Working-class Women Write! A Free One-Day Conference at the University of Northampton
Friday 5 March 2021, 10am-4.15pm
The University of Northampton English department is to a host this free one-day conference with the aim of celebrating women writers from working-class backgrounds writing in the period 1920-2020.
While women have contributed a huge amount to literary history, most of those women came from the middle classes; working-class women rarely had either the leisure time or the educational opportunities to produce their own writing. In fact, the first British novel by a working-class woman, Miss Nobody by Ethel Carnie Holdsworth, was not published until 1913. 100 years later, despite progress in some areas, working-class women are still very much a minority in today’s vast publishing industry. To reflect on this and consider the ongoing obstacles as well as new opportunities, the conference scope is writing in English by working-class women in the last century 1920-2020, in any form and medium including short fiction, poetry, novels, autobiography, journalism, essays, screen writing, blogging and other digital platforms. The aim is to examine and celebrate the range of women writers from working-class backgrounds writing in the period and investigate the variety and character of their works in their social and political contexts. To foreground and promote contemporary working-class women’s writing, the conference will include contributions in the form of readings, screenings and talks from working-class women currently writing creatively today.
We are delighted that Professor Selina Todd from the University of Oxford has agreed to give the plenary talk about her work on playwright Shelagh Delaney.