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  • Sat, 21 May 2016
  • 2.00 PM - 3.30 PM
  • Tickets: £5/£4

Hauntings is an afternoon of performances and discussion inspired by the work of Vernon Lee, a pseudonym of the British writer Violet Paget (1856 – 1935). This event has been devised by Sally Blackburn, doctoral researcher  at University of Liverpool  and Marie-Anne McQuay, Head of Programme, Bluecoat. 

Lee is remembered today primarily for her supernatural fiction, in which the narrator is possessed rather than conventionally 'haunted', and her work on aesthetics in which she charts the physiological effects of place, art and objects on the body. She was also an ardent pacifist, antivivisectionist, a campaigner for female rights, a Doctor of Letters and polyglot intellectual.

The event will be introduced by Sally Blackburn and Marie-Anne McQuay followed by readings inspired by aspects of Lee's writing from Nathan Jones (in person) and Maria Fusco (via Skype). These performative readings will be interspersed with extracts from Lee's short story collection 'Hauntings' and other works. The readings will be followed by a discussion on her legacy and contemporary experimental approaches to writing by the panel who will be joined by Victorian literature specialist Sondeep Kandola. 

Hauntings is funded by the University of Liverpool LINK Programme.

Sally Blackburn is in the second year of her PhD at the University of Liverpool. Her thesis focuses on Vernon Lee’s approaches to reading, and her assimilation of the read text into her own output. Sally is also interested in the text as palimpsest, and has written an article for the special ‘Strata’ edition of the Journal of Modern Literature. She has recently been awarded a BAVS (British Association of Victorian Studies) Research grant to study at the Vernon Lee Archive at the British Institute, Florence. During this research visit, Sally will be staying at the Villa Il Palmerino, Lee’s home in the Tuscan Hills. Sally has also written for the Reader’s Digest and has been a research assistant for a playwright and author.

Maria Fusco is a Belfast-born writer based in Glasgow. She is a a Reader at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh and was formerly Director of Art Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is one of Canongate's Future 40 and a Hawthornden Fellow. Her work is published internationally and has been translated into ten languages. Most recently she has completed Master Rocka new commission from Artangel & BBC Radio 4, which is a performance and radio broadcast live inside a mountain on the west coast of Scotland. She writes fiction, critical and theoretical texts and edit publications. Fusco is also the founder and editorial director of The Happy Hypocrite, a biannual journal for and about experimental art writing. Writer-in-Residence posts include Lisbon Architecture Triennale, Kadist Art Foundation in Paris and Whitechapel Gallery in London.

Nathan Jones is a writer and artist based in Liverpool. He is co-curator of the literature, technology and performance project Torque, and director of new media and performance agency Mercy. His solo work includes commissions for Cape Farewell, Abandon Normal Devices, and Liverpool Biennial/Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art. Nathan is REID cross-disciplinary scholar at Royal Holloway University of London researching glitch aesthetics in English and Media Arts. He writes for new media blog Furtherfield and Art Monthly. His latest work on work on codecs and contemporary poetry was published as part of Excessive Research strand at Transmediale and in APRJA.

Sondeep Kandola is a Senior Lecturer in English and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU). She has published a book on Vernon Lee for the British Council’s ‘Writers and their Work’ Series and has also written articles on Vernon Lee, Oscar Wilde, and Arthur Machen. Her new research project entitled ‘Empire, Sexuality and Censorship, 1880-1920’ explores how censorship shaped the life and works of two nonconformist critics of Englishness, Oscar Wilde and D.H. Lawrence. She practices yoga and meditation.

Marie-Anne McQuay is a curator, writer and Head of Programme at Bluecoat. Previously she was curator at Spike Island (2007-2014) working with artists including Cezary Bodzianowski, Elizabeth Price, Laure Prouvost, Cevdet Erek, Jesse Jones and Melissa Gordon. She was also instrumental in setting up Spike Associates which aims to generate debate and collaboration between artists, writers and curators across regional, national and international networks.  She studied MFA Curating at Goldsmiths College, University of London (2005-6) and prior to that worked at FACT, Liverpool (2001-2005) where she developed commissions in response to the themes of emergent technologies, shared authorship and the legacies of social housing. 

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