What We Do

ESSE was created in Rome in January 1990.

The Society is a European federation of national higher educational associations for the study of English. Individual membership of the Society is obtained via the corporate membership of national or joint-national constituent associations. In other words, membership of ESSE is granted by the membership of a national association affiliated to ESSE. The Society endeavours to reflect the cultural and geographical diversity of Europe in its institutions.

The aim of the Society is to advance the education of the public by promoting the European study and understanding of English languages, literatures in English and cultures of English-speaking peoples.

The Society endeavours:

  • To arrange regular conferences for those researching and teaching English languages, literatures in English and cultures of English-speaking peoples in Europe. fifteen have been held, ESSE-1 in Norwich, 1991, ESSE-2 in Bordeaux, 1993, ESSE-3 in Glasgow, 1995, ESSE-4 in Debrecen, 1997, ESSE-5 in Helsinki, 2000, ESSE-6 in Strasbourg, 2002, ESSE-7 in Zaragoza, 2004, ESSE-8 in London, 2006, ESSE-9 in Aarhus in 2008, ESSE-10 in Turin, ESSE-11 in Istanbul in 2012, ESSE-12 in Košice in 2014, ESSE-13 in Galway in 2016, ESSE-14 in Brno in 2018 , ESSE-15 in Lyon in 2020/2021 (online), and ESSE-16 in Mainz in 2022. The next conference, ESSE-17, will be held in Lausanne in 2024.

  • To foster research-networks in specialist topics which will bring together higher education teachers, scholars and writers and facilitate intellectual cooperation. A scholarly journal, the European Journal of English Studies (EJES), is published in cooperation with Routledge.

  • To provide an information network, in the form of a newsletter (The ESSE Messenger), about matters related to English studies in Europe, such as curriculum developments, national conferences, specialised research projects. The Messenger has also initiated the publication of supplements to its regular newsletter, beginning with the report from the Berlin meeting on Resources for Scholarship in Eastern Europe, which can be downloaded in pdf format. Jan Rusiecki’s report on Postgraduate Studies in Europe, can also be downloaded here in pdf format. More recently, Martin A. Kayman’s A Survey of English Studies in Europe at the Turn of the Century was published in the Spring 2005 issue of The Messenger. In case you cannot read the pdf format, click here to download the free programme Adobe Reader.

  • To provide information which will facilitate faculty and student exchanges under international cooperation programmes, especially those of the European Union.

ESSE offers a bursary scheme to help support young academics, and book grants to researchers.

ESSE also awards prizes to books about English studies. The previous ESSE Book Prizes were awarded in 2006 in London, in 2008 in Aarhus, in 2010 in Turin, in 2012 in Istanbul, in 2014 in Košice, in 2016 in Galway, in 2018 in Brno, in 2020/2021 in Lyon (online), and in 2022 in Mainz. The next ESSE Book Prizes will be awarded in 2024 in Lausanne.

The dates of all Founders’ meetings, Board meetings, Executive meetings and ESSE Conferences are available on the History of ESSE page


ESSE is a member of FILLM. The Federation for Modern Languages and Literatures (FILLM) is the official international body which represents the study of language and literature as research-based scholarly disciplines in universities and tertiary higher education institutions world-wide.
FILLM is part of the UNESCO pyramid of international associations which seek to represent intellectual and cultural endeavour on a global basis.