The Sylvia Townsend Warner Lecture series

The Sylvia Townsend Warner Lecture series is a bi-annual event run by the Journal of the Sylvia Townsend Warner Society and supported by UCL Press. The series offers the opportunity to hear from acclaimed writers whose work touches on Sylvia Townsend Warner’s life and works.

The previous two Sylvia Townsend Warner Lectures were given by Maud Ellmann (2017) and Peter Swaab (2019). They are freely available online as open access publications:

2023: The 2023 Sylvia Townsend Warner Lecture

Date: 18 October 2023

Speaker: Professor Claire Harman

Professor Claire Harman presenting the 2023 Sylvia Townsend Warner Lecture. Her subject is '"The true voice of the heart": capture and evasiveness in Sylvia Townsend Warner's life and work'.

Claire Harman is an award-winning writer and critic, and the author of seven major literary biographies. She is especially known for her pioneering work on Sylvia Townsend Warner, including a biography published in 1989 and editions of Warner’s poetry and journals. She has taught English at the Universities of Manchester and Oxford and creative writing at Columbia University in New York City. She is now Professor of Creative Writing at Durham University. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2006 and became President of The Alliance of Literary Societies in 2016.

2021: The 2023 Sylvia Townsend Warner Lecture

Date: 21 October 2021

Speaker: Professor David Trotter

Professor David Trotter presenting the 2021 Sylvia Townsend Warner Lecture. His subject is ‘“My Usual Despicable Hold on Life”: The View from Sylvia Townsend Warner's Diaries’.

David Trotter is a specialist on British literature and cinema of the twentieth century. His many books include Paranoid modernism: literary experiment, psychosis, and the professionalization of English society (2001), Cinema and Modernism (2007) and Literature in the first media age: Britain between the wars (2013). Most recently he has published The Literature of Connection: Signal, Medium, Interface 1850-1950 (2020) and Brute Meaning (2020). He was King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at the University of Cambridge from 2002 to 2018, and is a Fellow of the British Academy.

Read the full paper 'My Usual Despicable Hold on Life': The View from Sylvia Townsend Warner's Diaries.