English and Drama Newsletter – October 2022 Edition

Welcome to your October newsflash from the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London.

We can’t wait to meet prospective students at our open days this Saturday 8 October (Undergraduates) and on Wednesday 26 October (Postgraduates).

4 things to do this October:

  1. Join us at our Open Days: Booking is open for our in-person and online undergraduate open day and online postgraduate one.
  2. Come to our Lisa Jardine Annual English Lecture on 20 Oct: We are honoured to welcomed Professor Simon Gikandi.
  3. New Project SEARCH Intern, Ryan: Meet our new intern in the school who is working with Rupert in this blog post he wrote.
  4. Get closer to the latest research: Come to our friendly Research Seminars including QUORUM Drama Seminar and English Postgraduate Seminar this semester. Register for Open Day

Postgraduate Open Day

See what’s on offer at our Open Event

Find out about MA Creative Writing MA English Literature MA Theatre and Performance Book your place

Lisa Jardine
Annual English Lecture 2022

Professor Simon Gikandi: Beyond the Pleasure Principle:
Rethinking the Aesthetic Ideology

Thu 20 October
Peston Lecture Theatre in Graduate Centre
QMUL Mile End Campus
1830 – Reception to follow

The Annual lecture of the Department of English at Queen Mary is named in honour of Lisa Jardine CBE HonFRS FRHistS, who died on the 25 October 2015, at the age of just 71. With this lecture, the School of English and Drama remembers Lisa as an intellectual and a figurehead who will always be associated with its foundations and its ethos, but most especially as our friend.
  About the lecture: Beyond the Pleasure Principle: Rethinking the Aesthetic Ideology The idea of the aesthetic is one of the most privileged and vexed terms in the European tradition: It is caught, on one hand, between the promise of freedom, pleasure, and beauty and, on the other hand, the violence of modernity and what Lisa Jardine famously called worldly goods. This lecture is both a reflection on the connection between ideas of beauty and taste in the world of commodities and the possibility of aesthetic practices in a decolonized world.

Simon Gikandi is Robert Schirmer Professor and Chair of English at Princeton University.

Book now

Events in October

SI Leeds Literary Prize 2022 Shortlist Showcase with The Asian Writer11 October 2022 – Online

Rose Dastgir (Creative Writing) chairs this event  for the SI Leeds Literary Prize. The award is for unpublished fiction by UK-based Black and Asian women, aged 18 and above.

The award aims to act as a loudspeaker for fresh and original literary voices from an under-represented group, and to help them reach new audiences in mainstream culture.

The biennial prize began in 2012 and is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2022, with the sixth edition of the prize. Book a free ticket

Internal Launch Event: Centre for the Study of the Nineteenth Century and its Legacies

Wed 12 October – SCR – Queens’ Building, Mile End Campus
  The event is open to anyone with research interests related to the long nineteenth century. Follow on Twitter

Nicholas Ridout (Drama) & Dhanveer Singh Brar
Talk: Performance, Possession & Automation with performance by Eirini Kartsaki

  Join Nicholas Ridout and Dhanveer Singh Brar in conversation about their new 3-year research project, Performance, Possession & Automation.
  The project brings together academics and artists to investigate the resistant power of ‘spirit possession’, the contemporary rise of automation, and their entanglement with histories of colonial slavery. How is contemporary performance shaped by and responding to these experiences?
  This launch event will also feature a performance from the project’s commissioned artists, Eirini Kartsaki and Nicol Parkinson: anomalopteryx Anomalopteryx is a flightless bird, known as a lesser bird, only slightly taller than a turkey. A play of movement in and out of sense, in other words, speeches and sounds.

More info

Plus don’t miss NINE, a retrospective exploration of a 1998 performance by Kate Brown with Nicholas Ridout, as part of Artist Archive on 21 October. Book here

 The Parkes Institute: Tradition: The Use of Old Material in Yiddish Theatre and Music with Vivi Lachs

Thursday 20 October, 6pm. Free. Southampton venue TBC & Online via Zoom

Changes in conventions, culture, and language make performing older Yiddish material challenging. Queen Mary AHRC Research Fellow Dr Vivi Lachs on her practice of incorporating early 20thC Yiddish texts in contemporary performances, and PhD candidate Katie Power about the use of older material in mid-century productions in the London Jewish theatre world.

Plus book ahead for:

Writeidea Festival: London Yiddishtown: East End Jewish Life in Yiddish Sketch and Story by Vivi Lachs 
Sunday 6 November. 1pm. Free. Bethnal Green Library, Cambridge Heath Rd, E2 0HL 

Book here

Queen Mary/Jewish Museum: Secrets of the London Yiddish Stage 
Thursday 17 November, 7.30. Free 
Jewish Museum, Raymond Burton House, 129-131 Albert Street, NW1 7NB

Book here

Romanticism under the Volcano – Will Bowers

24 October –  Sir Victor Blank Lecture Theatre, Weston Library – Oxford
  Dr Will Bowers (Queen Mary University of London) will deliver a public lunchtime lecture exploring the significance of Vesuvius, and volcanoes more generally, to the literature and culture of the Romantic Period (1780–1830). The lecture will discuss artists such as Turner and Wright of Derby, and writers such as Cowper and the Shelleys, along with some reflections on the significance of volcanoes to the political tumult of this revolutionary age.
  This event is part of the TORCH Vesuvius 22 conference.
  Image credit: Joseph Wright of Derby, ‘Vesuvius in Eruption, with a View over the Islands in the Bay of Naples‘, c.1776–80, Photo © Tate, London 2022 Book now Events from around QMUL & Beyond

13 October
Book Launch: Highly Discriminating: Why the City isn’t Fair and Diversity Doesn’t Work
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM, Online, Zoom


15 October
The Forgotten Space: film screening – with talks from Jonathan Stafford, Liam Campling and Alex Colas

Book now

20 October:

Peter Allen and Neil Matthews – ‘“We all dream of a team of Tony Blairs”: New Labour, Manchester United, and the nostalgia trap’

If you plan on attending the sessions, please email Tom Chidwick, Manager of the MEI at t.chidwick@qmul.ac.uk to be added to the mailing list.

Westminster Confession at 375: Historical Reflections and Contemporary Relevance

More info and register

20-30 October
London Literature Festival

Book now

26 October – 5pm
Alison Gibbons, “Fictionality and Cognition: An autofiction case study”

Zoom link:  https://york-ac-uk.zoom.us/j/91474651375
Location: Seminar Room BS/007, Berrick Saul Building, University of York Heslington West Campus

27 October
Tim Bale – ‘Brexit: an accident waiting to happen?’ Book discussion.
Chair: Alvina Hoffmann

If you plan on attending the sessions, please email Tom Chidwick, Manager of the MEI at t.chidwick@qmul.ac.uk to be added to the mailing list.


Book Ahead

Publishing is Power

From 16 Nov-11 Dec 2022

This is the first in a series of three activities that celebrate the arts, activism and publishing in Tower Hamlets. ‘Publishing is Power’ offers opportunities for people to meet, share experiences, write creatively, and get involved in DIY publishing. It is a chance to reflect on the local histories of community-led politics and multilingual literary cultures, as well as explore what’s going on in the area today. Each activity in the series is open to those aged 18 or over who are interested in the local area and in breaking into poetry and publishing, with all and any kinds of experience.

Limited availability – book now to secure your place…
 See the whole series


Mojisola Adebayo: Family Tree Announces National Tour in 2023, Stars and launch of Black British Queer Plays and Practioners: An anthology of Afriquia Theatre book

Family Tree

Actors Touring Company (ATC), the UK’s leading theatre producer of international plays, today announces a major Co-Production and National Tour with Belgrade Theatre Coventry, in association with Brixton House of a new stage production of Mojisola’s Adebayo’s play Family Tree.
  Adebayo’s powerful and poetic drama explores race, health, the environment and the incredible legacy of one of the most influential Black women of modern times, Henrietta Lacks. Originally commissioned by ATC and the Young Vic in 2020, an outdoor work-in-progress piece was showcased at the 2021 Greenwich + Docklands International Festival. This new 2023 tour will be the fully-realised stage production.

More info

New Black British Queer Anthology

Mojisola Adebayo’s co-edited Black British Queer Plays and Practioners: An anthology of Afriquia Theatre (Bloomsbury Methuen), is out in October. It features a range of Black British Queer plays from the 1980s to the present, ending with STARS by Mojisola Adebayo, which premieres at ICA in April 2023, touring with Tamasha. The introduction is drawn from Mojisola’s QMUL PhD thesis supervised by Catherine Silverstone and Caoimhe McAvinchey. Launch coming soon.

More info and buy the book


Mojisola’s play Stars, ‘an Afrofuturist space odyssey‘ opens at ICA in April 2023, with Tamasha.

About the work: Meet Mrs: an old lady who goes into outer space… in search of her own orgasm. Isn’t that where all orgasms go?   Her quest is sparked by three encounters: a young neighbour who discloses a secret, an old friend who reveals she is intersex, and a would-be lesbian lover in a launderette who offers Mrs two drops of her own pressed lavender and a smile that says, ‘I handle delicates with care’. 
  Told through one woman and a live DJ, with projected animation and captions, STARS is a moving and joyful, sensitive yet funny, Afrofuturist odyssey that, on selected nights, transforms into a celebratory club night, with multiple DJs and accessible for all.  

More info Stepney Words Fifty Years On – Project Film Now Live on Youtube

Last autumn SED’s Professor Nadia Valman and journalist Alan Dein hosted a series of writing workshops at Stepney All Saints School. The workshops marked the 50th anniversary of the famous Stepney School Strike in 1971, when hundreds of students refused to go to school, protesting against the sacking of their English teacher, Chris Searle, for publishing Stepney Words, a collection of student poems that dealt with poverty, racism and urban neglect.

In this short film, Nadia and Alan bring Chris Searle and some of his former students back to their old school to tell the story of Stepney Words and its distinctive approach to writing, and to work with a new generation of young Stepney poets.
Watch the video

Isabel Waidner signs book deal with Hamish Hamilton (Penguin)

‘Hamish Hamilton has snared the follow up to Isabel Waidner’s Goldsmiths Prize-winning Sterling Karat Gold (Peninsula Press).’

Read the full article on The Bookseller


Matt Rubery talks live on BBC Radio’s Free Thinking on Reading

‘The word ‘reading’ may appear to describe something specific and universal, but in reality it’s more of an umbrella term, covering a huge range of ways in which people interact with text. Dyslexia and hyperlexia may be two of the more obvious departures from normative ideas of reading, but whether we’re neurodivergent or not we all read in different ways that can vary significantly depending on what we’re reading and why we’re reading it. Matthew Sweet is joined by Matt Rubery, Louise Creechan and poets Debris Stevenson and Anthony Anaxagorou.’
Listen now

Call for Papers: “Contesting Authenticity in Literature, 1200-1700”

30 – 31 March 2023 / Senate House, University of London

This two-day conference will explore the concept of “contesting authenticity” in later medieval and early modern literature, including both the production and ongoing reception of texts of contested authenticity. Proposals are welcome which consider literature in any language, including translations.
See the full CfP

 Alumnus Tam Hussein’s new novel is shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Journalism The book is a fictional story (inspired by Tam’s two-decades of research and reporting) weaving together the narratives of early Jihadi foreign fighters in the Syrian conflict.

Read more and buy the book Apologies if we missed any listings, do let us know and we can post on social media. Also if you have any news for our next newsletter please do reply or get in touch.

Best wishes,


Rupert Dannreuther

Marketing Manager

Queen Mary University of London

Published by

All Things SED Editor

I am the Web and Marketing Administrator in the School of English and Drama. Amongst my various roles, I run the School's website (www.sed.qmul.ac.uk) and its Twitter feed (@QMULsed). I also manage the running of the School's Open Days and draft promotional materials.

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