Kari joins the TLW team

Hello! I went along to quite a few of the Transatlantic Literary Women events last year so some of you may already know me. For those who don’t, I’m looking forward to meeting you soon! As an introduction, I thought I would provide a little background on myself and my interests, pinpoint some personal highlights of the series so far, and touch on a few of the topics that I would like to explore in the 2017/18 series.

Like my fellow newcomer Sarah, I’m an Americanist! My joining the TLW committee also coincides with beginning a PhD in American Studies at the University of Glasgow, where I will be researching the Hollywood novel genre. My interest in American literature began during an undergraduate module in 20th century literature, and the often-contradictory depiction of America in the texts prescribed left me intrigued. Works like John Dos Passos’ USA and E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime evoked a country relentlessly expanding and advancing, while works like Toni Morrison’s Beloved portrayed a country constantly struggling to come to terms with the past. Having ignited my passion for American literature, I went on to complete an MSc in US Literature at the University of Edinburgh, where I specialised in F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Attending the TLW series last year was a fantastic experience. It’s difficult to choose a favourite event from such a varied programme. The series of talks given by visiting lecturers were all thoroughly enjoyable, and I particularly enjoyed Dr. Heidi Yeandle’s “Angela Carter’s Female America: Apocalyptic and Artificial.” Though I knew very little about Carter, I found Yeandle’s paper really engaging, and it inspired me to start reading Carter’s work. And, of course, the Symposium at Glasgow Women’s Library was a wonderful way to end the year, on a high note and with a full house! The highlight for me, though, was probably the day-trip to visit Digging In’s reconstruction of the WWI trenches for Transatlantic Women in the Trenches. Women’s war effort during WWI is always an excellent topic for discussion, and Pollok Park happens to be one of the best reading spots in the city, so I was delighted that the series incorporated such a beautiful location into the programme.

Being obsessed with all things Hollywood novel, it’s not surprising that I’m keen to explore the connections between Hollywood writing, the film industry, and transatlantic literary women. This is an incredibly transatlantic topic: the impact that film had on Europe and the rest of the world from the early twentieth-century onwards was immeasurable. Film created a new way of communicating different cultures and behaviours across the Atlantic, a new lens through which people were viewing the world. Even if this view wasn’t always realistic, the power of the movies was very real. As with many genres of literature, however, research on the Hollywood novel has a habit of focusing largely on male contributions. What more fitting a place to explore women’s contribution to Hollywood writing than the TLW series?

I think I’ve rambled on for long enough, so I’ll wrap it up now. Needless to say, I’m ecstatic to be part of the team this year, and looking forward to seeing old and new faces at the events that we have lined up. Watch this space for more information!


Sarah joins the TLW Team

The TLW Team is thrilled to be welcoming two new members, Sarah Thomson and Kari Sund, for the 2017/2018 series. For their first post, we’ve asked each of them to write a short blog introducing themselves. First up is Sarah:

Hi everyone!

I’m Sarah, and I’m delighted to be one of the two new members of the Transatlantic Literary Women’s committee for 2017/2018. For my debut on the blog, I’m going to share a little bit about myself, how I got involved with TLW, and what I’m hoping to see in the series this year.

I’ll be starting an MLitt in American Studies at the University of Glasgow in September, having just finished my undergrad at the University of Edinburgh. But, it was my year abroad at the University of Virginia that cemented my enthusiasm for all things American. While one year in the US perhaps isn’t quite long enough for me to call myself a transatlantic woman, it was certainly enough time for me to develop an overwhelming love for Charlottesville’s sunny weather, gorgeous scenery, and ‘school spirit’ (go Hoos!).

The first TLW event I attended was the popular Transatlantic Modernisms Workshop. Although I’d taken a class on transatlantic modernism before, the course featured just one female author (Virginia Woolf, predictably!). So, TLW’s workshop felt like a golden opportunity to learn about some of the understudied and overlooked women writers of the period. The series finale, the Transatlantic Symposium, was another great chance to learn some new names and pick up some reading recommendations. I was also delighted to get to take part in the final workshop of the day, making the case for my favourite transatlantic lady: Nella Larsen. Podcasts from the symposium are currently in the pipeline, so keep an eye out for those!

Despite spending most of my time studying history rather than literature, I’m hoping that being the team’s ‘resident historian’ will have its uses (if for nothing other than to provide some fun historical facts to complement whatever we’re reading!). I have a lot still to learn when it comes to American literature, but the TLW series is a great environment for exploring all things ‘transatlantic’, so I’m looking forward to it. I studied African American literature for the first time during my final semester at Edinburgh, so I’ll definitely be championing some of the women whose work I read on that course! And, with the centenary of (partial) women’s suffrage in 2018, I’m excited to see how that’ll feature in next year’s programme.

Having enjoyed the events I attended last semester I’m thrilled that this season I’ll be getting involved with the planning and organising side of things. Without giving too much away, it looks like another great line up of events, and I can’t wait to see everyone in September!


Transatlantic Reading List

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.

Transatlantic Magazine Cultures Poster

Hi all,

Less than two weeks to go until our event dedicated to Transatlantic Magazine Cultures, with Dr Rachael Alexander! Today, we present you our new poster for the event. As usual, all credit goes to the talented Katrina Falco.

TLW - Magazines-25.jpg

We hope to see you there… Finally, if you’ve been keeping up with us on social media, you may have seen that Saskia and Laura were both at the Glasgow Women’s Library’s programme launch yesterday to talk about our upcoming symposium. Tickets are going FAST for what promises to be a splendid finale for the series, and if you haven’t I strongly recommend that you book your ticket!

Have a nice day!

Marine on behalf of the TLW team.

Transatlantic Magazine Cultures

Tuesday 23 May, 4 University Gardens, Room 202, 5pm

Please join us for the final regular talk in the 2016/17 Series. We’re delighted to be welcoming Dr Rachael Alexander of the University of Strathclyde on Tuesday 23 May to talk about her fascinating research on transatlantic magazines. (Yes, we’re talking Vanity Fair, Tatler and Vogue!) Rachael will be discussing transatlantic magazine illustrations and collaborations, with a special emphasis on the work of illustrator Anne Harriet Fish.

Exams will be over, so come and join us for a glass of wine, snacks and a great talk! Refreshments are available from 5pm. You can confirm your participation, chat about the event on our Facebook page.

As always, the event is free and open to all. The TLW team hope to see you there!

A Trenches Postscript and Still to Come…

Many thanks to everyone who turned out for our day in the trenches on Saturday! We were delighted to see you all at the talks, tours and workshops – and the sunshine! Huge thanks again to our speakers, Dr Hannah Tweed, Dr Alice Kelly, Anna Girling and to Dr Olivia Lelong with the amazing Digging In project. And on behalf of the whole Transatlantic Literary Women crew, we want to say a special, resounding transatlantic thank you to Marine, the TLW lead on Saturday’s event. Bravo Marine! Fantastic job!

We have three more events in the 2016-17 season of Transatlantic Literary Women and we hope you’ll join us:

There’s our final book club on Wednesday 26th April at 5.15 in 203, 4 University Gardens where the book under discussion is Anita Loos’ Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Come and discuss the adventures of Miss Lorelei Lee in a relaxed, informal, fun reading group over a glass of wine and snacks.

We’re very much looking forward to 23 May, when Dr Rachael Alexander (University of Strathclyde) will give a talk on Transatlantic Magazine Cultures (Tuesday 23 May in room 202, 4 University Gardens.) We hope you’ll join us for Rachael’s talk (refreshments available from 5; talk starts at 5.15). We’ve had a sneak preview of some of the magazine cover images Rachael will be showing from Vanity Fair and Vogue – they’re stunning! More information on the page of the event!

And, as our summer finale, we’re excited to be teaming up with the fabulous Glasgow Women’s Library for a day symposium on Saturday 3 June, with talks on Jazz Age women and advertising, Sylvia Plath, African American activists in Europe, Black Feminism across the Atlantic, a choice of workshops, and the chance to vote for your transatlantic literary woman. All this – AND a free lunch! What’s not to love? Take a look at the day’s line-up here, and find out more about the event and how to book here!

As ever, all events are free, open to all, and everyone is welcome. Please join us!

All best- Laura