writers from around the world will gather every morning at the
University of East Anglia to debate in roundtable format the theme
of Exile and Imagination in the life of the writer. This is for
invited writers only. If you are interested in any of the
themes or in listening to these writers read, please click on
Essays inspired by the sessions will be published online
following the event.
The sessions will be led by our Writers in Residence. They
These writers will be in residence in Norwich in the days
preceding this gathering, working collectively on ideas that inform
a writer’s experience of exile and how conditions of exile might
shape a writer’s imagination.
Sessions will be held in the mornings from 25 June - 27
June 2007. They will address the following ideas:
- Monday 25 June: Exile and the Writer – the
- Tuesday 26 June: Exile and Language – Alienation and
- Wednesday 27 June: Exile and Place – the Cosmopolitan and the
At a time of mass movements of people, both voluntary and
involuntary, the idea of the wanderer – from Odysseus and Ovid, by
way of Dante, Joyce, Conrad, Stein and Rhys, to Ariel Dorfmann,
Derek Walcott and Jung Chan – is ripe for re-evaluation. Received
ideas of exile and its effects on writers will be balanced against
a new conception of the power of exile on the imaginative mind: can
exile and movement be a productive force in the development of a
new vision of international literature?
Writers will be able to discuss the losses and gains offered by
exile, migration and movement against the backdrop of current
debates about national and international literatures. The distance
from language and home is balanced by the access to new cultures,
new forms and new horizons. The debate has no fixed outcomes, but
the journey it takes offers an opportunity for writers to explore
ideas that are sometimes too readily seen as the preserve of
critics and cultural commentators.
There is a great tradition of writers’ meetings of this kind:
from the Enlightenment gatherings in 17th- and 18th-century France
through to Mallarmé’s Salons in the late 19th century; from Berlin
and Paris in the 1920s and 1930s where writers gathered to discuss
questions about literature’s distinctive modernity; to the
gatherings on America’s East Coast in the 1940s where exiles and
émigrés met American writers and critics.
New Writing Worlds continues this tradition, but on the new
ground of literature’s changing international identity and
Literary Salon Chair: Professor Jon Cook.