‘Multilingual Literatures: An Interdisciplinary Conference’ event report
The Society-supported Multilingual Literatures Conference took place 17-19 July 2019. You can read the event report below:
‘Multilingual Literatures: An Interdisciplinary Conference’ was the dissemination showpiece event of the project ‘Bilingual British Writers: Language Ambassadors or Mental Migrants?’, which is Phase 2 of Swansea University’s contribution to ‘Cross-Language Dynamics; Reshaping Community’, led by Manchester University and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council through the Open World Research Initiative.
The conference took place in glorious summer weather and in the beautiful surroundings of Gregynog Conference, which inspired the mainly international delegates. Keynote presentations were delivered by Swansea’s Professor Daniel Williams, who opened the conference with his thoughts on the hidden theme of ‘language death’ in the poetry of Dylan Thomas, Professor Christine Ivanovic from Vienna, whose lecture was entitled ‘Reading Multilingual Literature’, and Professor Emeritus Carl Tighe from Derby, who gave a survey of the contemporary literary scene in Poland which he put in a political and historical context.
The delegates travelled from locations on five different continents (in addition to Europe, these were Africa and Asia, South and North America) and included colleagues from University of Wales Trinity St David and Cardiff, as well as PhD students and post-doc researchers from Swansea. All benefitted from a reading from the Welsh performance poet Rhys Trimble, who also gave a paper on ‘Plurilingual Poetry’, and the short-story writer Anna Metcalfe.
There were more than a dozen parallel sessions, with titles such as ‘The Hybrid’, ‘The Minoritarian’ and ‘Beyond the Mother Tongue’. At the conclusion, delegates applauded the postdoctoral research assistant on the project, Dr Aled Rees, for his impeccable organisation. The Esperanto section of Radio China International published a report by Allesandra Madella: esperanto.cri.cn/2521/2019/08/07/241s206482.htm
A volume of essays deriving from conference papers will be published in due course by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, edited by Katie Jones, Julian Preece and Aled Rees.