Dr Lucy Pearson, head of the Children’s Literature Unit, at Newcastle University, presented a wonderful talk on Thursday, 28 September 2017, on the writings of Diana Wynne Jones.
Entitled ‘Reweaving Middle Earth: Diana Wynne Jones, the archive, and the shadow of Tolkien’, Dr Pearson explored what the archive can tell us about the development of women’s literary voice.
Dr Pearson argued that, writing in a genre which – as Edward James has argued – sprang largely from the work of her former teacher Tolkien, Diana Wynne Jones produced some of the most distinctive works of modern children’s fantasy. Reading her novel The Spellcoats from the perspective of the archive – both literal and literary – Dr Pearson brilliantly illustrated how Jones negotiated questions of influence and gender.
The talk was under the auspices of the Creative Europe project ‘Gender Identity: Child Readers and Library Collections’, on which the Dr Keith O’Sullivan, associate professor in the school of English and director of the DCU Centre for Children’s Literature and Culture, is co-principal investigator with colleagues from the University of Bologna.