The 16th International Conference on the Short Story in English will take place from June 23-26, 2021 at the University of Calabria, Rende, Italy with the theme: “Food, Migration, Diversity and Survival: The Many Flavors of the Short Story.
In This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto (2019), Suketu Mehta states that wherever there are immigrants, there are stories to give voice to their feelings of displacement and belonging through memory and acts of resilience. Their lives are indeed floating narratives that become a powerful symbol of the fluidity and vulnerability of our contemporary world. In an age where the added value of cultural diversity is being questioned (again) by the resurgence of nationalistic populism and threatened by the construction of concrete and mental walls, storytelling becomes the creative space where boundaries can be blurred and the universal core of the human experience illuminated. Being one of the most diverse expressions of material culture, food pervasively contributes to define such human experience and to reveal the tensions between local traditions and global phenomena.
The 16th International Conference on the Short Story in English brings writers of many nationalities to Calabria, a region in Southern Italy that lies between two seas, the Tyrrhenian and the Ionian, and stretches into the Mediterranean like a pier toward Africa. From its shores thousands of migrants left for a better life and on its shores hundreds of migrants are now landing in search of a brighter future. A land of contrasts and contradictions, Calabria has indeed many “flavors” and is truly culturally diverse. In this scenario, fiction writers in English, or authors who have been translated into English, together with scholars of the short story, will join in reading sessions, roundtable discussions and panels, paper presentations, and a special session in Cosenza with literary moments and a food tour of the historical center.
Drawing a parallelism between writing and cookery, the Conference aims at highlighting the variety of combinations through which the “ingredients” of the Short Story can be mixed together in order to create diverse literary recipes whose flavors represent the manifold shapes and structures of the Short Story, its plurality of voices and perspectives, its capacity to migrate and adapt to new cultural contexts and stylistic forms and to be remediated across other artistic languages. Thanks to its fluidity and porosity, the Short Story successfully navigates beyond literary boundaries and turns diversity into a unique and distinctive feature. Workshops will be offered on June 22nd, the day before the opening of the Conference. Workshops are open to the public as well as conference participants. Conference participants who take workshops should plan on arriving in Cosenza no later than June 21st. Please view the list of workshops on the website, listed separately.
Dean, College of Liberal Arts
University of Central Arkansas
Associate Professor of English
University of Calabria
Chief Editor and Author
Accenti Magazine, Montreal, Canada
Professor of English
University of Central Arkansas
Society for the Study of the Short Story (SSSS)
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