The Transatlantic Literary Women symposium left us with a huge list of summer reads, so to tide you over the summer break we’ve compiled a handy book list full of transatlantic women writers!
First up was Melanie Dawson’s talk on Age-Conscious Modernity. Melanie examined changing and conflicted attitudes towards the experience of age and ageing. Edith Wharton’s Summer is a fantastic exploration of the power dynamics in relationships between young women and older men, and Zora Neale Hurston dignifies the experience of ageing in Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Next, Gary Totten presented ‘Transatlantic African American Women Writers and Racial Justice in the Age of Jim Crow’. If you’re interested in African American female travel writing, Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells and Jessie Redmon Fauset’s columns in The Crisis are must reads. Both writers politicised their form in order to present a social critique of the violence and social limitations of the Jim Crow era, though in very different ways.
After lunch, Tracy Brain presented ‘Plath and You’. As well as more famous novels such as The Bell Jar, Tracy reminded us of Sylvia Plath’s (often overlooked) poetry. You can find a selection of her poetry here.
Later in the afternoon, Claire Heuchan led a workshop on the connections between UK and US Black feminist writing. She touched on Jackie Kay’s Red Dust Road, Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, Audre Lorde’s Sister Outrider, and the Bare Lit Anthology. Plenty to get your teeth into!
And finally – YOUR transatlantic literary women! This was where we gave participants in the symposium an opportunity to make a case for their favourite transatlantic women writers. Zelda Fitzgerald’s Save Me the Waltz and Nella Larsen’s Passing were both championed, as was work by Leonora Carrington, Clarice Lispector, and the Galician poet Rosalia de Castro.
Whether you attended the symposium, or you’re just looking for something to read, there should be plenty here to get you started. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to share them with us! Happy reading!
By Louisa Burden.