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Exploring Authenticity in Contemporary Literatures in English


Culture in general, and literature in particular, seem to be concerned with authenticity, or lack of it, more than ever: authenticity in politics, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and nationality. In contemporary fiction, especially, there appears to be a turn away from fiction as traditionally understood, and a move towards authenticity as an ethical marker of subjectivity. The popularity of such narratives seems to suggest that we long for things we experience as lost, searching for an identity, be it individual or collective, that eludes us. But what is authenticity and what does it entail in a globalised world? How is authenticity constructed and deconstructed in contemporary literature? In a ‘post-truth’ world – a world of ‘fake news’, viral conspiracy theories and catfishing – is the concept of authenticity redundant, or more vital than ever? The aim of the Symposium is to explore ideas of authenticity in their various manifestations in literatures in English. The online event will take place over two half days on 01-02 November 2021.

The organisers invite proposals of no more than 250 words for twenty-minute papers from scholars of all career stages. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Authenticity and gender
  • Authenticity and sexuality
  • Authenticity and ethnicity
  • Authenticity and nationality
  • Authenticity and the global/the local
  • Realism, hyperrealism, naturalism
  • Authenticity in the postmodern world
  • Authenticity and intertextuality: concepts such as original literary work, reproduction, printed representation
  • Ghostwriting, diaries, biographies, autobiographies, autofiction
  • Authenticity and adaptation
  • Authenticity and creativity

The keynote lecture will be given by Professor Daniel Lea, Oxford Brookes University.
When submitting your abstract, please also include a brief biographical sketch of up to 50 words. Proposals must be submitted to Jeni Giambona, by Friday 10 September 2021.
To register click here. Registration is free of charge.


1 November 2021 @ 8:00 am
2 November 2021 @ 5:00 pm
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David Brauner
Jeni Giambona