Left to right: Professor Alisa Cox, James Hewison, Professor Roger Shannon and Michelle Man.
Left to right: Emeritus Professor Ailsa Cox, James Hewison, Professor Roger Shannon and Michelle Man.

To mark the birthday today (6th April) of Lancashire-born artist and writer Leonora Carrington, Edge Hill University academics have been able to pay tribute to her life and work in a new book.

Leonora Carrington: Living Legacies edited by Emeritus Professor Ailsa Cox, alongside Edge Hill colleagues past and present including; Professor Roger Shannon, Michelle Man and James Hewison, was published recently to much critical acclaim.

The book recognises the achievements of Leonora, the internationally acknowledged figure in the Surrealist movement, who has received much critical acclaim and achieved stellar status in Mexico, where she lived and worked for most of her life, having fled Lancashire and Europe via Spain in tormenting circumstances.

The front cover of Leonora Carrington: Living Legacies
The front cover of Leonora Carrington: Living Legacies

Michelle Man, Senior Lecturer in Dance, said: “In our current climate, remembering Leonora Carrington today, as an artist who survived personal trauma in a period of historical political devastation and loss, feels all the more necessary, as a gesture of hope for thinking with and beyond how we can care and persevere in times of Covid-19.”

Professor Roger Shannon describes how the joint approach of the co-editors has brought together a collection of chapters that emphasise how her work has become a provocation for new thinking, being and imagining in the world.

He said: “Collectively we have brought together our expertise from different fields of research, creating a multi-faceted lens through which we have been able to develop, disseminate and promote what we identify in this volume as the vibrancy of Leonora Carrington’s living legacies, her cult status, as well as her historical importance within art and feminist writings.”

Ailsa Cox, Emeritus Professor in Short Fiction, added: “The book is a testimony to the power of collaboration across the arts and between practice-based and critical research. Leonora continues to inspire later generations, as we can see from the fiction and poetry by Dr Claire Dean and Penny Sharman, both former Edge Hill students on the MA Creative Writing at Edge Hill.”

Published by Vernon Press, Leonora Carrington: Living Legacies has received critical acclaim worldwide.  Gloria Orenstein, Professor Emerita at the University of Southern California, notes that: “This volume is exciting, moving, and innovative as it balances the gravitas of the experiences in Leonora’s life history with cautionary tales and surrealist humour that opens a window for us on how she survived all forms of exclusion and suppression, through her belief that everything in our world is alive and sacred.”

More information about the book and to purchase can be found here.

Since 2014 Edge Hill University, through the Institute of Creative Enterprise, has been involved in several creative ways to bring to life the work of Leonora Carrington (1917 – 2011) in the form of dance, creative writing, film, curating, exhibitions and public talks. More information on these activities can be found here.