Friday, November 20, 2009

Disrupting the Narrative: Gender, sexuality and fractured form in diasporic writing and performance

24 November 2009, 17:30 - 19:00
Goldsmiths, University of London

Second Seminar in strand as part of AHRC funded 3-year project:

Beyond the Linear Narrative:
Fractured Narratives in Writing and Performance in the Postcolonial era

We are delighted to announce the second in this seminar strand, discussing fractured form and the exploration of gender and sexuality in writing and performance.

The seminar will be chaired by professor Helen Carr, and will focus on questions of masculinity in fractured narratives, and queering the narrative.

There will be two papers followed by refreshments and discussion.

Papers delivered by our two distinguished speakers will be:

'Fractured narratives: disrupting masculinity'
by Professor Vic Seidler, Professor of Social Theory/Sociology,
Goldsmiths, University of London


'Queering the narrative line: queer reading as a disruptive methodology.'
by Dr. Louise Tondeur, Novelist and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing: Fiction,
Roehampton University

Places are limited, so please reserve by email:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Anthony Joseph's 'Bird Head Son' German reading Tour Nov 2009

From November 16 to 23 Anthony Joseph, one of the PhD students attached to the Pinter Centre's Fractured Narratives project will be embarking on a short reading tour of several German Universities, with a date in Austria on Nov 23. Joseph will be reading from his latest poetry collection 'Bird Head Son'.

The dates and venues are :

Nov 16 - - JENA - Rosensale, University of Jena - 20.00
Nov 17 - SIEGEN - Kultur Cafe, University of Siegen - 18.00
Nov 18 - BOCHUM - GBCF 04/514 University of Bochum - 16.00
Nov 19 - DORTMUND - Sonnendeck, University of Dortmund - 19.00
Nov 20 - MAINZ - University of Mainz - 12.00
Nov 23 - VIENNA - University of Vienna - 19.00

For more info on the book see

Friday, September 4, 2009

Inua Ellams: Bookslam 03/09/09

Ben Pester writes:

Nigerian poet, living in London, formerly of Dublin, Inua Ellams has just returned from Edinburgh where his one-man live poetry show ‘The 14th Tale’ received a Fringe First award.

He read 4 poems at last night's Book Slam (he doesn’t read, nothing is on paper, but still he calls it reading) and in all of them was something to overwhelm the audience.

Ellams’ reading style, always in motion and alive with his work, is clearly intentionally performative and resonates with the rhythm and lyricism of his words. For an audience open to listening to novelists and poets simply reading from their books or notepads, it made for a hypnotic experience.

See video below for example of ‘The 14th Tale’.

Inua’s consistently autobiographical, 1st person work hints at a fascinating engagement with the notion of ‘Self’ and place when writing along contemporary post-colonial lines.

Taken as individual works, the personal voice in all the poems read was unflinchingly, joyfully confident. The voice of a self-declared trouble maker. It instantly raised questions about the narrative of the wider work. How much of this is self-consciousness? Bravado? What does a journey like his do to the poet's self-perception?

Will know and blog more on this when I’ve read his book and seen him read more ( I hope a lot more).

In the mean time ‘The 14th Tale’ is touring throughout October/November – more info at,, and youtube

Book available here:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Conference, 5th-7th November: Call For Papers

Fractured Narratives: Pinter, Postmodernism and the Postcolonial World

Call for Papers:
The conference is scheduled to take place in the Drama Department at Goldsmiths College in New Cross, South London from Thursday 5th to Saturday 7th November 2009.

Papers are invited for the following panels:
• Narrativity in postmodern drama
• Diasporic narratives
• Terror and territory in postcolonial narratives
• Writing across generic borders
• Intercultural performance and writing
• Postcolonial aesthetics in contemporary fiction
• Postcolonial performance and the fracturing of narrative

If you have an idea for another panel that addresses issues pertinent to the themes of the conference, please email us a proposal

Please email proposals (no more than 200 words) for papers or workshops to

Registration fees

Full conference fee: £100
Concession fee (Equity members and students): £50

One-day ticket: £40
One-day concession ticket: £20

Conference Convenor: Professor Robert Gordon
Conference Administrator: Ben Pester

New Event!

‘Berlin-London-Kampal-Minsk: Four Writers, Four Cities: Collaborative Writing for Performance’, 5pm, Friday, 5th June, Goldsmiths College, University of London

As a result of an informal conversation in 2005, four playwrights have embarked on a journey together to write a play, discovering each other’s cultures and approaches to theatre along the way. They meet in each other’s cities, talk to leading theatre makers there and explore why and how each playwright writes for performance.

‘The play’s the thing’ - but the practical question of how four established playwrights from different cultures work together puts into perspective a wider set of questions about intercultural dialogue: Why attempt it? What have they discovered? About themselves as well as the others? What connects them across their differences? And what sort of production will this literally cosmopolitan play become?

On Friday 5th June, the Harold Pinter Centre will be hosting an opportunity to find out what has been achieved so far and about the personal and practical challenges involved. Playwrights David Lindemann (winner of the St├╝ckemarkt, Berlin Theatertreffen) and Gabriel Gbadamosi (the Pinter Centre’s AHRC Creative Fellow) together with dramaturg/administrator Terry Ezra will be talking about and reading fragments of the playwrights’ work, illustrated by video footage and photographs.

Afterwards there will be the opportunity to talk to the playwrights directly over wine and something to eat.

‘Berlin-London-Kampal-Minsk: Four Writers, Four Cities: Collaborative Writing for Performance’, 5-7pm, Friday, 5th June, Ben Pimlott Building, Goldsmiths College, University of London. For directions, see:

If you would like to attend this event or to be kept up to date with developments in the project, please mail:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Upcoming Events

April 29th -

Disrupting the Narrative: Gender, sexuality and fractured form in diasporic writing and performance

Seminar: Ben Pimlott Building, Goldsmiths, University of London , Wed, 29 Apr 2009 17:30:00 BST

Do non-linear narratives destablise hierarchies of power? A discussion of fractured form and the exploration of gender and sexuality in writing and performance.

  • Anthony Joseph on Lord Kitchener
  • Helen Carr on the ‘Verse Revolutionaries’
  • Anna Furse on ‘The Art of Memory’

This is a Pinter Centre event and is part of the Beyond the Linear Narrative project.

May 6th:

Les Murray reads from and discusses his work

Reading and Discussion: Ben Pimlott Lecture Theatre, Wed, 06 May 2009 18:30:00 BST

Les Murray, widely regarded as Australia’s greatest living poet, reads from and discusses his work during a rare and brief visit to the UK.

This is a Richard Hoggart lecture series event, co-hosted by the Pinter Centre and the English and Comparative Literature Dept.


Narratives of Home: Notions of belonging in African diasporic performance.

Presentations and Discussion: Ben Pimlott Building, Wed, 13 May 2009 17:30 BST Four presentations, followed by group discussion, focussing on the contested notion of 'Home' in diasporic writing and performance.


Dr Sam Kasule(University of Derby) – Title: “Shifting Notions of Home, Identity and Belonging in Rose Mbowa and Kwame Kwei-Armah’

Pat Cumper (Artistic Director, Talawa Theatre Company) – Title (TBC)

Gabriel Gbadamosi (AHRC Fellow, Goldsmiths): “The Ambassador's Residence - households as strongholds of Diasporic Identity”.

May14th, 4pm, Goldsmiths, Univeristy of London: NEW ADDITION

In Association with PEN:

Tahar Ben Jelloun

Thursday May 14, 4pm

Senior Common Room

PEN and the Pinter Centre AHRC project ‘Beyond the Linear Narrative’ present:

Tahar Ben Jelloun
the Francophone Moroccan prize-winning novelist, author of This Blinding Absence of Light (2004), Racism Explained to My Daughter (1998), and now Leaving Tangier (Arcadia Books)
in conversation with Julian Evans (Chair of English PEN’s Writers in Translation Committee)

“Leaving Tangier… is a novel all the more needed for being so lucid and involving, , and a tribute to the author’s great talent that he transcends these many torn destinies and leaves the reader with a valuable sense that his characters’ lives may not have been in vain, because they have taught him something” – Julian Evans, Guardian

All welcome

One of the greatest of contemporary writers in the French language, Tahar Ben Jelloun was born in Fez, Morocco in 1944. He attended a bi-lingual primary school, then a French secondary school in Tangier, and afterwards to the University of Rabat where he studied philosophy. Here, in 1966, his studies were interrupted by the repressive hand of King Hassan II: along with 94 other protesting students shot at by the police, he was sent to first one internment camp, then another. During those long eighteen months, an experience he drew on in the novel which won the IMPAC prize for 2004, This Blinding Absence of Light, he found sustenance in James Joyce. Having asked his brother for the longest book he could find, a copy of Ulysses was smuggled in to him and he discovered in its pages an inspiring ‘liberty’. It was in the camp that he wrote his first poems: several volumes were to follow.
Released, Ben Jelloun worked as a teacher of philosophy. But when the Government declared that the teaching of philosophy was to be Arabized, he decided to leave for Paris. His decision to write in French rather than Arabic was based on his sense that the French language provided a richer tradition of fiction. His novels, however, constantly bring him back to a Morocco setting. Some critics have also noted that his ‘narrative acrobatics’ find their source in Arab storytelling.
Always politically engaged, Ben Jelloun in 1984 wrote a book on racism in France – French Hospitality. In a sense this essay was brought up to date by Racism Explained to My Daughter of 1998. Where the first was much criticized; the second became a bestseller. His novel The Sand Child (1985) which probed the constraints on women living under traditional Islam through a heroine brought up by her parents as a boy, found its sequel in The Sacred Night (1987) – a book which teems with migrants, prostitutes, the imprisoned and illiterate and moves from impotence to rebellion. It won the coveted Prix Goncourt.
An exceptional and prolific novelist and essayist, Ben Jalloun thinks of himself as ‘a Moroccan writer of French expression’, Ben Jelloun after 9/11 noted that Islam is too often understood as a caricature: we tend to ‘attribute to religion the errors and fanaticism of human beings’. He now returns regularly to Tangier, the city which has for long fed his imagination.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Many Faces of Culture- A Student Discourse

Sociology of Theatre & Performance Research Group’s National Interdisciplinary Colloquium for Postgraduate Students.

'Producing Culture'
20th -21st February 2009
Goldsmiths, university of london.

“From cave art to punk rock, ritual healing to cosmetic surgery, human activity is underpinned by a set of shared values, beliefs, and behaviours that are specific to, and bind, a social group. Producing Culture is a student-led colloquium for postgraduates that will explore the ways in which culture is manifested through and defined by social practice”. Stranger A.

I feel compelled to write something about this conference because;

1. It was run by fellow postgraduate students in my department, 2. The theme ‘Producing Culture’ was relevant to my area of research, and 3. The experience has made a marked impression on me.

I arrived to participate in the late morning session of the colloquium and heard two papers before breaking for lunch. The first, given by our own Anna Smith, a student in the Drama Department presented her findings on working with a group of young refugees and the difficulties they experienced with integrating into British society and how theatre was used as a tool to aid with this difficult transition.

The second paper, from a PhD fine Art student, Laura Malacart was the one that really started me thinking out side the box. Her paper, or should I say her film was titled Voicings: Undoing the English Speaking Subject, showed edited clips of what we thought were foreigners giving an account of the problems they encountered with the English language in Britain. She explained that her subjects had been fellow students in an English learning class (Laura is of Italian origin) in London and she decided to investigate the experiences of these students when they first arrived in England. She scripted/transcribed the interviews then gave them to English Actors to recite. The Brief was to memorize the lines of the script and present them without embellishing the words or creating a character, or correcting the English, all within an hour. She set up her camera, gave the Actors the script then left them for the hour, to present the script. What we saw was a manipulation, or a reclaiming of the voice of the unvoiced, heard through the mouths of those who are usually heard and never question language and its power.

My current readings on Post colonial theory came into play here in terms of finding mechanisms for re inventing and or rewriting the ‘master narrative’. I found her medium of presenting her work both artistic and intellectual.

Any idea that entertains the possibility of a duality excites me now.

Duality came in another form in Kathy Milazzo’s paper, from the University of Surrey’s department of Dance, Film and Theatre. The Black Body in Spain’s Romantic Age:Negotiations of Identity dealt with in essence the deliberate absence of the ‘Black Body’ in Spain’s Romantic art, which has been used to confirm and concretize the idea that the ‘origin’ of traditional Flamenco dances as being from European Gypsy culture and not Africa, as her research has uncovered. The depictions of ‘The Black Body’ are used only to emphasize the connection to slavery and little else. Her research lies in trying to understand where this cover up came from and to trace practically through rhythm, movement and language the true links with Africa.

Language for me was crucial in this paper in terms of choice of words to describe movements that were undeniably African in origin. The tone was decidedly derogatory and verging on the vulgar, presumably to reinforce the misguided framed knowledge of Africa during this period. What I then found even more interesting was the same choice of words being used to describe George Balanchine’s choreographic work Agon pas de deux. This paper by the co-chair Arabella Stanger looks at how the choreographer uses ‘balance’ to offset classical harmony. Balanchine was breaking the rules of a most institutionalized traditional technical principle, and ‘displayed’ the difficulty and athleticism of his ballet dancers in the 1950s of New York City. The work was highly controversial but what most traditionalists had trouble with was his use of Black dancers.

The thread of the ‘Black body’ was revisited in the performance Bf “a new choreographic work by Jorge Cresis (a fist year Spanish PhD student in the Drama department), and Freddie Opoku-Addaie,” A Ghanaian dancer.

Perhaps my recent emergence into Post Colonial texts and theory has, I am sure, influenced my gaze and I now ‘read’ performances looking for elements of Post colonialism. I asked during the post show discussion whether race was a theme they tackled in their abstract work. They answered that it was not a deliberate choice but were aware that once the visual image of a White dancer and a Black dancer are placed before an audience, historical links to colonial and Post Colonial readings would occur. Interestingly, the choreography whether conscious or not, succeeded in breaking away from stereotypes and was a constant surprise in its storytelling.

The final paper of this colloquium was from Shanu Shadhwani, the other co chair, presenting on Asian Women, Hybrid Voices and Narratives of Diaspora.

Her work was of particular interest to me because of the closeness of her area to mine. I seems to me that second generation migrants living in Britain are always engaging with their unique experience of living in and negotiating their presence in Britain.

I came away with many terms that many presenters used often in their work, which somehow created a subculture of ‘young researchers’ almost mimicking the language of the ‘text book’. “Newly arrived communities”, ‘host communities’,’ high art’, ‘cultural objects’, ‘niche cultural’, ‘memory making’,’ material culture’,’ social agents’, ‘special agency!!! The terms go on and on.

I continue to read and learn and hopefully find my own voice and identity in this multicultural landscape.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Launch Event

The event was a success and an excellent way to begin our project.

Readers Robert Gordon, Blake Morrison, Ekua Ekumah, Anthony Joseph and Maura Dooley were watched and listened to by a very receptive audience in the Lecture Theatre at the Ben Pimlott building.

Next seminar will be on April 29th as outlined in the new events programme, coming soon!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


5:30pm, 25th March, in the Lecture Theatre, Ben Pimlott Building, Goldsmiths, University of London


We are delighted to announce the launch of the Pinter Centre's new three-year research project, 'Beyond the Linear Narrative: Fractured Narratives in Writing and Performance in the Postcolonial Era'

Hosted by Professor Helen Carr, the evening will begin with an introduction to the aims of the project followed by a series of short readings by members of the research team, after which there will be a reception. The distinguished writers MAURA DOOLEY and BLAKE MORRISON, will read from their work; ROBERT GORDON will read Pinter's seldom-performed 'The Examination', and there will be readings by the two doctoral students attached to the project, ANTHONY JOSEPH and EKUA EKUMAH.
For more information about our project, please visit our website:

We look forward to seeing you on March 25th, at 5:30pm.

Please RSVP to Ben Pester on b.pester[at] or pintercentre[at]

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Related Event: Poet in the City

Poet in the City and Goldsmiths invite you to

Gold Edged

A New Audiences event hosted by poet and writer Blake Morrison and featuring the poets Nick Drake, Bernadine Evaristo, Emily Berry and Katrina Naomi at 7.00pm on Wed 18th March 2009 in the Senior Common Room at Goldsmiths

Please email me if you wish to attend.

Blake Morrison, one of UK’s most acclaimed poets and writers, is perhaps best known for his autobiography And When Did You Last See Your Father? which was made into a film in 2007, starring Colin Firth. As well as non-fiction his work includes celebrated poetry, novels and plays. As Professor of Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths he is also active in promoting the work of new poets and writers.

Nick Drake is an acclaimed poet, novelist and screenplay writer. His first book-length collection, The Man in the White Suit, won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 1999. His first novel, Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead, was published in 2006, and his most recent poetry collection, From the Word Go, was published in 2007. His film credits include a screenplay for the film Romulus, My Father.

Bernadine Evaristo is a celebrated poet and novelist. As a poet her publications include two critically acclaimed novels-in-verse: Lara and The Emperor’s Babe. Her latest novel is Blonde Roots, published in 2008. Bernardine also produces work for the theatre, radio, and for other media. She has undertaken over 50 international writers’ tours since 1997, representing the UK all over the world.

Emily Berry an exciting new poet, who was winner of the Gregory Award for poetry in 2008. Her poems have been widely published in various magazines including Poetry Review, The Rialto, Ambit, Magma and Poetry Wales. She is also a freelance copy editor and reviewer of plays, books and breakfasts. She was born and lives in London, and in 2007 completed an MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths.

Katrina Naomi another new poet, has won the Templar Poetry Competition and the Ledbury Festival Text Poem Contest, both in 2008. Her first poetry pamphlet, Lunch at the Elephant & Castle is published by Templar Poetry, and her poems have also appeared in many magazines including Magma, Orbis, and South. She recently completed her dissertation for an MA in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


This is the Blog for the research project ‘Beyond the Linear Narrative: Fractured Narratives in Writing and Performance in the Postcolonial era’ being carried out by The Pinter Centre at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Our project, which will run for 3 years and is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), commenced on January 12th 2009 and already has an exciting calendar of events, seminars and conferences coming up.

This Blog is to be a resource for anyone interested in the work and influence of Harold Pinter, post-colonial writing and performance, life writing and the future of the fractured narrative.

We will be updating regularly with news of the project, new events and publications and any related events or matters of interest. We welcome all (relevant) views and feedback. Please feel free to comment!

If you are interested in our project and our Blog, please sign up for RSS feeds for our regular updates.


About the Project

'Beyond the Linear Narrative...' is a 3 year AHRC funded research project being carried out by the Pinter Centre for Performance and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Taking Pinter’s work as a starting point for, or symbol of, the fracturing of narrative across many art-forms in twentieth and twenty-first century work, this research project asks a series of questions about the links between inter-cultural and political change and the emergence, or re-emergence, of non-linear and fractured narrative.

Focussing on literature and performance, particularly in postcolonial and diasporic contexts, it will ask why non-linear narrative has been such a feature of this period’s artistic production. If these fractured and experimental forms are a response to the breakdown of the west’s grand narratives of progress, what forms of resistance or revision do they provide?

In what ways can they be seen to emerge from the increasing interaction of different cultures in the colonial, post-colonial and post-Cold War world? How do such fractured narratives work in postcolonial and diasporic writing and performance? How can these fractured forms explore our culturally diverse society’s competing and conflicting narratives?

The project addresses the ways changing understandings of the self have contributed to the disruption of linear narrative, and in particular, how fractured narratives enable the move away from the Cartesian mind/body duality to an understanding of the embodied self, making the writing of the body such an important element in contemporary performance, fiction and life-writing.

About the Pinter Centre

The Pinter Centre for Performance and Creative Writing is an interdisciplinary research centre at Goldsmiths University involving principally the Departments of English & Comparative Literature and of Drama, with links with Media and Communications, Music, PACE and the Digital Studios.

In line with Harold Pinter’s keen awareness of the centrality of political issues, the Centre is particularly committed to looking at postcolonial and diasporic literature and performance, and the ways in which contemporary creativity is forging new forms that respond to the cultural diversity of the world in which we live. It also has a strong interest in questions of gender, and writing and performing the body.

The Pinter Centre Website

Pinter Centre Events Calendar