17 Nov
13:00 - 18:00

Symposium 'LIFE-WORK: Alternative forms of life writing'

In December the British novelist A.S. Byatt will be awarded the Erasmus Prize 2016 for her contribution to life writing. To mark the occasion, the Centre for Gender and Diversity of Maastricht University and the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation are hosting a symposium on alternative forms of life writing.

Soiron building

Biography and autobiography are more popular than ever. Biopics and biographical television serials draw masses of viewers while even scholarly biographical tomes such as Maaike Meijer’s biography of the poet M. Vasalis (2011) become unexpected bestsellers. But writing and re-writing our lives’ stories, by ourselves and by others, is a process that also takes place in many other forms than the traditional biography or biopic. And even within these forms many unorthodox approaches are gaining currency. In this symposium we will highlight a number of the new and unexpected forms that life writing is taking in the 21st century. We investigate the challenges posed to such life-work by the arts and the new media, but also explore the opportunities for re-inventing ourselves that they offer.

Presentations will enquire into the performative character of biopics; the challenges of inter-country adoption for (re)-constructing a coherent life story; forms of life writing in film, in the visual arts, and in performance art; the articulation of collective memories in post-communist Romania; the challenges of articulating the self for people with autism or people suffering from dementia, and many other aspects of contemporary life writing outside the traditional forms of the (auto)biographical narrative.

Confirmed speakers are Leni van Goidsenhoven, Louis van den Hengel, Sandra Kisters, Maaike Meijer, Codruta Pohrib, Aagje Swinnen, Christophe Van Eecke, and Lies Wesseling.

 Full programme

Attendance is free but please register through r.wennek@maastrichtuniversity.nl