Call For Papers: Suffragette Symposium

2018 will see Edge Hill University mark, celebrate and explore issues which relate to the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote in the UK. As part of this programme of events, GenSex and Edge Hill’s Institute of Create Enterprise will host the Suffragette Symposium. We welcome abstracts for 20 minute papers from a diverse range of disciplines, including literature, linguistics, film studies, cultural studies, women’s studies, history, music, fashion, and media. Abstracts are due by 18th December 2017.

For full details, please see the following Call For Papers:

Ethnicity, Race, and Racism Seminar Series

Edge Hill’s long-running ‘Ethnicity, Race and Racism Seminar’ series returns this spring. ErRS is an interdisciplinary research hub that explores pressing contemporary questions of race, racism, and ethnicity across time and space. Each year, we run a themed seminar programme and a symposium. Our focus for 2017 is ‘Lived Experiences of Anti-Racism Activism in Europe Since the 1970s’. Everybody is welcome to attend these informal ‘In Conversation’ events. They take place on our Ormskirk campus, with free refreshments.

Spring Programme:

Thursday 16 February

Louisa Zanoun (Former Head of Research, Génériques, Paris-based NGO promoting the history of immigration).
Immigration Activism and Public History in France.
3:00-5:00pm, Hub1

Wednesday 8 March

Peter Tatchell (Human Rights and LGBT Campaigner. Director, The Peter Tatchell Foundation)
From Melbourne to Moscow, From Berlin to Bermondsey: 50 Years of Campaigning for Human Rights, Democracy, LGBT Freedom and Global Justice.
5:00-7:00pm, Creative Edge Lecture Theatre

Wednesday 5 April

Hassan Mahamdallie (Writer and Playwright. Director, The Muslim Institute)
Growing Up In The 1970s: A Personal Account Of How The Fight Against Enoch Powell and the National Front Changed Everything
1:00-2:00pm, PSS015

Wednesday 3 May

Pragna Patel (Author, Feminist and Anti-Racist Campaigner. Founding Member and Director, The Southall Black Sisters)
Gender and the Politics of Anti-Racism in the UK: Then and Now
4:00-6:00pm, B101

Wednesday 7 June

Cathie Lloy(Ex-Vice-President, Mouvement Contre le Racisme et Pour L’Amitié Entre Les Peuples. Former Head of Research, Commission for Racial Equality and Research Fellow, Universities of Warwick and Oxford)
Memoirs Of A Keyboard Warrior
1:00-2:00pm, B005

Mari Hughes-Edwards interviews Brendan King

9781472908537Waterstones Liverpool and Bloomsbury Press has invited Dr Mari Hughes-Edwards, Reader in English Literature at Edge Hill University, to interview author, editor and Beryl Bainbridge‘s former friend and private secretary Brendan King in their flagship Liverpool 1 store next Thursday as he reads from and discuss his Radio 4 Book of the Week, the first ever full biography of seminal Liverpool novelist, Beryl Bainbridge, entitled Beryl Bainbridge – Love By All Sorts of Means“.

A unique voice in fiction, and unforgettable in person, Beryl Bainbridge was famous for her gregarious drinking habits and her unconventional lifestyle. Yet underneath the public image of a quirky eccentric lay a complex and sometimes traumatic private life that she rarely talked about and which was often only hinted at in her novels. In this first full-length biography, Brendan King draws on a mass of unpublished letters and diaries to reveal the real woman behind the popular image.

Mari says: ‘I am so excited that I will get to meet with and speak someone who worked so closely with such an important contemporary female writer.  It will be a really intense and memorable discussion which will touch on Bainbridge’s difficult childhood in Formby, her career as a young actress at the Liverpool Playhouse, and her life as a single mother and writer in Camden Town.  There is so much material here – her complex private life: her failed marriage to the painter Austin Davies, her affairs, and her longstanding relationship with her publisher, Colin Haycraft…I can’t wait to get talking!’

Brendan King worked between 1987 and 2010 for Bainbridge, and even helped prepare her final novel ‘The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress’ for publication after her death. The event will be a unique chance to explore the literary legacy of one of Liverpool, and the UK’s most important contemporary novelists and to share memorable and personal anecdotes about one of the most intriguing writers of the last century.

For tickets and to find out more information about the event go to:

Perceptions of Poetry: A Report on Prof. John Goodridge’s Lecture

‘The Poetry of North-east Coalminers in the Nineteenth Century’

Oliver Thomas, a second year Creative Writing and English Literature student, reports on the second of our Romanticism @ Edge Hill University Seminar Series 2016


Prof. John Goodridge’s lecture on English nineteenth-century north-eastern coalmining poetry offered a banquet for thought. Introduced by Steve Van Hagen, Goodridge unveiled what he described as one corner of the coal-mining poetry tradition, namely the north-eastern English corner. His lecture style engaged its audience wonderfully, thanks in no small part to passing round books written by the poets he discussed, in many cases printed in the era. Added to his enthusiastic readings (given with remarkable energy and what I thought was a fair attempt at a Geordie accent) it successfully engaged this undergraduate to the point of total immersion. To me, the broad and minute understanding Goodridge displayed of those miners, who I now understand to have been self-educated men of insight, along with the words of the mining poets themselves, was transporting.  I found my perception of coalmining poets, their intellectual and poetic abilities radically expanded both by the breadth of time Goodridge’s selection of poets covered, and by the evolution of their poetry itself, again conveyed through a selection featuring works by Skipsey, Armstrong and Tate, to name a few. Far from the dumb, dirty workmen of certain stereotypes, these poets revealed the north-eastern coalminers to be motivated, intellectually engaged, sensitive and thoughtful men, whose poetic abilities only increased with time and education.

The value of such lectures cannot be underestimated, as, like the iceberg, the visible advertised lecture is only a small of fraction of what such lectures really are. For undergraduate students, the chance to listen in to the Q and A sessions, and perhaps even partake, provides a two-fold learning experience. On the one hand, a student gets an exemplary lesson in phrasing complex questions (which came, in this case, from Van Hagen), and on the other, said student is able to add to their own ever-expanding contextual knowledge of the long nineteenth century and English poetry as a whole, in exploring those poets highlighted in these lectures.

goodridge2Finally, refreshments! Our Master of Nibbles (Dr. Andrew McInnes) laid on an excellent selection to stimulate laughter and long, complex conversation, of which there were equal amounts. With the warmth of such an informal tone, I found myself chatting to Dr. Goodridge about my favourite subjects (Tolkien’s work, the environment and, most recently, my belief that we need to revise the canon of Romantic poets) and, as ever, finding out much more than I could hope to from books or the internet. These conversations form the part of the lecture iceberg that no advertisement can convey and that make such lectures both engaging and enjoyable.


Soraya Atherton, a second year English Literature student, shares her views on Prof. John Goodridge’s lecture

Hosting the second of our Romanticism Lecture Series was Professor John Goodridge, of Nottingham Trent University, and his work: ‘The Poetry of North-East Coalminers of the Nineteenth Century’. The subject of poetry by coalminers was relatively unheard of among the majority of us students and we were very interested to learn about Romantic and Victorian poets in this profession. In addition to being introduced to poets such as Joseph Skipsey, Edward ‘Ned’ Corvan and Thomas Armstrong, to name a few, we learned about the hardships that these men endured and how they expressed themselves using this mode of writing. Goodridge furthered our understanding of poets working in coal-mines and we learned more about the context in which they wrote.

Firstly, Goodridge began his lecture with an analysis of Skipsey’s ‘Mother Wept’ and ‘Get Up!’ and explained how Skipsey’s story was one of self-education and notorious ambition. His verse expresses the hardships of working as a coal-miner and reflects on the different responses from his family and peers. It is evident that this was considered to be a terrible fate as it was common for men and boys to sustain injuries and deaths were recurrent.  Goodridge then proceeded to examine an extract from Corvan’s ‘The Caller’, a poem written about a ‘knocker-upper’ – a man officially employed to wake the workers each morning. Subsequently Professor Goodridge analysed Armstrong’s ‘Trimdon Grange Explosion’, one of several disaster poems in which sixty-nine workers were killed due to the dangerous conditions in the mines.

We learned that the tradition of self-representation for North-East labouring class poets was very powerful. Their poetry also reflects on the conflicting attitudes towards the working-class. Goodridge concluded his lecture with Alexander Barass’s ‘The Pitman’s Social Neet’ and Matthew Tate’s ‘The Claims of Labour’ and the latter poem commends the coalminers for their honourable work. Recognising these poets, who have been underexplored from the 18th Century to contemporary times, was thought-provoking. Through his analysis of each of his selected poems Goodridge explored themes such as the necessity to work in deplorable environments, fear of loss, auto-didacticism and the union of these men.

After the lecture, and the following questions and answers, we were able to discuss our interests in poetry more generally with Professor Goodridge. We talked more about labouring class poetry, how it is an understudied subject and what resources we can use to study this area of literature further. We also talked about how it would be fascinating to learn more about labouring class female poets of the Romantic period. This brought us to a discussion about the poetry we have studied recently on our Romanticism module – namely female poets such as Charlotte Smith, Felicia Hemans and Leticia Elizabeth Landan.

This was certainly a great evening with another fantastic guest lecturer. I would recommend everyone to attend future lectures in the Romanticism at Edge Hill University series.


Guest lecture on ‘Romantic Science, Poetry and Gender’ by Adeline Johns-Putra

‘Romantic Science, Poetry and Gender: The Life and Letters of Eleanor Ann Porden’ – Adeline Johns Putra



Nathan Leigh, a third year Drama and English Literature student at Edge Hill, reviews the first of Romanticism at Edge Hill’s Seminar Series 2016

Dr Adeline Johns-Putra of the University of Surrey launched straight into her presentation titled ‘Science, Gender and Poetry in the Romantic Age: Eleanor Ann Porden.’ Considering that title, one would expect to learn about how Porden tied in with the broader picture of gendered politics and the science of the time period, however, as it turns out, you would be pleasantly surprised. Not only do we look at Porden, we look at her inspirations, her personal life and the impact her work may have had, as well as the political and scientific forces that were at play around it: arctic exploration

First we were briefly told of Porden’s life, before focusing on one of her poems: The Arctic Expeditions. From here we looked not only at her poem, but also branched out onto the article she based her poem on (or, as may be argued, wrote in counter to). This anonymous article (which can now be identified as the work of John Barrow) published in Quarterly Review argued for exploratory voyages into the Arctic regions of the globe due to the rapidly melting ice surrounding Greenland and the ‘Lost Colonies’.

As we delve deeper into Barrow’s role in the British Arctic expeditions and his interests in several significant areas, including the British admiralty, we learn that his interests in the expeditions are focused more on controlling trade routes, rather than the more pressing eco-critical questions and answers that fast melting ice should be raising. We go on to learn that Barrow in turn was influenced by a William Scoresby (who in turn inspired the infamous Captain Ahab in Moby Dick), a renowned whaler and keen explorer. Scoresby was interested in both the scientific and the business opportunities that the elusive ‘northwest passage’ may provide, whilst Barrow had his eyes firmly focused on the trade. In contrast to this, Porden is believed to have written the poem which opened up this presentation as a reminder that the scientific aspect of the expeditions to investigate this newly discovered phenomena should be the primary focus, rather than securing more opportunities for Canadian-British exchanges. In brief, it is simply a matter of Barrow’s fancy being deflated by Porden’s more factual focus, though his expeditions did indeed go ahead.

The lecture completed, a few question were asked, though everyone seemed either too shy or satisfied with the presentation to say anything. However, as always, the real discussions came after the lecture with an ample addition of wine and nibbles. Discussion veered across numerous subjects: the topics discussed in the lecture, the import of nature in fantasy writing, the adaptations of said fantasy novels and near infinitely onwards until the clock ticked past seven.

Overall, a great evening with a charismatic lecturer, filled with in-depth analysis, which I would heartily recommend to any interested in learning more

Edge Hill Lecturers invited to speak at Scarisbrick Hall


Deborah Chirrey, Andrew McInnes and Rodge Gall have been invited to speak at Scarisbrick Hall School as part of their ‘Great Hall Lecture Series.’

Dr Chirrey will use her lecture to describe what ‘forensic linguistics’ is, and how
knowledge of grammar, pronunciation, conversational analysis and
vocabulary, among other things, have been used to assist in legal and
criminal justice matters.

Dr McInnes will explore Arthur Ransome’s engagement with ideas about
children, adventure and exploration from the long eighteenth century in
his celebrated Swallows and Amazons series.

Dr Glass will discuss his approach to writing, examining how memory
and place are essential to creative practice, and will give a reading from his
published short stories which are based on experiences as a tourist all
over the world.