Reminder: First Auto / Bio / Fiction seminar today: Michael Lackey and Jenny Rademacher

A reminder that the first seminar in the Auto / Bio / Fiction series is today at 5.30pm UK time:

Michael Lackey, “Zora Neale Hurston and Thomas Mann: Moses Biofictions as Political Interventions” and Jenny Rademacher, “Derivative Lives: 21st Century Spanish Biofictions in Speculative Times”. Click here for more info and for the booking link – registration is required to receive the zoom link (please register by 5pm)


2022-23 Programme of the London Beckett Seminar

The programme of the London Beckett Seminar has been published on our website. The next seminar will take place tomorrow, 21 October, at 6-7pm (BST):

Dr Hannah Simpson (The University of Edinburgh), “Samuel Beckett and Disability Performance”

To receive a link to attend, please email

Details below, with our best wishes – enjoy it!


Dr Hannah Simpson (The University of Edinburgh), “Samuel Beckett and Disability Performance”

Samuel Beckett’s plays have attracted a striking range of disability performances—that is, performances that cast disabled actors, regardless of whether their roles are explicitly described as “disabled” in the text. What is it about Beckett’s stage plays that attracts disability performance? What does a performance that translates a Beckett script in explicitly disabled terms do to our understanding of that text, or to our understanding of Beckett’s work more broadly? Or, more specifically: what do such performances reveal about these playtexts’ persistent concern with the conditions of embodied existence, and with the impaired body and mind?

Drawing on my new monograph, Samuel Beckett and Disability Performance, this talk addresses these questions with reference to historic and contemporary disability performances of Beckett’s work, and a new theorising of Beckett’s “disability aesthetic”. Hanna Marron as Winnie (Happy Days, dir. Michael Guvrin, 1985), Harold Pinter as Krapp (Krapp’s Last Tape, dir. Ian Rickson, 2006), Nabil Shaban and Garry Robson, and Dan Moran and Chris Jones as Hamm and Clov (Endgame, dir. Robert Rae, 2007, and Joe Grifasi, 2012), Jess Thom as Mouth (Not I, dir. Matthew Pountney, 2017), and Tommy Jessop and Otto Baxter as Vladimir and Estragon (Waiting for Godot, dir. Sam Curtis Lindsay and Daniel Vais, 2018): these productions emphasise or rework previously undetected indicators of disability in Beckett’s work. More broadly, they reveal how Beckett’s theatre compulsively interrogates alternative embodiments, unexpected forms of agency, and the extraordinary social interdependency of the human body.

HANNA SIMPSON is Lecturer in Drama and Performance in the Department of English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. She previously served as the first Rosemary Pountney Junior Research Fellow in British and European Theatre at St Anne’s College, University of Oxford. She is the author of Samuel Beckett and the Theatre of the Witness: Pain in Post-War Francophone Drama (Oxford University Press, 2022) and Samuel Beckett and Disability Performance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022). She is also Theatre Review Editor for The Beckett Circle and welcomes contact from anyone interested in reviewing for us.

The CCL’s 2022-23 programme of events

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Despite the difficulties of last year and the departure of some great colleagues, the CCL is alive and kicking, and about to kick off with a fantastic programme of events for 2022-23.

Our first CCL Annual Lecture will be given on 24 November 2022 by Marina Warner, with the title “Viral Spiral: Multiple Shape-shifting from Ovid to Covid”. You can attend in person (and have a drink with us afterwards!) or watch it online – click on the title to read more about it and book.

Two regular series of events will run in parallel through the academic year, during term time:

The Auto / Bio / Fiction series aims to put in dialogue (and possibly in dispute) different interpretations and practices of biofiction, autofiction and neighbouring genres and art forms, and discuss the questions raised by these forms and their critical and textual encounters.

We start on 27 October 2022 with Michael Lackey and Jenny Rademacher, and hope to see many of you there. Click on the links for more details and to register. All events for this series will be online, on Thursdays at 5.30pm (UK time).

The Sing in Me, Muse: The Classical, the Critical, and the Creative series will bring together scholars and students from a variety of disciplines with creative writers and other artists, to examine how the literary and material cultures of ancient Greece, the Near East and Rome have been adapted and rewritten at later times and other places.

We start on 3 November 2022, in collaboration with the Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre, with Maltese poet Abigail Ardelle Zammit. Abigail will read from her work and talk about her #wearedaphne project, which retells, through erasures of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the assassination of Maltese investigative journalist Daphna Caruana Galizia.

This event will be online, but several of the other talks in this series will be in person, too.  All are on Thursdays, either at 5.30 or at 6pm. Click on the links to find out more and register.

On 24 March 2023, we’ll join forces with the Decadence Research Centre to host a day symposium on Decadence and the Fairy Tale – look out for more details soon.

Following the success of the first Spectacular Orientalism conference last June, on 27-28 April 2023 we will host the second Spectacular Orientalism conference, organised in collaboration with the Society for European Festivals Research, and focusing this time more specifically on Asia and the Far East.  The deadline to propose papers is 17 December 2022, and all details can be found on the Call for Papers page.

And given the success of our May 2022 Postcolonial Theatre series, look out for the announcement of the May 2023 Postcolonial Theatre Series.

Looking forward to seeing you in person or online for any or all of the occasions above (and the further delights that are being planned and will be announced in due course…),

With warmest wishes,

Lucia, Clare, Marie-Claude and Isobel