Calls for papers – Conferences taking place in April 2019

The Essay: Present Histories, Present Futures
University of Malta, 11-13 April 2019
Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2018

This international conference organised by the Department of English at the University of Malta responds to a recent and pronounced resurgence of interest in the essayistic and the essay form. It aims to bring together academics, researchers, and scholars with varied backgrounds and interests to discuss the essay both by returning to its rich and varied history and by discussing its futures. The essay has always been averse to simple definition, taking elements from other discourses and reinventing itself continuously, while at the same time retaining something which makes it recognisable as ‘essay’. It is this tension that this conference focuses on by considering, among other things, the histories and futures of the essay; its key milestones and protagonists; its relation to literature, philosophy, theory, and non-fiction of various kinds; its relation to modality and publication contexts; and the possibility or otherwise of developing a poetics or a theory of the essay.

We invite papers that engage with the following suggested topics, but other proposed topics will also be considered.

  • Developing a poetics of the essay
  • Developing a theory of the essay
  • The contemporary essay
  • The essay’s relation to literature and literariness
  • The essay and the poetic
  • The essay and philosophy
  • The essay and literary theory
  • The essayistic
  • The essay, mode, and modality (print, film, digital, etc)
  • The histories and traditions of the essay
  • The relation between the essay and specific national literatures
  • The essay in the Mediterranean region
  • The futures of the essay
  • Individual essayists and their contribution to the poetics/theory/history/tradition of the essay
  • Recurring motifs in the essay tradition
  • Intertextuality in the essay
  • The essay and creative nonfiction
  • The institutionalization (or lack of it) of the essay
  • The essay and its publication contexts

Confirmed plenary speakers:
Prof. Neil Badmington (University of Cardiff)
Prof. Ivan Callus (University of Malta)
Dr. Uttara Natarjan (Goldsmith’s College, London)
Others to be announced in due course

Key dates:
Deadline for submission of proposals: 30th April 2018
Confirmation of acceptance of proposal after peer reviewing process: by 31st May 2018
Registration opens in July 2018

Proposals for 20 minutes papers in the form of a brief abstract (200-250words) and a short biographic note should be emailed as pdf/word files to or through the conference page on by 30th April 2018. Any queries about the conference should be sent to the same email address.

(posted 19 October 2017, updated 16 January 2018)