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China Miéville’s work the subject of Weird Council conference at Birkbeck

The work of author China Miéville was the subject of a conference sponsored by Birkbeck’s School of Arts

On Friday 14 and Saturday 15 September, the work of author China Miéville was the subject of a conference held at Senate House, sponsored by Birkbeck’s School of Arts in conjunction with the University of Lincoln.  The conference was a truly international event: speakers and delegates came from Australia, Austria, Beijing, Brighton, California, Canada, Hawaii, New Zealand, Scotland, and Wales.  Two papers were given by Birkbeck graduate students.  In all, around 80 academics and fans attended over both days.

This was the first academic conference to be dedicated to Miéville’s body of work which consists of nine novels, including The City and the City (2010), Embassytown (2011), and Railsea (2012), and a collection of short stories. Miéville is also a respected literary critic, political activist and legal scholar, and has won several literary awards, including the Arthur C Clarke award, which has been described as science fiction's most significant prize.

The papers covered various topics and themes, from language and genre, to politics, history and space.  The conference included a preview screening of the film Deep State, a collaboration between Miéville and the film-makers Karen Mirza and Brad Butler, and concluded with a reading of a related short story, ‘The Ninth Technique’, and a lively Q&A session chaired by Birkbeck’s Professor Roger Luckhurst.

Tony Venezia, a PhD student in the Department of English and Humanities, co-organised the conference with Caroline Edwards of the University of Lincoln.  He said: ‘It was such a privilege to be involved in putting together this event, and extremely gratifying to see academics and SF fans – sometimes one and the same – come together under one roof.’  A book of selected proceedings will be published by Gylphi in the near future.

Read more about the Weird Council conference on our events blog.

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