EVENT Sep 12
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‘Educating Susan’: Decolonisation and Inclusivity in Creative Writing Pedagogy and Publishing

City, University of London
Categories: Pedagogy, Literary Theory, Miscellaneous
Event Date: 2024-09-12 Abstract Due: 2024-04-12

There have been several recent discussions on decolonisation, diversity, and inclusion in creative writing pedagogy and publishing, following the Black Lives Matter movement, #publishingpaidme on Twitter on racial disparities in pay, and reports such as ‘Rethinking Diversity’. But have these discussions led to meaningful changes in academia and publishing?

The ‘Rethinking Diversity’ report (2020) stated that publishers have a narrow understanding of their core reader, whom they describe as ‘a white, middle-class older woman sardonically referred to as Susan’, likely uninterested in books by writers of colour.

Last year, Dr Anappara co-edited a collection of personal essays on writing, race, and culture, titled Letters to a Writer of Colour (Vintage, 2020) in which several acclaimed authors wrote about the challenges they faced in their writing journeys, including a lack of understanding in publishing and academia about storytelling traditions from around the world, the acceptance of the American-MFA style aesthetic criteria as the norm for deciding what constitutes ‘good writing’ and the disadvantage this does to writers of colour.

We would like to expand on this subject by inviting academics, research students, creative practitioners and scholars to deliberate on the codes and conventions that state how fiction should be written, and the challenges to implementing decolonisation and promoting inclusivity in creative writing pedagogy and publishing.  

We invite abstracts (150-300 words) for papers examining questions and subjects such as the following:

·       What does an approach to decolonisation in creative writing pedagogy look like?

·       The challenges and rewards of implementing decolonisation practices in creative writing pedagogy

·       The challenges and rewards in implementing decolonisation practices in the writing and teaching of fiction, poetry and non-fiction across styles and genres, including hybrid and experimental writing

·       Has publishing changed the way it approaches diversity and inclusion both in its recruitment practices and the books and writers it chooses to publish?

·       Precarity in academia and writing, and its impact on decolonisation and promoting inclusivity in the classroom and publishing

·       The demand for excellence from writers of colour, and second chances—can writers of colour afford to take risks? 

·       Expected narratives from writers of colour (identity, immigration, trauma), and the possibility of moving away from these expectations

·       The impact of prizes such as the Jhalak prize, and mentorship schemes, for writers of colour


Please submit the title of your presentation and bio (50-100 words) along with your abstract using the form available at this link.

Notification of acceptances: May 7, 2024

Date of conference: September 12, 2024

Venue: City, University of London

Registration Fees: To be finalised; around £50

Organised by: Dr Deepa Anappara, City, University of London, and Farhana Shaikh, De Montfort University

Enquiries: deepa.anappara@city.ac.uk




Deepa Anappara