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

Transatlantic Women in the Trenches

On Saturday 22nd April, the Transatlantic Literary Women series will be joining forces with Digging In to deliver an afternoon of talks, workshops, and tours of the reconstructed trenches in Pollok Park, all dedicated to transatlantic women’s experience of World War I. The event will kick off at 2pm, and as usual, all are welcome!


American nurses at a Red Cross Hospital in Liverpool, 10 August 1918 (Source: Imperial War Museum, Q44160)

In April 1917, the American government officially announced their engagement in the conflict alongside the Allied Forces. Their involvement impacted on the lives of millions, not just the soldiers who went to fight. With this event, we would like to give voice to a different narrative of the transatlantic relationship during World War I, by shedding light on the experiences of the women who took part in the conflict, as doctors, nurses, campaigners and carers, but also as intellectuals, journalists and writers.

With Dr Laura Rattray, from the University of Glasgow, we will discuss the contribution of American women writers on the frontline, and the importance of the conflict to their literary production. Dr Alice Kelly, from the University of Oxford, will give a talk on the life and writing of American nurse and activist Ellen LaMotte. Dr Hannah Tweed, from the University of Glasgow, will present her research on women writers at the front, in a talk on medical service and subversion. Anna Girling from the University of Edinburgh will tell us about Nancy Cunard and her neglected poetry of the First World War.

There will also be activities for all, with a tour of the trenches led by Dr Olivia Lelong, accompanied by readings of texts on the conflict written by women. We will also give you an opportunity to participate in the debate, with a long table discussion facilitated by Margaret Keohane, and Transatlantic Litery Women committee members Marine Furet, Saskia McCracken and Louisa Burden.

Organised by the charity Northlight Heritage, DIGGING IN will be taking place in Glasgow until 2018, to celebrate the centenary of the conflict. Following archaeological excavations in the North of France, Digging In recreates trenches based on the historical Allied and German trenches in Pollok Park. By engaging with this environment, participants have the opportunity to explore the stories and myths associated with the conflict, and to imagine the experiences of the men and women whose lives became entangled with warfare.

We look forward to what promises to be an exciting day, and hope to see many of you there!

All the best,

The TLW and Digging In teams.

Review of the Transatlantic Modernisms Workshop in U.S. Studies Online

Hi all!

We hope you’re well. We are looking forward to seeing you at our events in April, but today, we’d like to share something a bit different with you. PhD student Kari Sund (University of Glasgow), who attended our Transatlantic Modernisms Workshop in February, has just written a review of the event, published in U.S. Studies Online. You can find the full text here. Here’s a sneak peek of her comments on the day:

A particular highlight of the programme was the Modernisms Workshop, an afternoon of papers dedicated to modernist female writers, and presented by esteemed female academics. Questions raised regarding American expatriate women and their often conflicted attitudes to homeland resonated with contemporary concerns, given the heightened awareness of Britain’s relationship to the rest of Europe and the United States following both the Brexit vote, and the presidential election of Donald Trump.

And the rest is on U.S. Online

Thanks to Kari for this lovely review!

The TLW Committee.

March Programme Round-Up


We hope you’re well, and that you’ve enjoyed our Scottish Writers’ Centre creative writing showcase, if you were able to come along. This spring, we will pay particular attention to dissident female voices, with the works of such writers as novelist Nella Larsen and nurse/activist Ellen LaMotte, but also with someone I am particularly obsessed with, namely novelist, fairy tale writer and satirist extraordinaire Angela Carter. Below is the full listing of our events in March and April.

Design © Katrina Falco

As you can see, we’ve got a lot coming up, but first I’d like to guide you through our programme over the next few weeks. March is a key month in our calendar, marking the celebration of International Women’s Day.

As you know, there will be a lot going on around Glasgow, and particularly on campus, where a team, including TLW’s own Saskia McCracken, have put together an exciting conference on the theme Women, Place and Belonging. More details on this day are available on the conference’s website.

If you’re at work during the day, you might like to know about a later talk, organised by the Centre of American Studies, sponsored by the British Association of American Studies and the US Embassy in London. Laura is looking forward to introducing renowned academic Professor Judie Newman (University of Newcastle), who will be speaking on “Letters in Louisa May Alcott’s Fiction: from the family post box to the modern mails”. The talk starts at 5.15 on Wednesday 8 March in room 203, 10 University Gardens. Drinks available from 5. Everyone welcome and, as always, events are free!

Finally, if you cannot make it to any of those two events, we have something else for you. Our creative showcase at the Scottish Writers’ Centre highlighted the diversity and quality of the writing in Scotland, with some amazing prose and poetry work presented by local women writers. From March 8th onwards, we will give them a platform, by publishing one text a day on our blog. We hope that you will appreciate their work as much as we did.

On March 14th, we will commemorate Angela Carter with an event dedicated to her work. More often identified as the author of The Bloody Chamber, her feminist retake on the Western fairy tale canon, Carter might not be the first name to come to mind when exploring the transatlantic relationship, and this event will be an opportunity to reexamine this preconception. We look forward to welcoming Dr Heidi Yeandle from Swansea University, with a talk entitled ‘Angela Carter’s Female America: Apocalyptic and Artificial’. More information on the talk to come soon!

Finally, on March 20th, we will be reconvening for our third book club, where we’ll be reading Nella Larsen’s novel Passing. If you haven’t yet, remember to send us an email to grab your own free copy of the book.

We hope to see you at our events this coming month! In the meantime, we wish you a very happy International Women’s Day/Week!




Transatlantic Literary Women at the Scottish Writers’ Centre

We are delighted to be collaborating with the Scottish Writers’ Centre to bring you an evening of creative writing this Tuesday, hosted by poet and author Carolyn Jess-Cooke. We’ll be celebrating the work of contemporary writers in Scotland, showcasing their responses to the theme Transatlantic Literary Women. We have a selection of poets and prose writers, who each engage with transatlanticism in unique and fascinating ways. Whether you’re a writer yourself or just want to enjoy an evening of readings by talented locals, our speakers will give you a flavour of some of the exciting work that women writers are currently creating.


The Scottish Writers’ Centre is a countrywide resource, which supports national writers and promotes Scotland’s vibrant literary culture. Operated solely by volunteers, the SWC is by writers, for writers. The organisation, based in Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts, provides a space for emerging and established writers to meet, share ideas and experiences about the craft, and learn from one another. The SWC encourages literary appreciation and professional development through in-process masterclasses, open mics, and book launches, as well as a variety of other events. Guest speakers include renowned Scottish writers at the top of their respective fields, be it poetry, novel, or play writing. For more see https://scottishwriters.wordpress.com. You can also subscribe to the newsletter, follow the blog and social media pages, and become a member for £10-£15 per year. Opportunities abound to submit your own work, so get writing!

A little bit about our speakers… Carolyn Jess-Cooke is a poet and novelist published in twenty three languages. Her third novel is published in 2017 by HarperCollins and is being adapted for a TV series, and she is currently working on a poetry sequence on the life of 19th-century social reformer Josephine Butler. Our other speakers include several exciting new poets: Maria Sledmere, Angie Spoto, Mairi Murphy and Kathryn Metcalfe. Author Louise Turner will be reading an excerpt from her latest book, and we’ll be welcoming writer and artist Alex Hackett, slam poet Carly Brown, and archivist writer Sandra Whitnell to share their work. You can download the programme of the evening here for more information about our speakers.

The showcase will start at 7pm. As usual, it’s all free! You can get in touch on the page of the event, here, if you have any question. We look forward to seeing you there!


A Shout-Out from Team TLW for Our Colleagues!

We have a busy two weeks coming up in the Transatlantic Literary Women Series. Don’t forget the book club meets on Monday 20 February at 5.15 in room 203, 4 University Gardens, where we’ll be discussing Americanah. And on Tuesday 28 Feb we’re teaming up with the fabulous Scottish Writers’ Centre for a creative writing showcase, hosted by Carolyn Jess-Cooke, in the CCA Clubroom on Sauchiehall Street.

Continue reading “A Shout-Out from Team TLW for Our Colleagues!”

TLW and Glasgow Women’s Library: A Taste of Things to Come

Plans are underway for a fabulous Transatlantic Literary Women event at Glasgow Women’s Library in June. Here’s a taster of the last event I went to there, and what we might expect to see as part of the TLW series in the summer. Looking forward to it!

This time last week I was enjoying the fabulous #herland Burn’s Night Woolf Supper at Glasgow Women’s Library. There are many alternative Burns nights in Glasgow, but this was unmissable. Robert Burns and Virginia Woolf share the same birthday, a fascination with Mary Queen of Scots, and much more besides. One line in Woolf’s feminist tract A Room of One’s Own stands out – or should I say blazes out? – in particular:

‘Yet genius of a sort must have existed among women as it must have existed among the working classes. Now and again an Emily Brontë or a Robert Burns blazes out and proves its presence.’Virginia Woolf

The Herland event took the connections between Woolf and Burns as a prompt for night of poetry, music and feasting. We gathered in the library dressed in our best ‘Bloomsbury with a Burns twist’. Picture women in feathered hats, wearing creative fusions of tartan, tweed and sweeping patterned shawls. Library volunteers have decorated the room in suffragette colours with thistle-like patterns that evoke the work of Woolf’s sister, artist Vanessa Bell. One wall exhibits Woolf’s book covers (some are even projected, in purple, green and white, on the ceiling), with smatterings of pamphlets on Woolf’s connection to Scotland. I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to display my own Woolf/Burns cut-up book art. Our salonnieres for the evening are poets JL Williams (dressed as a wolf) and Jane Goldman (with thistle-purple hair). The tone is set for a unique event.

Courtesy of Jane Goldman

Throughout the evening we have a feast of wonderful performances. Rahat Zahid ‘blazes out’ with her translations of Woolf and Burns into Urdu. Nuala Watt blazes out with her polyvocal poetry and singing. Poet Lila Matsumoto plays the fiddle as she leads us into the reading room where we enjoy a delicious Malaysian buffet from Julie MacLeod’s Street Kitchen. Then Sophie Collins shares an autobiography-poem inspired by Woolf’s Orlando, followed by a trio of local poets (above) who take full advantage of Mrs Dalloway rhyming with Galloway. Performer and writer MacGillivray gives a blazing performance that fuses electric harp, mermaid song and sound recordings of Mary Queen of Scots’ old haunts.

Although the supper is not a transatlantic event, it still forms a bridge, between Woolf’s England and Burns’ Scotland. The event also reaches across time: Burns was born in 1759, Woolf, on the same day in 1882, and both of them are channelled through our contemporary performers. It makes sense then, that we’ll be reaching across the Atlantic at Glasgow Women’s Library this summer.

Courtesy of Jane Goldman

Put June the 3rd in your diaries, for the summer extravaganza of the Transatlantic Literary Women series. There will be music and food. There will be poetry, talks and workshops. There will be keynote papers given by Professor Melanie Dawson (William and Mary College, USA) on ageing, advertising and modernity, and by Professor Gary Totten (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) on African American women travel writing. You’ll have the chance to nominate and give a pitch for your transatlantic literary woman of the year (perhaps even dressed in your own TLW inspired get-up). We’re looking forward to a day of translatlantic voices, blazing out! See you there – sláinte!

In the meantime, see you at our Transatlantic Modernisms Workshop on Wednesday and don’t forget to submit to our Creative Writing Student Showcase by February the 14th. We look forward to hearing your work on the 28th!