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These Silences experimental literary symposium


The These Silences conference (11-14 August, Edinburgh) is a must:

Just as realist painting lost its appeal for many artists after the invention of photography, so many writers abandoned naturalistic storytelling after the development of cinema. These Silences turns the spotlight on novelists who have overhauled and reinvented modernist developments in fiction, to bring up to the minute literary experimentation kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century.

11 August
Psychedelic Noir: Anthony Joseph and Iphgenia Baal
17.45, 1hr
Red Lecture Theatre, £4/£3

Anthony Joseph has been described as both “blending the diasporic with the avant garde” and “L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry meets Sun Ra”, Joseph’s novel, The African Origin Of UFOs, is accessible but mind expanding. His Afro-futurism encompasses science fiction and folk tales, surreal imagery and neologisms, sudden historical shifts and dexterous verbal riffs on a wide range of musical traditions. An accomplished live performer who recites from memory, Joseph fuses an impressively wide range of genres. He will surprise and delight you. Appearing with him is Iphgenia Baal. Her just published first book, The Hardy Tree, is a genre-bending meditation on graveyards, the gothic, Thomas Hardy and the deep topology of Kings X in London.

12 August
Putting The Psycho Back Into Psychogeography: Iain Sinclair
20.30, 1hr
Red Lecture Theatre, £8/£6

Iain Sinclair has been called East London’s recording angel. Hackney’s Pepys. A literary mud-larker and tip-picker. A Travelodge tramp. A toxicologist of the 21st-century landscape. A historian of countercultures and occulted pasts. A psychogeographer. He’s all of these things, and more, but above all he’s the only contemporary British writer whose work is grounded in experimental literary practices who has been wholeheartedly embraced by the literary establishment. Acceptance was a long time coming, but after twenty years in the underground, Sinclair has now spent two decades more blinking in the sunlight of commercial success.

13 August
Where The Novel Has A Nervous Breakdown: Stewart Home, Bridget Penny, Katrina Palmer
17.00, 1hr
Red Lecture Theatre, £5/£4

Writers from the Book Works Semina series whose work demonstrates a total disregard for the conventions that structure received ideas about fiction. Bridget Penney was born and grew up in Edinburgh; her first book Honeymoon with Death was shortlisted for the Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year Award. Richard Marshall says of Katrina Palmer’s The Dark Object: “the reader is placed in a Russian Doll sort of text, a story in a story in a story, where the ideal of narrative closure, of interpretive closure, is provocatively questioned.” The same source calls Stewart Home: “Britain’s greatest living underground legend”. Home is the author of 13 published novels and several books of cultural commentary.

14 August
To ignore the avant garde is akin to ignoring Darwin: Tom McCarthy
13.30, 1hr
Red Lecture Theatre, £5/£4

Tom McCarthy was short listed for last year’s Booker Prize. His books are crammed with coincidence, with doubles and fakes, moments of deja vu, repetitions of repetitions. McCarthy draws on the history of the avant-garde and modernist experimentation to produce left-field literary fiction that is both acclaimed and contemporary. Time Out called him: “English fiction’s new laureate of disappointment”. As well as the novels Men In Space, Remainder and C, McCarthy is also the author of a book of criticism, Tintin and the Secret of Literature.

Storm The Reality Studios: Ed Robinson, Stewart Home, Tom McCarthy
15.00, 1hr
Red Lecture Theatre, £5/£4

Edward S. Robinson riffs on his book Shift Linguals: Cut-Up Narratives From William S. Burroughs to the Present. In this book Robinson offers a biography of Burroughs cut-up method. He locates its prehistory in modernist and avant-garde practices; he charts its origins with Gysin and Burroughs through to its early practitioners Claude Pélieu, John Giorno and Carl Weissner; remarks on developments made by Kathy Acker and Stewart Home; and finally identifies some contemporary manifestations. Shift Linguals contains the first critical attention – in English at least – to some of these authors, and charts the various permutations and applications of the cut-up method since Burroughs.

A single ticket is available to cover all events running as part of the These Silences conference: £15 full price and £12 concessions.

[Pic: Stewart Home & Tom McCarthy by Andrew Gallix, 3:AM Xmas Bash 2005]

First posted: Thursday, July 28th, 2011.

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