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BCLA Panels, Webinars, and CFP


Chaired by BCLA President Prof Susan Bassnett, with four keynote speakers followed by a round table discussion led by BCLA Hon. Secretary Prof Ben Hutchinson, with questions open to all participants. 
Please register here:
Session 1: Speakers
9.30 am Welcome by BCLA President, Professor Susan Bassnett
9.35-10.05 Professor Mads Rosendahl Thomsen (Aaarhus), The Values of Imperfection
10.05-10.35 Professor Kylie Crane (Potsdam), Decay, Ruin and other (Un)Becomings:
Random Readings
10.35-10.45 – break
Session 2: Speakers
10.45-11.15 Professor Maghiel Van Crevel (Leiden), No One in Control?
11.15-11.45 Professor Peter Arnds (Dublin), The Lost Art of Happenstance: Randomness in Travel Literature
11.45-12.00 – break
Session 3: Roundtable discussion
12.00-1.30 Chaired by Professor Ben Hutchinson, BCLA Hon. Secretary
Comparatists from around the world are warmly invited!Chance encounters with people or texts, unforeseen opportunities, and impulsive decisions play a bigger role in our life and work than we wish to acknowledge – we wrote in our initial blurb, and then the events and unpredictability of the Covid-19 epidemic overtook us.  It is only retrospectively – we continued – in shifting scale from the individual to social or perspective from reading to interpreting, that randomness becomes regularity and can get explained away as purpose and design. 

In launching the project Culture and Quarantine, we then asked: how can culture help us come to terms with this unprecedented situation? What does it mean to cogitate in gated communities, to think and to write in enforced isolation? These questions are particularly pertinent for the discipline of Comparative Literature, predicated as it is upon breaking down borders between languages and cultures. 

In an age in which borders have been re-erected almost overnight, how do we retain intellectual freedom of movement? In an era in which we have all been weaponized against each other, how do we avoid simply retreating to our castles and closing the drawbridge? How, in short, do we not become ever more self-centred? How do we think about our future and the future of our discipline together?

John Dryden Prize for Literary Translation
The British Comparative Literature Association and the British Centre for Literary Translation are pleased to announce their continued joint sponsorship of the translation competition for 2020-2021. Prizes will be awarded for the best unpublished literary translations from any language into English, subject to finding a reader (entrance fee will be refunded if no reader is available). Literary translation includes poetry, prose, or drama from any period.
First prize: £350; second prize: £200; third prize: £100; other entries may receive commendations.
All three prizes also include one year’s BCLA membership. Judges will be selected from the following:
Dr Jacob Blakesley (Chair) (Academic Fellow in World Literatures and Translation Studies, University of Leeds)
Professor Susan Bassnett (Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Glasgow/Warwick)
Dr Emily Finer (Senior Lecturer in Russian and Comparative Literature, University of St Andrews)
Dr Stuart Gillespie (Reader, University of Glasgow and Founding Editor, Translation and Literature)
Dr Maike Oergel (Associate Professor in German Studies, University of Nottingham)
Professor Wen-chin Ouyang (Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature, SOAS)
Professor Martin Sorrell  (Professor of Modern Languages, University of Exeter)
Robert Chandler (Translator)
The judges will be assisted by expert bilingual readers specialising in the literatures for which entries are received.
Prize-winners will be announced in summer/autumn 2021 on the BCLA website:
Subject to copyright, winning entries will be published in full in Comparative Critical Studies and on the Edinburgh University Press website.
If you join the BCLA between 1 July 2020 and 31 January 2021, you may submit one entry free of charge. Please note this on your  John Dryden Competition Entry form.
The entry fee is £10 sterling for one, £15 for two, or £20 for three entries. Payment can be made via the University of Leeds secure online store:   
Electronic entries (source text, translation, entry form) should be emailed
If you need to send hard copies, please send them to the following address:
Dr Richard Hibbitt,
John Dryden Translation Competition
School of Languages, Cultures & Societies
University of Leeds
United Kingdom

Entries will be received from September 2020. 
Failure to comply with the competition rules (printed overleaf) will render entries ineligible.

Call for Papers: MLA International Symposium, Glasgow, June 2021:
The next symposium will take place in Glasgow, Scotland, from 17–19 June 2021. The call for papers, “Being Hospitable: Languages and Cultures Across Borders,” is available now. Perhaps you have an idea for a roundtable or panel session. Maybe you’d like to submit an individual paper proposal. Our online submission portal is open, so take a look at the call and send in your work. We look forward to gathering in person, and we can’t wait to welcome you to Glasgow. Use the links below to learn more about the symposium.Symposium details and FAQsImportant dates and deadlinesCall for papersSubmission portalIf you have any questions about the symposium or how to submit a proposal, please write to us at

Stefan Helgesson (Stockholm University), Literary Distance in Southern African Journals: The Case of Charrua
Fri 25 September, 4 pm GST, 25 September 2020

The first in a series of monthly webinars on The magazine and world literature organised by Patricia Novillo-Corvalan (University of Kent), and Francesca Orsini (SOAS, University of London) exploring how magazines in different languages, contexts, and periods have “done” world literature. Later seminars will include:
16 October 2020  Jia Yan (Peking University), ‘“Eastern Literature” as Happenstance: Indian Literature and the Conceptualisation of “Eastern Literature” in 1980s Chinese Magazines’
20 November 2020 Laetitia Zecchini (CNRS, Paris & Visiting Scholar, Boston University), Title tbc
 11 December 2020 Francesca Billiani (University of Manchester), ‘Randomly Clear Choices: Literary and Cultural Journals in Inter-war Italy’
 22 January 2021 Rossen Djagalov (New York University), ‘The Friendship of the Peoples magazine in the post-Stalin Era’
19 February 2021 Jennifer Dubrow (University of Washington), Title tbc
19 March 2021 Zain Mian (University of Pennsylvania), Title tbc
16 April 2021 Patricia Novillo-Corvalan (University of Kent), ‘Borges, Joyce, and the Little Magazines: Hiberno-Argentine Radical Affiliations’
Emma Bond (St Andrews)Museum Practices in World Literature:
Thursday 1st October 3-4:30pm (UK time)
In re-telling histories of colonialism, war, borders and mobility through objects, authors Daša Drndić, Valeria Luiselli, Maaza Mengiste and Olga Tokarczuk collage together literary, archival and journalistic sources, traces of visual and material culture, song and photography, effectively assembling their books as mobile, living archives on display. 

The first in a series on World literature and translation (Organisers: Joseph Ford, Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Studies, University of London, and LINKS).  
Register here:
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