The 3rd NEWstories Conference

Date: 06.03.2021
Organiser: PhD students from the JU Institute of English Studies

The aim of the conference is to bring together both undergraduate and postgraduate literary scholars so that they can share their academic interests and the results of their research. The conference provides also an interdisciplinary platform for those interested in analysing works of literature in terms of politics, sociology, history, philosophy and psychology. The participants are invited to present papers on examples of and approaches to bridges between fiction and reality depicted in 20th- and 21st-century literature.

Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.

C.S. Lewis

Having debated on crisis during the 1st NEWstories conference and on hope during the 2nd NEWstories conference, the organisers would like to address the topic of confronting the gap between fiction and reality in the 20th- and 21st-century literature. As stated by C.S. Lewis, literature does not merely reflect reality but “enriches” it as well as bridges fictional worlds with reality. Hence, the question arises: what does literature add to reality in order to enrich it, what kind of bridges between reality and fiction can be constructed, and for what reasons? The scope of interest of the conference ranges from modern literature, which tends to, in Dominic Head’s words, “strike the desired balance between imagination and reality”, to postmodern fiction that queries, as Linda Hutcheon claims, “the relation of both history to reality and reality to language”. The organisers welcome proposals examining interactions between the world known epistemologically and the worlds created in literature as well as presentations looking at creative articulations of real-life experiences and the process of translating experience into words. The areas of interest also include complications and difficulties on the way of communicating all the above as well as advantages stemming from the opportunity to bridge reality and imagination. In the current pandemic situation, it may also be beneficial to discuss the possibility of escaping from the problematic situation into the realms of creative writing.

The organisers invite proposals for 20-minute presentations in English by PhD, MA and BA students. Original literary works analysed in the presentations could be written in any language. Abstracts (250-300 words) and brief biographical notes should be sent by 17 January 2021 to

The possible topics include but are not limited to the following themes:

  • reality and fiction (stylistic approach)
  • reality and fiction (narrative approach)
  • historical reality
  • wartime reality
  • alternative reality
  • virtual reality
  • objective/subjective reality
  • distorted reality
  • perception of reality
  • sense of reality
  • fictional representations of real events
  • fictionality as a distinctive property of literary texts

There is no conference fee. The conference will be held exclusively online on Microsoft Teams. Technical details will be sent to the participants before the event.