The 16th International Conference on the Short Story in English will take place from June 24-27, 2020 at the University of Calabria, Rende, Italy with the theme: “Food, Migration, Diversity and Survival: The Many Flavors of the Short Story.
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 23rd, 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 22st. Please view the list of workshops on the website, listed separately.