Conference Report: ESSE 13 Conference, 22-26 August 2016, Galway, Ireland

The 13th ESSE Conference

22-26 August 2016, NUI Galway, Ireland

Patrick Lonergan and Aoife Leahy

galway2016-logo We were delighted to host the 13th ESSE conference at National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland.  There were 3 plenary lectures, 17 sub-plenary lectures, 80 seminars, 10 round tables, 5 special PhD sessions and a poster session as well as the ESSE General Assembly and book awards ceremony.

esse-13-photoApproximately 800 delegates attended this very busy conference. Special events included the Welcome Reception, a Sean Nós Song and Dance Performance from The Centre of Irish Studies, readings by the novelist Mike McCormack and the poet Mary O’ Malley, the conference dinner in the Radisson Hotel (including Irish music and dancing performances), three plays by the Fishamble theatre company, and a special closing seminar on women and contemporary theatre from the Druid Theatre Academy. Delegates could enjoy a tour of the library and special collections on any day of the conference and the exhibition “Shakespeare Lives through Kenneth Branagh on Stage and Screen” was on display in the library.

Emma Smith, the Cultural Studies plenary speaker, entertained us with “The Biography of a Book: Shakespeare’s First Folio.” Since the theme of this issue of the ESSE Messenger is Shakespeare Lives, Emma Smith has kindly published her lecture. Paul Baker was the Linguistics plenary speaker, delivering a fascinating lecture entitled “Divided by a Common Language? A Comparison of Recent Change in American and British English.” Colm Tóibín, the Literature plenary speaker, captivated the audience with “As Things Fall Apart: The Response to Violence in the Work of W.B. Yeats and James Joyce.”

Liliane Louvel, ESSE’s President, addressed the ESSE membership at the General Assembly. There was applause for Alberto Lazaro and Smiljana Komar, who have been re-elected as ESSE’s Treasurer and ESSE’s Secretary for another three year term. The prestigious ESSE book awards were presented to the prize winners.

Photographs of the General Assembly and book awards can be seen on the ESSE Facebook page at  Important decisions made at the ESSE Board meeting can be seen on the ESSE Messenger blog at

We look forward to the next ESSE conference in Brno in 2018!

ESSE-13 (2016) Conference – Space on S17

galway2016-logoESSE-13 conference, August 22 to August 26 2016, NUI Galway, Galway, Ireland. There is still space on this seminar – please send an immediate expression of interest to the co-convenors.

S17 “Contact, Identity and Morphosyntactic Variation in Diasporic Communities of Practice”


This seminar aims to look at issues of language maintenance and shift in heritage communities of practice. Specific attention will be paid to discussing their longstanding migration, cultural heritage and identity construction. Mobility, contact and exchanges are increasing, social and communicative networks are becoming more complex, and the sociolinguistics of diaspora is beginning to address new issues. Diasporic communities are constantly increasing in size and number in the urban centres, making them sites of diversity. What happens to single heritage languages as they are relocated into new settings, creating new dialect contact situations? Papers resulting from ethnographic fieldwork and observation with a focus on language use, morphosyntactic variation and heritage identity are of particular interest

ESSE-13 (2016) Conference – Seminar looking for contributions

galway2016-logo The following ESSE 2016 seminar is still looking for contributors. Please send an immediate expression of interest to the co-convenors.

The Neo-Victorian Antipodes


From arguably the earliest example of Neo-Victorian fiction (Patrick White’s Voss, 1957) to recent Man-Booker winner The Luminaries (2013) by way of Peter Carey and Kate Grenville, the antipodes are a favoured setting for Neo-Victorian novels. This seminar explores how Neo-Victorian fiction constructs Australia, New Zealand and the Southern Pacific as, variously, the site of uncanny domesticity, an Other to Britain, a landscape to be colonised or scientifically appropriated, a frontier for the testing of masculinity, an occasion for re-writing of canonical texts. We aim to investigate the intersection of Neo-Victorian preoccupations with nineteenth-century discourses with post-colonial theorising of settler colonialism.

Please send proposals to: