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 Literary London 11–12 July 2019


‘Neighbours of Ours’: Cities, Communities, Networks

Hosted by the Institute of English Studies, University of London 

Annual Lecture:

Marina Warner: ‘Words on the Move: Making Stories in Times of Unmaking’


Plenary Address:

Alison Blunt: ‘”Tales from other people’s houses”: home, (dis)connection and conviviality in an urban neighbourhood


Plenary Panel:

‘The Baron Six’: Anthony Cartwright, Sean Longden, Susie Thomas,

Nadia Valman, Andrew Whitehead, Ken Worpole


Conference programme


This year, we wish to explore the neighbourliness or otherwise of our cities, both within and beyond the U.K. How are our communities resisting, surviving, adapting and developing in times of international turbulence and national division? How are places of safety, creativity, meeting and exchange established and maintained? How do representations in print, on stage and screen, as well as reading and digital communities, develop possibilities for neighbourliness? We will consider how urban networks operate and how these can transform spaces and human experience.

We welcome proposals for 20 minute papers, comprised panels, and roundtable sessions, which consider any period or genre of literature about, set in, inspired by, or alluding to central and suburban London and its environs, from the city’s roots in pre-Roman times to its imagined futures. While the main focus of the conference will be on literary texts, we actively encourage interdisciplinary contributions relating to film, TV, architecture, geography, theories of urban space, etc. Papers from postgraduate students are particularly welcome for consideration.


Themes for consideration may include (but are not limited to):

  • revisiting theories of community (e.g., the work of Marshall Berman, Georges Perec, Jane Jacobs, Walter Benjamin)
  • sister cities – London and Paris, London and New York; relations between urban centres following Brexit; immigration and emigration
  • gentrification, urbicide and loss
  • public and privatised urban communal space
  • urban transport networks and the construction of community
  • households, homes and homeliness
  • boundaries, borders and limits
  • gossip, ‘godsibs’, hearsay, eavesdropping and whisper networks
  • reading communities and literary networks; online spaces and online communities
  • artistic communities in the city (e.g. Pre-Raphaelites, Bloomsbury, Fitzrovia, 1950s Soho)
  • nationhood and empire
  • religious and secular communities in the city
  • temporal neighbours – recent pasts, near futures, daytime and nighttime urban communities



Submission deadline: 1 March 2019

Individual abstracts should be no more than 400 words in length, and should include the speaker’s title, name, institutional affiliation, and home address. Please include a brief bio (no more than 50 words) and send your proposals to The Submissions page contains further information on the guidelines for submitting proposals for papers, comprised panels and roundtable sessions.