Fantastic London: Dream, Speculation and Nightmare

Thursday 13 - Friday 14 July 2017, Senate House


The Literary London Society will offer three bursaries of £100 each which will be awarded to the writer of the best proposal for the conference by a current graduate student. The bursary will be paid to the delegate after the conference on the condition that they have attended and delivered their paper. Bursary winners will be expected to produce a short response (e.g., a critical review, a blog entry) to some aspect of the conference, which will be considered for publication in the Literary London Journal. For further info contact

Annual Lecture

Darran Anderson (author of Imaginary Cities): After London: what apocalyptic visions tell us about the city, from the medieval to the modern [cancelled due to unavoidable circumstances]

Prof Fred Botting (Kingston) - Fantasy without Fantasy: Politics and Genre in and out of London

Plenary speakers

Dr Caroline Edwards (Birkbeck): Armchair Apocalypse, or, Why Destroying London in Speculative Literature is So Enjoyable

Prof Rohan McWilliam (Anglia Ruskin): The Cultural Work of the Victorian West End of London

The conference will focus on a wide range of periods and genres of literature about, set in, inspired by, or alluding to central and suburban London and its environs, from the city’s roots in pre-Roman times to its imagined futures. While the main focus of the conference will be on literary texts, we will also feature interdisciplinary contributions relating to film, architecture, visual arts, topography and theories of urban space. Papers from postgraduate students are particularly welcome for consideration. Indicative topics and writers who might be addressed:

  • Gaslight romance, the urban gothic, London noir, steampunk & speculative poetry
  • Future catastrophes, technological dystopias, nightmares of policing & surveillance
  • Forms of fictional flight into alternate ontologies of nationhood and urban belonging
  • Architectural caprice, replication and ruin in the development of the built environment
  • Stories of financial catastrophe, uncertain inheritance and precarious fortune
  • The search for ontological wholeness in a divided, doubled or allotropic city
  • The uncanny, arabesque and magical excrescences of the urban everyday
  • Dramatizing the life of hidden underworlds, anti-worlds & allegorical environments
  • The Weird: H. P. Lovecraft, Arthur Machen, Lord Dusany, M. John Harrison
  • ‘Elsewheres’: Doris Lessing, William Morris, J. G. Ballard, Jean Rhys, Anthony Burgess
  • Urban Gothic: Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, Thomas De Quincey, Charles Dickens
  • Underworlds: Neil Gaiman, China Miéville, Michael Moorcock, Michèle Roberts
  • Make-believe: J. M. Barrie, Cassandra Clare, Philip Reeve, Christina Rossetti, John Clute

For any queries, please contact the conference organiser Dr Peter Jones at conference at literarylondon dot org


There are several registration options below. Please book your ticket depending on whether or not you wish to join the optional £25 dinner at Antalya restaurant on Thursday, 13 July 2017. Dinner includes a meze platter, meat/vegetarian/vegan main, dessert, fresh fruit, and tea/coffee. Additional drinks may be purchased at an extra charge payable at the restaurant.

  • £80 Standard rate (without dinner)
  • £105 Standard rate (with dinner)
  • £60 Concessions (Students / unwaged / retirees; without dinner)
  • £85 Concessions (Students / unwaged / retirees; with dinner)

Please click the REGISTER HERE button below to register. Alternatively, please download and complete the below registration form, and return it along with your preferred method of payment, either via email to or by post to the IES Events Officer, Room 260, Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU.

Registration form

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.

Enquiries: Events Officer, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU; Email: