Past events

Upbeat? Emotions and Gender in the Contemporary Techno and Electronic Music Scene – with Thomas Meinecke and Maya Medvesek

Byre Theatre, St Andrews, 14 November 2018

Are techno clubs a sanctuary? How are some marginalised people excluded from electronic music scenes? How can music create and evoke certain emotions in the club? Does the euphoria of the crowd hide the negative emotions of individuals?

Read more and listen to Maya’s tracks


Award winning author, broadcaster and stand-up comedian A L Kennedy will give a public Masterclass on the craft of short story writing followed by a talk, “Principles of Prose”.

A L Kennedy will work live with the authors of four unpublished short stories, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the particular stories, helping the authors, and showing us how the genre works.

BYRE THEATRE JUNE 20TH 2018 6.30-8.30PM

Access the four stories here:

Careers Advice by Victoria MacKenzie

Bird Man Dog by Sean Baker

Thrum by Suzy Kelly

Third Dimension by Sheila Scott

Comparative Literature Research Day: Metaphors in Academic Discourse

December 11th 10am-4pm Buchanan Building 216


Professor Alice Jenkins: ‘Analogy, Metaphor and the Stuff Between’

Dr Michael Carroll: Metaphor, Cognition and the heuristic value of academic jargon’

And staff and PG students from Modern Languages, Chemistry, IR and Social Anthropology.

See full programme Comparative Literature Research Day2.


Writer in Residence Programme

Our Writer in Residence, Christian Lehnert, joined us in November 2017.

Born in 1969 in Dresden, Christian read Theology, Religion and Oriental Studies; he spent time in both Jerusalem and Northern Spain before returning to Germany where he has worked as a priest and academic. From 2008-12 he was Director of Studies at Sachsen-Anhalt Lutheran Academy in Wittenberg, and from has been Academic Director of the Unified Lutheran Church’s Institute for Liturgical Studies at the University of Leipzig since 2012.

As a creative writer, Lehnert is primarily a lyric poet and since 1995 he has published eight volumes of poetry with Suhrkamp, as well as publishing poems in renowned literary journals, including German Academy of Arts’ Sinn und Form. In addition, he wrote the libretto for Hans Werner Henze’s opera Phaedra, which was performed in the Barbican in 2010. Lehnert’s work has been awarded several prizes including the Eichendorff Prize for Literature in 2016, and the Hölty Prize in 2012.

He is a member of the Saxon Academy of Arts, and the Mainz Academy of Science and Literature.

Lehnert’s poetry is often characterised by a concern for form. His most recent volume of verse, Aufkommender Atem (2017), contains mostly short poems which deal with the experience of nature.


Comparative Histories of European Language Literatures: Global Perspectives Past and Future

June 2nd 2017, 9am-6pm, Parliament Hall

Inquiries to: Prof Margaret-Anne Hutton

A one day colloquium organised by the ICLA’s Coordinating Committee for the Comparative History of Literatures in European Literatures.

Keynote speakers include: Professor James English; Professor Margaret Higonnet; Professor Rebecca Walkowitz; Professor Zhang Longxi.

Abstracts of keynote presentations.

See Colloquium Programme

Kurdish Literature Research Event: 14th April 2017, 4-7pm Byre Theatre Conference Room

Inquiries to: Dr Saeed Talajooy

The last few decades has witnessed an increasing interest in the Middle East’s suppressed and less represented cultures and revealed a more accurate picture of the region as a mosaic of nations, languages, and cultures. Among these cultures, the Kurds, as the largest Middle Eastern minority with no country of their own, have maintained their cultural continuity through different forms of cultural production. Modern Kurdish Literature has been at the forefront of this cultural resistance, successfully promoting Kurdish language and culture while offering emancipatory models for the different modalities of Kurdish identity at individual and collective levels. Studying modern Kurdish literature provides the reader with the opportunity to understand the dreams, aspirations, and failures of a people.

Speakers and Abstracts

Modern Languages Writers in Residence Programme

Emmanuelle Pireyre was our Writer in Residence in February 2017. Emmanuelle is the author of six ‘novels’ (she refers to them as on the borderline between ‘romans’ and ‘poésie’): Congélations et décongélations (2000); Mes Vêtements ne sont pas des draps de lit (2001); Comment faire disparaître la terre? (2006); Foire internationale (2012); Féerie générale (2012), for which she won the Prix Médicis, and Libido des Martiens (2015)

Emmanuelle also writes for the stage and radio, and does solo as well as collaborative performances and readings. Whilst in St Andrews she will be working on her next book as well as engaging with our undergraduate and postgraduate students, organising a creative writing competition and writing a blog. She can be contacted at

For further information about her visit and the programme please go to the web site:

Man Booker Event Competition

As part of the University’s now established hosting of a Man Booker author, the Institute for Contemporary and Comparative Literature and the School of English are running a competition open to all students. The prize will be a £150 book voucher and an invitation to dinner with this year’s visiting author, Hisham Matar – whose novel In the Country of Men was nominated in 2006 – and colleagues from the University. The final deadline for entries is 5pm on 31 January 2017

You are invited to produce a creative response to Matar’s novel. You may choose any medium or form, including (to name just some possibilities): a poem or short story; a fictional documentary report; a piece of visual art (e.g. painting, sculpture); an audio or video clip; a musical composition; a photo-essay; a short piece of sequential art (comics), etc.

A few ground rules:

  • We are not looking for a scholarly essay or book review: the emphasis is on imaginative response, and we will be looking for short, creative works that  enter into dialogue with Matar’s novel in some way;
  • Written pieces should not exceed 1500 words and should be in Word format;
  • Audio or video clips should not exceed 10minutes in length, and should be provided in .mp3 (for audio) or .mp4/.avi format (for video);
  • Written or narrated entries must be in English;
  • Make sure your full name, email address and School affiliation are submitted with your entry, which should be emailed to both Prof. Margaret-Anne Hutton (Institute for Contemporary and Comparative Literature, Modern Langs) and Dr James Purdon (English) Entries which cannot be emailed should be delivered to the Modern Languages School Office (Buchanan Building, Union St.);
  • The final deadline for entries is 5pm on 31 January 2017.
  • A longlist will be drawn up by members of staff from the Schools of Modern Languages and English;a shortlist by the Principal, Prof. Sally Mapstone; the winner will be chosen by Hisham Matar.
  • Please send any queries to Prof. Hutton at

‘Research and Ethics: What’s New?’
An interdisciplinary study day

Friday 21 October 2016; 9:30-17:00

Room 216, Buchanan Building

25 years after Linda Martín Alcoff published her essay on ‘The Problem of Speaking for Others’, ethical questions concerning the position of the writer, the researcher, or the teacher continue toarise. Who has the right to bear witness to others’ trauma? To fictionalise suffering? To carry out research into other people’s histories? Should students be asked to confront troubling or difficult material, and if so, in what circumstances? And what do these debates have to do with literary studies, which have traditionally been characterised by a certain level of aesthetic distance or abstraction: how do literary scholars position themselves when literature and ‘real life’ collide? With a view to bringing together expertise from the Institute and beyond, and to developing the lines of enquiry for a future interdisciplinary conference, this study day aims to draw on methodologies from literary studies and from other disciplines more used to engaging with real-world subjects to explore what’s new in debates surrounding both the study of ethical questions, and the ethical positions of individual researchers.

Download programme

Please contact Katie Jones ( for more details.

Recessional – or, the Time of the Hammer’

Tom McCarthy
Twice Booker short-listed; author of Satin Island, Remainder, C, Men in Space

Public Lecture

Monday 12 September 2016
6pm, Byre Theatre Studio

‘Ill-informed anyone who would announce himself his own contemporary,’wrote Mallarme, ‘when the past ceased and when a future is slow to come, or when both are mingled perplexedly to cover up the gap: In this lecture, novelist Tom McCarthy interrogates the notion of the interval or interruption, placing its strange temporality at the heart of what he understands by the term ‘fiction’.

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Public reading from Satin Island

Tom McCarthy

Tuesday 13 September 2016, 9 – 10am
Byre Theatre Studio

But is it any good? The question academics never ask about literary works

Richard Bradford
Thursday April 21st at 17.00
More information

Comparative Literature research event –
Performance and technologies

Clare Foster (Cambridge/UCL) and Mark Robson (Dundee)
Thursday 3rd December (Week 12), Quad 31
More information

Leverhulme Visiting Professor

January-May 2015
Events programme

Stateless literatures

Seminar series 2014/15
See Seminars section for programme and further information

What is the Contemporary?

International conference – 1-3 September 2014
Further information
View conference programme

Translation workshop

Wednesday 23 April 2014, 1.30-5pm
Workshop programme

International conference: Twenty-First Century European Literature: Mapping New Trends

This international conference brought together scholars from the fields of French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish and UK contemporary literatures in a series of inter-disciplinary panels to explore some of the convergences, divergences and cross-fertilisations in European literature today.

Conference programme