Stevie Smith Conference

A conference on the work of Stevie Smith
11 March, 2016
Jesus College, Oxford

‘We all have these thoughts sometimes.’
— Stevie Smith, Some Are More Human Than Others (1958)

The work of Stevie Smith (1902-1971) has received uneven critical attention. Widely loved outside the academy, her novels and poetry resist traditional modernist narratives. In a critical context which values texts according to their complexity, her writing – with its nursery-rhyme rhythms and accompanying sketches – can seem disconcertingly “simple”.

However, Smith is enjoying a revival both within and beyond academia. Not only has Virago Press recently re-released her novels, but a critical edition of her poems is forthcoming.

Given this resurgence in popular and academic interest in her writing, we invite you to share ‘thoughts’ on Stevie Smith’s work, for a one-day conference in Oxford.

Contributors may consider, but need not be limited to:

– Stevie Smith and her contemporaries
– Smith and life-writing
– Smith in relation to modernism/postmodernism
– Stevie Smith’s critical history
– Smith and her forebears (myth, fairytale, the Romantics, the Victorians…)
– Stevie Smith and visual art
– Smith and “simplicity”
– Smith in her historical-political context
– Stevie Smith and gender
– Artistic responses to Stevie Smith’s writing (music, drama, etc)

Proposals are invited for twenty-minute papers, to be delivered as part of panels of three. Individual proposals (of 250 words), and panel proposals (of up to 700 words), for three papers that interact under a common theme, are warmly accepted. Creative responses to Smith’s work are also welcome.

As well as traditional academic papers, it is hoped that the conference will also involve discussions and performances by a range of artists who have worked with, or been inspired by, Smith. A full list of speakers will shortly be available here.

Please send proposals to

The deadline for submissions is 11th November 2015. The one-day conference will take place on 11th March 2016.

We welcome you to disseminate this CfP widely.

This conference is organised in association with the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing (OCLW).

Conference URL is