Happy New Year!

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Sorry to have been away so long – last year flew by with both the launch of the book, presentations on my research at the Ohio State University “Conflict, Disaster, Trauma and the Autobiographical: Healing stories for individuals and communities“  and two talks at the International Auto/biographical Association (Europe) conference at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid “Beyond ‘Do No Harm’: Women, Peace and Security: The Language of Human Rights” and, with Siobhan Campbell,  “Writing-based interventions and Knowledge Communities: Building Communities of Practice through Life Story Telling ”  https://eventos.ucm.es/26045/section/15175/iaba-conference-2019.-knowing-the-self_-autobiographical-narratives-and-the-history-of-knowledge.html

For fun, at the Crickhowell Literary Festival in October, https://cricklitfest.co.uk/ I continued my yearly lecture series offering my iconoclastic take on classic literature written by women.  Previous Talks at the Festival have included “Don’t be Afraid of Virginia Woolf” in 2016; “Wuthering Heights: We need to talk about Heathcliff” and this year’s talk was entitled “Jane Eyre- so many questions.” I have been invited back next year to talk about Jane Austen, and am playing around with the title “Jane Austen hated everyone.” One day, I hope to pull these general readership talks together into a book.

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I first began to research the complex relationship between literature and suffering as I studied towards my PhD. Reading the letters, diaries and journals of both Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf, I was struck by how each of them had, like me, lost a brother. Now many decades later, I have been asked to edit and introduce a new anthology of Katherine Mansfield’s stories for Macmillan, and I am absolutely thrilled. I will be writing more on this delightful task in a future blog, but in the meantime I am awaiting the publication of two chapters in edited collections that supplement the work in The Art and Science of Trauma and The Autobiographical: Negotiated Truths (https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783030061050). The first of these to appear will be my chapter “ Speaking Trauma and History: The Collective Voice of Testimonial Literature   “ in Andrew Hammond’s edited collection The Palgrave Handbook of Cold War (Spring 2020) https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783030389727#aboutBookand the second a chapter on “Testimony” in the forthcoming Routledge Companion to Literature and Trauma, edited by Colin Davis, Hanna Meretoja (Spring 2020) https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783030389727#aboutBook

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In the meantime I am in preparing for forthcoming talks on the relationship between trauma, memory and human rights. I have been invited to participate in a symposium for Narrative Research Centre Directors at the Paris Centre for Narrative Matters in June (https://cerilac.u-paris.fr/paris-centre-narrative-matters) and later that month to a workshop on “Political Narratives” at The Collegium for Advanced Studies, Helsinki https://www.helsinki.fi/en/helsinki-collegium-for-advanced-studies. Shortly afterwards I will take up another invitation to travel to Turkku Finland and deliver a paper on “Time, Body, Memory: The Staged Moment in the Posttraumatic Autobiographical“ as part of the IABA International Conference https://iabaturku2020.net/, where I will also be running an information and discussion session on my applied research – the Expressive Writing Project. For the latest information on this project, see my blog next month and for an introduction to the project and previous work in this area see also: https://www.kingston.ac.uk/faculties/kingston-school-of-art/research-and-innovation/life-narratives/

More to come in February!

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