Re-Visiting Sylvia Townsend Warner (1893-1978)

A One-Day International Symposium hosted by the Centre for South West Writing, University of Exeter and the Dorset County Museum


29 June 2012, Dorset County Museum, Dorchester

Professor Mary Joannou (Anglia Ruskin University)
Professor Jan Montefiore (University of Kent)


Sylvia Townsend Warner’s writing demands renewed investigation. An expert musicologist as well as a versatile novelist, short story writer and poet, she was a controversial international figure. MI5 investigated her ‘communist activities’ while contemporaries were unsettled by her Spanish Civil War politics and the unreserved expression of her homosexuality, with these aspects of her writing having attracted some of the liveliest critical commentary by distinguished biographers, critics and novelists. Her novels, short stories, poems, letters, diaries and translations have been reprinted by publishers including the Women’s Press, Virago, Penguin, Carcanet and her own publisher Chatto. Yet despite attempts to recover Warner’s work for a wider readership, she is rarely found on university syllabi in the UK or abroad.

This one day international symposium hosted jointly by the University of Exeter’s Centre for South West Writing and the Dorset County Museum aims to mark the importance of Warner’s writing and highlight her place as an original, generically resourceful and politically conscious 1930s woman writer at the heart of the literary avant-garde. The conference also aims to draw attention to the rich resources of the Sylvia Townsend Warner Archive housed in the Museum.

The conference committee would like to thank the Sylvia Townsend Warner Society for assistance and financial support of the conference.

The conference organisers welcome submission of papers from postgraduate students and established scholars on any aspect of STW’s work.

Topics can include but are not restricted to:

  • STW and place (especially Dorset)
  • STW and radical politics
  • STW and life writing
  • STW and music
  • STW and other modernist writers
  • STW and the arts
  • STW abroad
  • STW and sexual identity
  • STW and translation

Calls for papers

Please send 300 word abstracts, accompanied by a short CV, to Dr Alex Murray and Dr Vike Martina Plock at stwconference2012@exeter.ac.uk by 1 December 2011.

Further Information