Footage of Crime Fiction in the Archives: Hunting for Hammett

We were delighted to host crime novelist and senior lecturer Dr Andrew Pepper (Queen’s University Belfast)  last month for a presentation on Crime Fiction in the Archives: Hunting for Hammett.

Andrew discussed what the “official” archive held by the University of South Carolina reveals about Dashiell Hammett, and crucially about the lives and dramas of those who first tried to excavate Hammett’s story in the late 1960s and 1970s. This talk examined how biographical scholarship was conducted in the pre-digital era and what was at stake for those who sought, against the wishes of Hammett’s estate, to dig up the buried details of his life and works.

Below is the link to the entire presentation.

 

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Click here to see all 2018-19 Language & Communication research seminars.

Crime Fiction in the Archives: Hunting for Hammett

The Language and Communication research cluster is delighted to welcome crime novelist and senior lecturer Dr Andrew Pepper (Queen’s University Belfast)  for a presentation on Crime Fiction in the Archives: Hunting for Hammett.

When? Friday 2nd November 2018, 14.30 – 15.30

Where? Room V105, Vine building, Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT

Crime fiction is typically regarded as cheap and disposable and certainly not conducive to serious archival scholarship. In this talk, I consider what the “official” archive held by the University of South Carolina reveals about Dashiell Hammett, a figure about which much is already known. The real “discovery” is not Hammett himself, for there is little that the archive can now tell us beyond what is already known, but the lives and dramas of those who first tried to excavate Hammett’s story in the late 1960s and 1970s. This talk examines how biographical scholarship was conducted in the pre-digital era and what was at stake for those who sought, against the wishes of Hammett’s estate, to dig up the buried details of his life and works. Its focus is not Hammett himself but the freewheeling band of “unauthorized” Hammett hunters who toiled away in the early 1970s and whose efforts typically, and in typically Hammettian fashion, ended in failure.

 

BIO:

pepperAndrew Pepper is Senior Lecturer in English at Queen’s University Belfast. He is author of Unwilling Executioner: Crime Fiction and the State (OUP 2016) and The Contemporary American Crime Novel: Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality (EUP 2000). His “Pyke” series of detective novels, set in nineteenth-century Britain and Ireland, including The Last Days of Newgate (2006) and Bloody Winter (2011), were all published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Click here to see all 2018-19 Language & Communication research seminars.

Gothicising the Fairy Tale: Monstrous Cinderellas in Angela Carter and Ali Shaw

The Language and Communication research cluster is delighted to welcome our new colleague Dr Carina Hart, for a presentation on Gothicising the Fairy Tale: Monstrous Cinderellas in Angela Carter and Ali Shaw.

When? Tuesday, 6th November 2018, 16.00 – 17.00

Where? Room PAG02, Middlesex University, London NW4 4BT

The emergence of the Gothic in late eighteenth-century Europe coincided with a revival of interest in traditional fairy tales, and the two forms have remained in dialogue ever since, sharing settings, narrative structures and motifs. Contemporary writers have Gothicised the fairy tale for a new generation, questioning the value of old narratives in a changed world.

This talk will examine one of Carter’s less-researched Gothic fairy tales, “Ashputtle, or The Mother’s Ghost” (1987), and the matrophobic Gothic elements it draws out of the Cinderella tale’s obscure older versions. Here the Gothic becomes a critical tool with which the text can interrogate the sociopolitical forces that have influenced the endurance or disappearance of different elements in the Cinderella tale tradition.

Carter’s re-Gothicisation of the Cinderella tale creates a feminist text interconnected with its political contexts; millennial Gothic fairy tales, however, show a clear move away from political agency into individualism, as seen in Ali Shaw’s Gothic retelling of Cinderella, The Girl with Glass Feet (2009). The monstrous feminine here is re-sublimated into silence, stillness and sexualised beauty, turning the female Gothic against the heroine in an example of a wider retreat from late-twentieth-century feminism.

Bio:

carina.jpgDr Carina Hart is a Lecturer in English Literature at Middlesex University, having previously taught at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Nottingham Trent University and the University of East Anglia, where she completed her PhD. She has published on A. S. Byatt’s fairy tale fiction, alchemy in contemporary fiction, and Romantic poetry, and is working on a monograph titled Beastly Beauties: The Contemporary Gothic Fairy Tale. Her collection of poetry, Your Brain Cells Sing When They Die, will be published by Eyewear in 2019.

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Click here to see all 2018-19 Language & Communication research seminars.

North London Story Festival 2019 Presents: My Generation

If The Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) invented free love, Generation X (born 1965-1981) came of age watching MTV, and Millennials (born 1982-1995) sent selfies and Frappuccinos into the stratosphere, what about the current young generation, Generation Z, (born 1996-2016)? What defines or shapes this generation today? Brexit? Trump? The housing crisis? Student debt? Grime? Kim Kardashian? Are today’s young generation going take the world by storm or are they going to feel overwhelmed by the challenges ahead? North London Story Festival’s My Generation is dedicated to stories and narratives about what it means to be young and living in the UK today.

Thursday 21st February 2019, 11.00 – 8.00pm

About the Festival

cropped-logo-nlsfThe North London Story Festival is an annual event held at Middlesex University and the surrounding areas of North London.  The event is student-led in order for them to gain key experience, and the festival is free to access for students and the public.

Running annually since 1996, the festival aims to celebrate storytelling through pop-up readings by students around North London, as well as guest speakers and workshops at the Hendon campus of Middlesex University.

Previous speakers include Justin Cartwright, Philip Hensher, AL Kennedy, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Andrea Levy, Andrew Motion, Jan Pienkowski, Lord Puttnam and Fay Weldon.

Notable speakers include: David Nicholls, author of One Day and Galaxy Book of the Year winner, in 2014, and Dame Professor Carol Ann Duffy in 2015.

The Festival is held in late March or early April each year. Aside from a number of notable speakers, the festival typically includes fiction and screen writing workshops, book signings and competitions. This year the Festival will be broadening out from its base in the College Building’s Boardroom and will include student-led interactive/participatory events in the Quad and Atrium.

Last year’s North London Story Festival (formerly North London Literary Festival) took place on Tuesday 13th March 2018 and the theme of the Festival was Secret London.

Secret London was dedicated to alternate London and the stories you won’t read about in an Official London City Guide. Secret London delves deep into the metropolis and uncovers an invisible and unfamiliar city, where the narrative of the outsider is given full voice and the unorthodox and unconventional is embraced.

http://northlondonstoryfestival.co.uk/

A-level English reform and English at University

In the 2018 University English meeting, Billy Clark and Andrea Macrae discussed academics’ perceptions and awareness of A-level English reform. The survey, funded by the British Academy and Leverhulme, was conducted  by the ‘Integrating English‘ dream team: Andrea, Billy, and Marcello Giovanelli. You can find a visualisation of their findings here.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, English subject leaders feel that they and their teaching staff are little informed about changes to A-levels. In fact, the overwhelming majority of English degrees in the UK are making no (55%) or minor (33%)  changes changes to the curriculum to support the transition of students who are taking the reformed A-Levels.

Professor Billy Clark at the Heads of Department & Subject Leaders’ Networking Day (13th April), University of Lancaster

On a more positive note, the Lang/Lit A-level is more positively viewed in Higher Education than in schools. 95% of university English subject leaders perceive it as useful in preparing students for English degree programmes. In fact, this is tallies with our own anecdotal evidence. A couple of days ago, at a local college visit, the Lang/Lit teacher was telling how the English Literature A-Level still carries much more prestige and is more popular with staff and pupils than the Lang/Lit A-Level.

And finally, a third of English degrees do not require any of the three English A-Levels (English Language, English Literature and English Lang/Lit). It looks like we are not that unique at Middlesex!

So what can we do in higher education to help the transition of our students from secondary to tertiary education?

Billy explained the importance of connecting with secondary teachers and students, awarding bodies, even our PGCE colleagues. He also showed the importance of helping first-year undergraduate students understand how university work differs from school-level work.

Jenny Stevens (Teacher of English and freelance writer and editor) presenting the post-16 perspective on English teaching and learning suggested that HE sector can help by:

  • Getting  involved in GCSE & A Level qualification;
  • Communicating with A-level student, parents and teachers via university website (podcasts/screencasts);
  • Cross sector collaborations on social media (e.g. linking with Centre for English & Media);
  • Joining the English Association Secondary Education Committee.

Footage of conversation with Ian McGuire

Last month, Ian McGuire, author of the celebrated novel, The North Water, visited Middlesex to answer questions from BA English students. The event was sold out and a great success. If you missed it, or would like to watch it again, here’s the footage of the discussion.

ian 2

All English events at Middlesex this week

This is the busiest and most exciting week of the year in our English events calendar. We are hosting the final Language & Communication research seminar of this series, we are welcoming two Erasmus teaching visits in English, and Creative Writing & Journalism students are running this year’s Story Festival. Here’s a reminder of all events on campus this week. We hope you’ll join us in as many as you can:

aleks

Tuesday, 13th March

  • 12.00-14.00 Metafiction in Postmodern American Literature and Popular Culture by Dr Aleksandra Vukotić (University of Belgrade), BG09B (Building 9)
  • 14.00-16.00: Trauma, Cultural Memory, and Identity in Sebastian Barry’s ‘A Long Long Way’ by Professor Ksenija Kondali (University of Sarajevo), C136 (College Building) – Open lecture

11.00-20.00 North London Story Festival (various rooms)

 

 

Wednesday, 14th March

12.00-14.00 Intertextuality in Jeanette Winterson’s ‘The Gap of Time’. By Dr Aleksandra Vukotić, CG48 (College Building)

16.00-17.30 The Embodied Nature of Narrative: Moving with purpose with others, and its disruption in autism. By Dr Jonathan Delafield-Butt (University of Strathclyde),  New room: BG02 (Building 9) Final Language & Communication Research Seminar for this year!

 

Thursday, 15th March

15.00 -17.00 Negotiating the Technological Sublime: DeLillo’s and Antonioni’s

Murder Mysteries. By Dr Aleksandra Vukotić, CG43 (College building) – Open lecture

 

ksenFriday, 16th  March

10.00-12.00 Whoever controls your eyeballs runs the world : A “Paranoid” Reading of Media. By Dr Aleksandra Vukotić, CG09 (College building)

15.00-17.00 Fictionalizing Transatlantic Slavery: A Comparative Study. By Professor Ksenija Kondali (University of Sarajevo), PAG02 (Portacabin)

 

All welcome!

For directions to Middlesex University Hendon campus, click here.