24 October (Week 3): Advances and Submissions: Hope and Compromise in Today’s Publishing Industry. Katherine Rundell, All Souls College
Katherine Rundell is an Examination Fellow of All Souls and is about to send her second children’s book to press. (Her first children’s novel, The Girl Savage, was published by Faber earlier this year.) She will be speaking about the publishing industry, about the writing process, and about why, sometimes, it is necessary to tie yourself to the desk with a skipping rope.
7 November (Week 5): Hard, Bold, and Wicked: Masculinity and Liminality in Lewis and Tolkien. Dr Anna Caughey, College Lecturer in Old and Middle English, Keble College
In Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia and Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the boundaries between adult and child identities are at once blurred and reinforced. Childhood, and boyhood in particular, is presented as a state that can be both transcended and retreated to when necessary, while full physical/social adulthood is generally marginalised. Using Peter Hollindale’s theory of ‘childness’ as a base, this paper examines the ways in which both texts use their fantasy settings to provide younger readers with access to material that emphasises the capability and autonomy of child/child-substitute protagonists while privileging the state of childhood.
21 November (Week 7): Hoodies in Hell. Dr Margaret Kean, Helen Gardner Fellow in English, St Hilda’s College
This talk will consider the recent revision of Dante’s Inferno undertaken by the poet John Agard in The Young Inferno (illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura). Agard’s upbeat renewal of Dante can be usefully compared with Dayle E. Basye’s irreverent take on authority in his Circles of Heck series (Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go is the first volume; illustrator Bob Dob). This talk will contrast the approach of contemporary writers towards Dante with that taken by Kingsley in The Water Babies.