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About the Conference

This two-day conference, dedicated exclusively to Patricia Duncker’s work, is the first of its kind. It aims to bring together an international group of scholars to explore the various aspects of Duncker’s work and to facilitate a lively exchange between the author, her readers and critics.

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Patricia Duncker

Duncker is one of today’s most compelling and highly acclaimed writers. Her work includes five novels, two collections of short stories, several volumes of critical essays and edited anthologies of contemporary women’s writing. Her intriguing first novel Hallucinating Foucault (1996) won the Dillons First Fiction Award and the McKitterick Prize. Her collection of short stories Monsieur Shoushana’s Lemon Trees (1997) was shortlisted for the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award, and her fourth novel Miss Webster and Chérif (2006) was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Several of her novels have been re-issued over the years and her fiction has been translated into many languages. Duncker has also enjoyed a very successful academic career and is currently Professor of Contemporary Literature at the University of Manchester.

Duncker’s writing is astonishingly diverse. Her fiction draws creatively on different literary modes, such as gothic writing, historical fiction, life writing and the mystery story. It explores a number of topical issues, including questions of gender and sexuality, colonial identity, 9/11 and its aftermath, the relation between sex and death, and the erotics of reading and writing. As may be gleamed from this list, many of Duncker’s works feed into contemporary problematics and current socio-political debates, as well as academic studies such as queer theory, gender studies, feminist theory and postcolonial studies. Duncker is also a widely published literary critic: she has written on writers like Théophile Gautier, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Katherine Mansfield and Angela Carter, inviting her readers to explore the parallels and productive tensions between her fiction and her criticism.

Conference Organizers

The conference is organized by Dr Ben Davies, Tutor, Schools of English and Modern Languages, University of St Andrews and Dr Jana Funke, Associate Research Fellow, Centre for Medical History, University of Exeter. Together, they edited the collected volume Sex, Gender and Time in Fiction and Culture (2011). For more information on the conference organisers, please visit their staff profiles:

Dr Ben Davies, University of St Andrews
Dr Jana Funke, University of Exeter


The conference is sponsored by Gylphi Arts and Humanities Publisher. Selected papers from the conference proceedings will be published as Patricia Duncker: Critical Essays, with a foreword by Duncker. The publication is part of Gylphi’s Contemporary Writers: Critical Essays series (Series Editor: Dr Sarah Dillon). For more information regarding the series, please see:

Keynote Speakers

Professor Patricia Duncker (University of Manchester)
Professor Gabriele Griffin (University of York)
Professor Tim Woods (Aberystwyth University)

Call for Papers

The conference welcomes papers on any topic related to Patricia Duncker’s writing. Topics might include, but are not limited to, Patricia Duncker’s writing and:
  • Categories of Difference, e.g. Gender, Sexuality, Race, Class and Age
  • Crossculturalism and Multiculturalism
  • Death
  • The Erotic
  • Foucault, Madness and Discourse
  • Genre/Literary Mode, e.g. Crime Fiction, Life Writing, Historical Fiction, the Gothic
  • Intergenerational Dynamics
  • Intertextuality
  • Love and Intimacy
  • Outsiderism and Marginality
  • The Relationship between Philosophy and Literature
  • The Relationship between Reader and Writer; the Erotics of Reading and Writing
  • Representations of the Body
  • Terrorism and Post-9/11 Fiction
  • Translation
  • Time, Place and Space
  • Women’s Writing and Publishing
The conference is interdisciplinary in scope. Papers from a variety of disciplines and theoretical perspectives are welcome. Research students and academics alike are invited to submit.


Submissions should include a title together with a 300-500 word abstract for a 20 minute paper. Please also include your name, affiliation and a brief professional biography. Abstracts should be sent to by 1 August 2012.

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