CFP for Is a Novel JUST a Novel? (4th September)

collins novelsWhat is the use of the novel today? A one-day conference on 4th September will explore the manifold functions of the novel in contemporary society. The conference will feature keynote lectures from Professor Andrew Bennett and Dr. Dan Vyleta.

This year’s conference, titled “Is a Novel JUST a Novel?”, focuses on the novel, which implies the function and role of the novel as a genre in our life as well as its similarities to and differences from other modes of writing. It gives the opportunity to highlight the manifold function of the novel. Consequently, it allows speakers to deal with the idea from different points of view, be they social, political, psychological, etc. In their papers, applicants can explain why the novel is so dominant in our own time despite the fact that people are supposed to be more obsessed with life and to be short of time to read a novel. The main aim is to raise various questions related to the position of the novel being more than just a novel: “what’s its use? Is reading a novel a way of understanding people better? Can a novel affect people’s way of thinking? etc.” In this manner participants are encouraged to discuss their point of view in terms of the novel’s function in literature as a genre and in life as a way of expression. Potential topics for proposals include (but are not limited to):

  • The novel and Marxism (consumerism and capitalism)
  • The novel and technology
  • The novel and feminism
  • The novel and identity, autonomy, authorship
  • The novel and ideology
  • Storytelling and construction/crisis of the self
  • The novel in its social and political contexts
  • The novel and discourse

About the keynote speakers

Professor Andrew Bennett (Bristol University) is a prominent professor of literature whose focus is on Romanticism, twentieth- and twenty-first-century writing and literary criticism. His The Author, as a case in point, investigates how the notion of the author takes shape and changes historically.

Dr. Daniel Vyleta (Durham University; Birmingham University from August 2014) has taught history, literature and creative writing and is also a critically acclaimed novelist whose novel The Crooked Maid was shortlisted for the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Submission guidelines

We are now accepting submissions for oral presentations. The standard length of a talk will be between 20 to 30 minutes. An important part of the conference is that selected papers will be published later in the online journal Postgraduate English at Durham University.

Articles for the publication in the journal should be between 5000 and 7000 words (the standard length for publication). For more information concerning Author Guidelines please visit this page.

To apply, please send your proposal not more than 500 words length (in .doc, .docx, .pdf or .tex), to or


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