wasn’t really in my subject area as it attracted papers with a more post-colonial focus. I attended since I’m on the steering group of the PG CWWN, and because being knowingly ignorant and a little outside your comfort zone is good.

The panels included papers on Egyptian women writers and their relationship with the West and Islam, the romance narrative in African novels, Doris Lessing and positionality, Latino-American memoirs and fiction and hybridity in myth, Christianity and Hindu experiences. I particularly enjoyed hearing about an interactive novel/’building site’/readers’ text by Suniti Namjoshi which you can see yourself here. I like the idea of an invitation to continue it at the end of a novel; which isn’t a million miles away from the screen at the end of texts I read on my Kindle which invites me to tweet/share that I’ve finished that book.

The keynote was a reading and Q and A with author Bernardine Evaristo. I’ve been a fan of her work for several years – I found her verse novels in particular totally engrossing, and Blonde Roots is an excellent subversion of the slave trade which really challenges our racial hierarchies, but with a lightness of humour. Bernardine’s answers in conversation were engaging and generous. I tweeted some of the comments on behalf of PG CWWN.

Amy Rushton in conversation with Bernardine Evaristo

All in all, it was another great day meeting and mingling with other academics. However, as nice as my outings are, I really must get back to writing my thesis now. Honest.

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