The Weird: Fugitive Fictions/Hybrid Genres

Friday 8 November 2013

Institute of English Studies, Senate House, University of London

(Thursday 7 November: evening event / weird fiction reading: details below)

A one day research conference in association with the Centre for Contemporary Literature, Birkbeck, exploring the weird literary tradition and the many facets of weird writing.

Keynote speakers: S. T. Joshi, Roger Luckhurst and Victoria Nelson.

Until recently weird fiction, if acknowledged at all, was usually considered to be a marginal mode in the already lowly Gothic tradition - less a genre than a particular affect. In the last ten years, however, it has come to be regarded as a separate and distinct form with an increasingly important role to play in the theory of popular genre. The debate has broadened its scope to perceive and explore connections with discourses, literary traditions and cultures not previously associated with the Weird.

Thursday 7 November: Weird Reading Event, Horse Hospital Bloomsbury:
On the evening of the 7th November, Bloomsbury’s Horse Hospital will see readings from some of the most exciting and progressive contemporary writers in the weird mode. M. John Harrison, K.J. Bishop, Hal Duncan, Helen Marshall, and Lisa L. Hannett, will all be reading from their work. In addition Robert Kingham will be giving a talk on Bloomsbury’s strange past and present, and there will be weird sonics from The Asterism. The readings will be followed by a Q&A session.


Illustration by John Coulthart.


Thursday 7th November: The Horse Hospital, Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1JD
18:40 Doors

Robert Kingham, Lisa L. Hannett, Helen Marshall, Hal Duncan, K. J. Bishop, M. John Harrison

Friday 8th November: Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU
09:30 Registration and coffee: Crush Hall, Senate House, ground floor
10:00 Keynote 1: S. T. Joshi - "Two Revolutionaries: Poe and Lovecraft" (Deller Hall, Basement)
11:00 Presentation: Mark Pilkington - "The art of Sidney Sime" (Deller Hall, Basement)
11:20 Coffee break (Crush Hall, Ground Floor)
11:30                                                                                          Parallel panels

Panel 1 - Weird Occultation (Deller Hall, Basement)

• Dr Justin Woodman - "Weird Occultures: Rationalism, Anti-Rationalism and Lovecraftian Modernity"
• Dr Kevin Corstorphine - "‘Colors We Cannot See’: Invisibility and The Limits of Perception in Weird Fiction"
• Christopher Josiffe - "The Fictions of Kenneth Grant"

Panel 2: Harrisonian Weird (Court Room, 1st Floor)

• Christina Scholz - "M. John Harrison’s Empty Space Trilogy and Weird Theory"
• Dr Fabienne Collignon - "Insect Facet"
• Dr Nick Freeman - "Weird Realism in Robert Aickman and M. John Harrison"

Panel 3: Genre Weirding (Senate Room, 1st Floor)

• Dr Nick Prescott - "Inhabitation, manipulation and subversion: M. John Harrison and the complexities of Genre"
• Dina Ester Saliola - "Lovecraft and Edward Lee: the evolution of Weird Fiction"
• Dr K.A. Laity - "Weird Noir: Unexpected Collisions"

12:50 Lunch break (own arrangements)
13:50                                                                                          Parallel panels

Panel 4 - Pre-Modernist Weird (Deller Hall, Basement)

• Dr Daniel Watt - "Inner Rooms: A Weird, Ecstatic Cosmology"
• Dr Emily Alder - "(Re)encountering animals in William Hope Hodgson’s weird science fiction"
• Dr Jacob Huntley - "The Weird Ratiocinators"

Panel 5 - Weird Landscapes (Court Room, 1st Floor)

• David McWilliam - "Beyond the Mountains of Madness: Lovecraftian Cosmic Horror and Posthuman Creationism in Ridley Scott's Prometheus (2012)"
• Jimmy Packham - "Weird Language: The Unspeakable Lineage of Lovecraft's Antarctic"
• Francis Gene-Rowe - "Speculative Landscapes: H.P. Lovecraft’s Weird System"

Panel 6 - Other Weird Media (Senate Room, 1st Floor)

• Dr Benjamin Noys - "Full Spectrum Offence: The Neo-Weird of Savoy"
• Craig Wallace - "‘Weird Time’ in the Ghost Stories of M.R. James and Nigel Kneale."
• Professor Tanya Krzywinska - "The Conspiracy Hermeneutic: The Secret World as Weird Fiction"

15:10 Keynote 2: Roger Luckhurst - "Where the Weird is: At the End of the Passage"
16:10 Tea break
16:30 Parallel panels

Panel 7 - Music and the Weird (Deller Hall, Basement)

• Joseph Norman - "Weird Metal: the correlations between Weird Fiction and extreme metal"
• Owen Coggins - "Awakening Mana-Yood-Sushai: Lord Dunsany’s Weird Fiction (and other Sacred Scriptures) in Drone Metal Music"
• Andrew C. Stanford - "Inverted Tentacles: or, Composing at the Threshold"

Panel 8 - Modernist Weird (Court Room, 1st Floor)

• Gwilym Games - "Arthur Machen and Witchcraft"
• Alison Sperling - "Weird Modernism"
• Dr Mark Blacklock - "‘Unplumbed Space’: the weirding of the void"

Panel 9 - Post-Human Weird (Senate Room, 1st Floor)

• Karen Ghisella Li - "(Per)forming Post/Trans-human Identities: The Development of Weird Fiction in the late 20th and 21st Centuries"
• Richard August - "Destroying London Over and Over Again: China Miéville, the Weird and the London Apocalyptic Tradition"
• Dr Lisa Bennett - "Turning People into Things: Object Relations and Posthuman Reproduction in Weird Short Fiction"

17:50 Break    
18:00 Keynote 3: Victoria Nelson - "Children of the Light: Vladimir Sorokin's Ice Trilogy and the New Expressionism." (Deller Hall, Basement)
19:00 Closing plenary: John Clute; S.T.Joshi; Victoria Nelson and Damien Walter (Chair) (Deller Hall, Basement)
20:00 Wine reception: Crush Hall, ground floor  


Conference only:
£35 Standard
£25 IES Members/students/concessions


General Enquiries: The School of Advanced Study is part of the central University of London. The School takes its responsibility to visitors with special needs very seriously and will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments to its facilities in order to accommodate the needs of such visitors. If you have a particular requirement, please feel free to discuss it confidentially with the organiser in advance of the event taking place.

Jon Millington, Events Officer, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU; tel +44 (0) 207 664 4859; Email: