Writers, Rights, Institutions

writers rights institutions

This one-day conference will focus on the institutions and organisations through which literature and human rights frequently interact. The conference brings together scholars whose work focuses on writing and reading as themselves human rights demanding protection and advocacy, and writing and reading as activities tied to human rights advocacy and political activity more generally. Scholars from English, Modern Languages, and History will offer papers that explore the literary and political activities of individual writers within organisations like Amnesty International, PEN, the Red Cross, and UNESCO, as well as the activities and policies of these organisations insofar as they shape and are shaped by an understanding of the relationship between the apparently distinctive fields of literature and human rights. Several papers will address the prison as a site in which these debates acquire particular intensity.

The conference opens with a roundtable discussion foregrounding the methods available to scholars addressing the links between literature and human rights, followed by three panels with three papers each.

Lunch will be provided.

Speakers include: David Attwell (York), Sarah Colvin (Cambridge), Poul Duedahl (Aalborg), Michael Holland (University of Oxford) , Peter McDonald (University of Oxford), Marina MacKay (University of Oxford), Emilie Morin (York), Rachel Potter (UEA), Asha Rogers (QMUL), Lyndsey Stonebridge (UEA), and Preti Taneja (Cambridge University).

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The day will conclude with a special event hosted by the Rothermere American Institute addressing the pressures that the war on terror exerts on these debates, ‘Writers and Rights in the Age of the War on Terror.’ Larry Siems, editor of Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantanamo Diary, long-listed for the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize, will speak on a panel with Ann Harrison of International PEN. This will be followed by a drinks reception.

The conference takes place from 9.30am to 4.30pm in The Cube, Law Faculty, St Cross Building, Manor Road, Oxford OX1 3UL.

Click here to view the programme.

Registration is free but essential as places are limited. Click here to register.

‘Writers and Rights in the Age of the War on Terror’, the final panel, takes place at 5pm at the nearby Rothermere American Institute (South Parks Road). All are welcome. No registration required.

For further information see: http://www.torch.ox.ac.uk/writers-rights-institutions

The events are funded by the British Academy, TORCH Fiction and Human Rights Network, and the Rothermere American Institute.


Fiction and Human Rights


Open to all