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Jackie Kay: An International Conference

Jackie Kay: An International Conference Online

Jackie Kay is the author of some 30 works, including plays, poetry, prose (fiction and non-fiction), children's literature, short stories and a ground-breaking novel. She has won or been shortlisted for over 20 literary awards and prizes, including the Guardian Fiction Prize, the inaugural Forward Prize for Poetry for a single poem, the Somerset Maugham Award and the Costa Poetry Award. She is the Scots Makar, professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University, Chancellor of the University of Salford and a CBE.

Kay’s work is remarkable for its range of genres, its consistent reinvention of forms, and its marriage of intimate, domestic depictions of individual lives with broad political and philosophical themes. In works such as her breakthrough poetry collection, The Adoption Papers (1991), the novel Trumpet (1998) – a path-breaking depiction of trans identity – and the autobiographical Red Dust Road (2010), her publications explore identity, individuality and belonging, and love between family members, lovers and friends. Amongst many other questions, her works asks what Britishness is, what race means, what it is to love, and what gender is, and can be.

This international conference, the first on Kay’s work, brings together scholars from a wide range of literary and cultural studies. The British Council describe Kay as having, over the past two decades, ‘moved from marginal voice to national treasure.’ This conference will examine the work that has marked Kay’s shift from the margins to the centre, addressing a writer whose work has expanded the scope of British literature.  

Organisers: Tasha Alden (Aberystwyth University) and Fiona Tolan (Liverpool John Moores University)

*This conference is free to attend


Zoom link opens for delegates to join the meeting


Welcome address


Panel One: Politics, Aesthetics, and Form

Lourdes López-Ropero, “Ekphrastic Encounters in the Poetry of Jackie Kay”

Tara Brusselaers, “Constructing National Identity in Jackie Kay’s Recent Poetry”

Christopher Griffin, “On Neoliberal Society: The Aesthetic of the Secret in the Fiction of Jackie Kay”


Comfort break


Panel Two: Boundaries, Margins, and Liminalities

Ingibjörg Ágústsdóttir, “Unbearable Reality, Unbearable Absences: Magical Realism and the Supernatural in Jackie Kay’s Short Fiction”

Elena Guerreira Labrador, “Liminality in the Black British Short Story: An Analysis of Jackie Kay’s Ethnic Tales”

Ana García-Soriano, "Liminality and intimacy in Jackie Kay's Wish I Was Here (2006)“


Lunch break


Keynote paper            

Deirdre Osborne, “The Monumental Mother: Jackie Kay’s Maternal Poetics”


Comfort break


Panel Three: Representing Diverse Voices

Nancy Gish, “‘Opening Out’: Jackie Kay’s Many Voices”

Arwa Al-Mubaddel, “The Relational Self, Intersectionality, and Fluid Subjectivity in Jackie Kay’s The Adoption Papers (1991) and Red Dust Road (2010)”

Elisabeth Bekers, “Kay's Poetical and Metafictional Approach to Scottish Amnesia in The Lamplighter

Petra Tournay-Theodotou, “Representing Diversity in Black British Children’s Literature: Jackie Kay’s novel Strawgirl (2002)”




Jackie Kay – reading and Q&A (with an introduction from Prof Nancy Gish)

To attend this part of the conference, please also register at this link: https://ljmu.libcal.com/event/3735845

Jackie Kay: An International Conference is supported by Gylphi publishers and is part of the Gylphi Contemporary Writers series.


The organisers would like to give sincere thanks to the Research Institute for Literature and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University and the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association for their kind sponsorship and support of this event.


*You will need a Zoom account to attend. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email and the Zoom link for this conference will be in the event calendar link.  

* To attend Jackie Kay's reading and Q & A, please also register at this link: https://ljmu.libcal.com/event/3735845

Thursday, June 3, 2021
9:00am - 5:00pm
Time Zone:
UK, Ireland, Lisbon Time (change)
This is an online event. Event URL will be sent via registration email.
  Academic     PGR     Postgraduate     Professional Services     Public     Undergraduate  
  The Research Institute for Literature and Cultural History  
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