Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speaker: Professor Terry Castle.

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Keynote Speaker Professor Terry Castle

The writer and critic Terry Castle, described by the late Susan Sontag as ‘the most expressive, most enlightening literary critic at large today’, has taught at Stanford University since 1983. Her scholarly interests include eighteenth-century British fiction, the Gothic novel, Jane Austen, the First World War, English art and culture of the 1920s and 1930s, autobiography and biography, and gay and lesbian writing.

She has published nine books on diverse subjects, including The Professor: A Sentimental Education (2010), Masquerade and Civilization (1986), The Apparitional Lesbian (1993), The Female Thermometer: Eighteenth Century Culture and the Invention of the Uncanny (1996), and the prize-winning collection, The Literature of Lesbianism: A Historical Anthology from Ariosto to Stonewall (2003). Castle is currently working on a scholarly edition of Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel, The Price of Salt.

She is also a well-known essayist and has written frequently for the London Review of Books, Atlantic, New Republic, Times Literary Supplement, New York Times Book Review, and other periodicals.

Her work on masquerades, gender, and literature neatly overlap with questions about identity and anonymity. How do masks and masquerades allow participants to engage with the concept of self-identity both as individuals and members of a group? How do masquerades allow authors to explore gender constructions and sexuality in the eighteenth century? Has the relationship between disguise and gender fluidity evolved from eighteenth-century masquerades to present-day cultural and literary experiences?

More information on Professor Terry Castle and her work can be found by following the links below:

Academic Profile

Personal Website

London Review of Books


Keynote Speaker: Professor Helen Berry.

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Keynote Speaker Professor Helen Berry

Professor Helen Berry is the Dean of Postgraduate Studies and Professor of British History at Newcastle University. She specialises in British history circa 1660 to 1800, and has a particular interest in social, cultural and economic history. She has worked on the history of the mass media – the rise of newspapers and periodicals that reflected and informed public debates from the late-seventeenth century onwards; coffee house sociability and politeness; the history of gender and sexuality, particularly in the shifting definitions of marriage over time.

Her most recent publication, The Castrato and His Wife, is a microhistory that explores the impact of Italian culture in the British Isles. Her next book, Orphan of the Empire: the Fate of London’s Foundings, will explore the history and welfare in Britain in the first era of global British imperialism. This book will trace what happened to those who survived the experience of being raised in Europe’s first secular corporation designed to ‘save’ children for the nation, funded at first by private philanthropy, then state aid, and finally the profits of investment and venture capitalism.

We are looking forward to hearing Helen speak about one of her earliest loves, The Athenian Mercury, in her keynote address. This periodical was one of the first to regularly circulate through the streets of London, using anonymity to engage readers of all sorts. Her reflections on the London public sphere, print culture, and coffeehouses in relation to eighteenth-century anonymity will surely be an enlightening experience for all in attendance.

More information about Helen can be found on the following sites:

Newcastle University Profile

Academic Website


Keynote Speaker: Juliet Jacques.

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Writer and Critic Juliet Jacques

Juliet Jacques is a freelance author and journalist. As well as publishing a monograph on modernist writer Rayner Heppenstall in 2007, she writes short fiction and journalism on literature, art, music, politics, gender, sexuality and football. Her most recent book, Trans: A Memoir (2015) is based on her popular column in The Guardian documenting her transition,  ‘A Transgender Journey’. Her work has also appeared in The New Statesman, London Review of Books, Granta, Sight & Sound, Frieze, TimeOut, New Humanist, Five Dials, New Inquiry, Berfrois, 3:AM and many other platforms.

Trans: A Memoir combines Juliet’s personal story with criticism of trans theory, literature, film and life-writing.  Many of her reflections are relevant to the topic of anonymity. Her experience as a contemporary writer is tied to the politics of identity as they come to inform her social media presence, the promotion of her work and her readers’ expectations. Juliet’s own writing practice is located within the history of media presentation and manipulation of trans identities and narratives.

What are the effects of concealing or foregrounding the identity of an author? What do we expect and what do we reject when knowing an author’s identity? How is one’s public identity negotiated on social media, and can one remain anonymous? How can debates about revealing or hiding one’s history in transgender politics be read as issues of anonymity? We are excited to hear Juliet’s thoughts on these topics, as her expertise in theory and politics informs her personal experiences of writing the self and negotiating gendered identity.

Find out more about Juliet Jacques at the following sites:

Guardian Profile

Personal Website


Keynote Speaker: Dr Marcy North.

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Keynote Speaker Dr. Marcy North

Dr. Marcy North is an Associate Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University and the university’s representative to the Folger Shakespeare Library. She specializes in Renaissance literature, book history, and visual culture, with a particular interest on early anonymity, manuscript culture, and reader marginalia.

She is the author of The Anonymous Renaissance: Cultures of Discretion in Tudor-Stuart England and numerous articles on early anonymity, including ‘Women’s Literary and Intellectual Endeavors: A Case for the Anonymous Riposte’ and ‘Early Modern Anonymity’.

How do women engage with anonymity in writing? To what extent does anonymity influence readership practices in the early modern era? How do authors create and maintain anonymous voices within their writing? Her reflections on these and other aspects of Renaissance and early modern anonymity will be a great contribution to the conference.

Find out more about Dr. Marcy North:

Academic Profile