April 17, 2010


14th-15th JUNE  2010 University of GlasgowKeynote panellists include Michael Schmidt, Michael Symmons-Roberts,
Kei Miller, Sara Maitland and Michelene Wandor.

“…there is no reading of a work which is not also a ‘re-writing’.”

– Terry Eagleton

A recent exhibition at the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art consisted of a bible, laid open alongside a supply of pens, with the invitation, “If you feel you’ve been excluded from the Bible, please feel free to find a way to write yourself back in.” The comments scribbled in the margins—and the very notion of ‘writing in the Bible’—became the subject of a widespread controversy, resulting in the gallery’s decision to place this bible inside a perspex cube, effectively sealing it off and protecting it from what might be deemed ‘undesirable’ commentary. Visitors were still invited to write comments, but now they were written on sheets of paper that were then selected by gallery staff and inserted between the bible’s pages.

In light of this very present debate, Re-Writing the Bible: Devotion, Diatribe and Dialogue invites poets, writers, and scholars to engage with interdisciplinary questions surrounding the phenomena of retellings or revisions of Bible in creative writing. These retellings have a heritage that, arguably, starts within the books of the Bible itself and stretches across many literatures and traditions; poets and writers in every age filter biblical themes and images through the
focus of their own period and practice. Dante, Milton, Bunyan, Blake, Yeats, Owen, H.D, Plath, Kinsella, Hill; the list is long, diverse, and continues to grow.

This symposium asks why contemporary writers have chosen to rework this particular source text, and what stances they have taken towards it: faithful, using creative writing as a means of prayerful reflection or theological exegesis? Or furious, a railing against the Bible’s injustices and absences? Or a mixture of both, a sometimes difficult, sometimes delightful kind of dialogue? If every reading is also a re-writing, then it follows that every re-writing is also a reading, and for this reason many biblical scholars are fascinated by the literary ‘afterlives’ of the scriptures, the ways in which the Bible is sustained by creative imaginations in cultural settings and times very distant from its own writing and compilation.

We are seeking 20-minute papers from a variety of disciplines and perspectives, including but not limited to: literature, theology, biblical studies, critical and cultural theory, history, politics, and so on. We will consider papers on all forms of ‘creative writing’: poetry, novel, short story, sermon, liturgy, prayers, songs, political writing, theatre, and so on. Our emphasis is on twentieth and twenty-first century works, but we will also consider abstracts on rewritings from other periods. We would be particularly interested in papers looking at spaces that often go unexplored by research in retelling and revisioning, such as biblical romance novels, evangelical speculative fiction, biblical archetypes in autobiography, contemporary liturgy, or popular music. There is the possibility that proceedings will be published.

Please send abstracts (approx. 200 words) to, by no later than 19th April 201

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Gregynog Hall

Gregynog Hall

Recycling Myths, Inventing Nationshisto

14th to 16th July 2010

The organisers of Recycling Myths, Inventing Nations would like to invite proposals for panels and papers that explore myth and myth-making in all its guises. The conference will bring together scholars working across creative and critical disciplines, historical periods and theoretical approaches in order to explore the links between story-telling, mythology, histories, identities and ideologies.
A montage depicting images of Brittania, Oedipus and unkown Hindu Goddess (probably Lakshmi or Parvati).

The organisers welcome contributions that will explore these issues in ways that will engage with current and emerging scholarly dialogues and demonstrate the diverse range of approaches being adopted in the study of mythology, both in contemporary culture and cultures of the past. Proposals should raise new questions and ideas in relation to the cultural, social and political functions of myth; the “recycling” of stories; the formation of “invented” identities and the multivalent relationships between mythology, history, fact and fiction.

We are delighted to announce that Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Columbia University), Professor Murray Pittock (University of Glasgow) and Alastair Reynolds have agreed to act as keynote speakers for this event.

Suggested themes include;

* the ways in which writers draw on myths to retell the stories of people and nations
* the re-inscription of myths in fiction as a challenge to “official” history
* the use of myth by writers to represent new kinds of personal or collective identity
* using myth as a way to rethink literary traditions
* the fictional critique of myth and its politics
* the links between story-telling, mythology, identity and history
* mythologising origin or originary culture
* the supernatural in relation to origin and ancestral identity
* recycling mythologies to reflect contemporary political, cultural and global crises.

We welcome proposals, in the form of a 250 word abstract on any of these topics, or a related area. The deadline for abstracts is 30th November 2009. Proposals, expressions of interest and enquiries by email to

To be held at Gregynog Hall, the University of Wales Conference Centre, near Tregynon in Powys.

Images courtesy of the Wellcome Library, London and the University of Wales.
Contact Details
Recycling Myths, Inventing Nations
Department of English & Creative Writing
Aberystwyth University,
Hugh Owen Building,
SY23 3DY
Tel: (01970) 622534 Fax: (01970) 622530


Robert Burns & the Scottish Diaspora
International Conference, Edinburgh 10-11 July 2009

Confirmed keynote speakers are:

Richard Finlay
Professor of History, Head of the History Department, University of Strathclyde

Graeme Morton Professor and Scottish Studies Foundation Chair,Centre for Scottish Studies, Department of History, University of Guelph

Interest in the Scottish Diaspora has grown substantially in recent years. Fresh perspectives and new material have added to our understanding of the Scots abroad. Though the Scots overseas fostered a range of cultural activities which identified them as an ethnic group, the one recurring theme within all sites of settlement was remembrance of the national Bard, Robert Burns. Abroad, as well as at home, from the nineteenth century to the present, the iconic figure of Robert Burns is central to the celebration of a Scottish cultural identity. Indeed, initiatives such as “Tartan Day” and “Homecoming Scotland 2009” emphasise the ongoing global appeal of Burns. The 250th anniversary of the birth of the “ploughman poet” offers an opportune moment to take stock of what Burns means to the Scots Diaspora.

The conference is sponsored by Napier University, the Centre for Scottish Studies, University of Guelph & the Institute of Ulster Scots Studies, University of Ulster.

Call for Papers
June 2008
We welcome proposals for individual papers of 20 minutes, or for panels of up to four papers of that length. Possible themes include:
• National and regional perspectives in the British World
• Scots and Ulster-Scots in Ulster or the Irish and Scottish Diasporas
• Gender and the Burns cult
• The iconography of Burns
• Generational aspects: Scots and their descendants
• Tensions around integration or maintaining a distinct ethnic identity
• The contested politics of Burns
• Nationalism and national identity
• Language and literature beyond Scotland.
• Tourism and Heritage
• Scottishness, ethnicity and social classes.

It is anticipated that a selection of the papers will be published in an edited volume.

Please email proposals (300 words maximum per paper) and brief CV (one page maximum) to:

Dr John Burnett, Napier University, Edinburgh


Tanja Bueltmann, Victoria University, Wellington