The Centre hosts workshops, seminars, conferences and public lectures, including an Annual Lecture, to address matters of interest to comparative literature in its broadest sense.

We are delighted that Marina Warner has agreed to give the Centre’s inaugural Annual Lecture, Viral Spiral: Multiple Shape-shifting from Ovid to Covid. After two years of (appropriately Covid-related) delays, we are very happy to confirm the date, 24 November 2022, at 6pm, in person and online.

In the meantime, please see below all of our upcoming and past events, including those for our event series, ranging from Classical Reception (‘Sing in Me, Muse’) to auto/biographical fictions and autofictions (Auto / Bio / Fiction), to Postcolonial Theatre and early modern ‘Spectacular Orientalism’

A range of further events are being planned in conjunction with theatres – notably our partner the Gate Theatre – museums and galleries, in the UK and abroad, as well as with the Borough of Lewisham, London Borough of Culture 2022.

Our members belong to a range of networks and societies (for example, LINKS, the London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies; EAM, the European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies; MDRNOut of the Wings, the theatre collective of translators and theatre-makers; the Carl Einstein-Gesellschaft / Societé Carl Einstein; and many more), and regularly participate in or organise events with these networks.

All events and activities prioritize diversity and inclusivity, which is central to our ethos.

We pay special attention to the support of graduate students and early-career researchers. In particular, as members of networks such as LINKS, CHASE, Mnemonics, and the Emerging Translators Network, our staff regularly offer graduate and early-career training events.

Upcoming events & current event series

Event Series:

Sing in me, Muse: The Classical, the Critical, and the Creative

A Series of talks, workshops, readings, discussions on the social, political and cultural relevance of the classics to our times.

This series of Classical Reception Studies events, starting in Autumn 2022 and convened by Isabel Hurst and Lucia Boldrini, 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.

In response to Marina Warner’s CCL Annual LectureViral Spiral: Multiple Shape-shifting from Ovid to Covid‘, in Autumn 2022 we will explore the shape-shifting of Ovid’s MetamorphosesFind out more about the series…

Events in this series include:

3 November 2022 (online), Abigail Ardelle Zammit, #wearedaphne – Retelling the Assassination of Malta’s Foremost Investigative Journalist through Ovid’s Metamorphoses
The poet Abigail Ardelle Zammit will discuss how she has adopted hybridity and erasure as a vehicle for dissent.  Her dialogue with Ovid’s Metamorphoses employs the violence of the blackout technique as literary tool and political commentary, selecting and obscuring words from Ovid’s tales – most noticeably from Daphne’s transformation into a tree – to retell the events leading to and following the assassination of the controversial Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. This event in hosted in conjunction with the Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre.  Find out more…

Ulysses1934RandomHouse-chapters8 December 2022 (in person), Sophie Corser, Imagined Authors: Reading the Homeric Question in Joyce’s Ulysses.
Dr Sophie Corser Sophie Corser explores how the presence of Homer in the background to James Joyce’s Ulysses raises questions about the nature of authorship. Find out more…


2 February 2023 (in person), Michael Simpson and Barbara Goff, Votes for Medea: The British women’s’ suffrage movement and the classical franchise
As classical civilisation lost its hold on the commanding heights of the British cultural economy in the early 20th C, so that by 1920 Ancient Greek was no longer required to enter Oxford, it conversely developed a new profile as a resource for progressive movements. In 1921 the Crewe Report on the ‘Position of Classics in the Educational System of the United Kingdom’, commissioned by the Government of Lloyd-George, included an impassioned plea by the Labour Party for the importance of classics in the national life. Find out more…

Find out more about the series and further planned seminars and speakers…

Event Series:

Auto / Bio / Fiction

Convened by Lucia Boldrini (Goldsmiths), Natasha Bell (Goldsmiths) and Lucia Claudia Fiorella (University of Udine, Italy) and starting in Autumn 2022, Auto / Bio / Fiction will include talks, seminars, roundtables, readings, reading groups, book launches and live book reviews.

Our speakers are critics and practitioners. Our aim is 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.

Events in this series include:

 27 October 2022, 5.30pm BST (online)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” – Read more and book to attend….


 17 November 2022, 5.30pm UTC (online)Hywel Dix, “Autofiction and Cultural Memory” and Hanna Meretoja, “Metanarrative Life-Writing: Intersections of Life and Narrative in Autofiction and Biofiction” – Read more and book to attend….


 15 December 2022, 5.30pm UTC (online)Laura Cernat, “Portraits of the Artist’s Wife in a Slanted Mirror: Reader, Mother, Lover, Sorceress” and Varsha Panjwani, “The Many Lives of Judith Shakespeare: Feminist Life-Writings” – Read more and book to attend….

Find out more about the series and further planned seminars and speakers…

Seminar Series: The London Beckett Seminar

The London Beckett Seminar meets eight times a year, and brings together national and international scholars, researchers, postgraduate students and the general public to discuss issues arising from the prose, theatre and poetry of Samuel Beckett that pertain to aspects of literary, philosophical and historical analysis with particular attention to translation studies, performance and practice, digital humanities and visual cultures. Inherently interdisciplinary in approach, the seminar has established a vibrant research network for postgraduate students, early-career researchers, and established academics on a national and international level.

Find out more about the 2022-23 programme…

Annual Lecture:

19 January 2023, 6.15pm (in person and online)

Marina Warner, Viral Spiral: Multiple Shape-shifting from Ovid to Covid

A group of metamorphoses in myths and legends features gods and in between creatures, who are not quite divine and not quite mortal either,  who can change their shape multiple times. For example, Mestra, the daughter of Erichsychthon, is given this gift by the gods when her father sells her, and she is able to elude the clients he panders her to.

Marina Warner will explore stories of multiple transformations in and out of different bodies, and reflect on their significance in relation to today’s concerns with fluid identities and interspecies contact and contagion.

Click on the event title to find out more and book to attend in person or online. Booking is free but required.


24 March 2023 (in person) 

Decadence and the Fairy Tale

Organised by the British Association of Decadence Studies (BADS) and the Goldsmiths’ Decadence Research Centre in association with the CCL.

Keynote speaker: Alessandro Cabiati, ‘Marvellous Abnormalities: Fairy Tales, Decadence, and Deviance in the Late Nineteenth Century’

Decadent writers and artists repeatedly turned to the fairy tale tradition as a rich source of inspiration. They saw the fairy tale as an opportunity to showcase both its potential for subversion and their own skill at integrating adult, decadent elements within texts traditionally perceived as reserved for children. Writers such as Oscar Wilde, Arthur Machen, Jean Lorrain (Paul Alexandre Martin Duval), Renée Vivien (Pauline Mary Tarn), and Rachilde (Marguerite Eymery Vallette) transformed the fairy tale into a strikingly transgressive adult text with capacity to explore mystical, occult and esoteric spaces, reject social and literary conventionality, and embrace decadent individualism, queer desire and sexual dissidence. This one-day symposium explores the role and significance of the decadent fairy tale from the late nineteenth century to the present. .

Click on the event title to find out more. Deadline to submit a paper proposal: 31 January 2023


27-28 April 2023 (online)

Spectacular Orientalism in Early Modern Europe II: Asia and the Far East (C16th-C18th)

The second ‘Spectacular orientalist’ conference, organised by the CCL in collaboration with the Society for European Festivals Research.

Following the success of the first Spectacular Orientalism conference in June 2022, largely devoted to the Ottoman Empire and the image of the Turk, it is our hope that papers for the follow-up conference will focus more specifically on Asia and the Far East. These two further days of talks and discussion will explore new perspectives on the representation of the Orient in early modern European art and performance in a period that witnessed the founding of the first Christian mission in Japan by the Portuguese (1549), the establishment of the English, Dutch and French East India Companies at the turn of the seventeenth century, the rise of European travel to Persia under the Safavid dynasty and the resulting spate of publications.

Click on the event title to find out more. Deadline to submit a paper proposal: 17 December 2022


Past Events