Past Conferences

Recent VPFA conferences have responded to themes such as ‘Victorian Inclusion and Exclusion’ (2021), ‘Victorian Encounters and Environments’ (2020), ‘War and Peace’ (2018), and ‘Travel, Translation and Communication’ (2017). Details of annual conferences since 2009 can be found below.

15th Annual Conference: ‘Hidden Histories / Recovered Stories’, 12-14th July 2023

Hybrid conference hosted by Bishop Grosseteste University (Lincoln) with support from the University of Lincoln.

Keynote Speakers

Professor Patricia Pulham (University of Surrey, UK)

Dr Adrian S. Wisnicki (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, US)

Professor Nathalie Vanfasse (Aix-Marseille Université, FR)

Reading Groups

‘3rd Sex Reading Group: Recovering Queer Victorians’, hosted by Helena Esser and Milly Harrison.

‘Short Fiction Reading Group: Woman at Home’, hosted by Betty Hagglund and Graziella

Professionalisation Training: ‘Publishing in an Academic Journal’. Delivered by Andrew King and the VPFJ editors.

Greta Depledge PGR Prize Winners

Bethany Dahlstrom (Lancaster University, UK) ‘Dressing as The Other: Female Feather Fashion in Punch Magazine’

Rachel O’Nunain (University of Oxford, UK) ‘“A dirty act done publicly”: Re-evaluating the Independent Theatre Society’s Relationship to the 1890s Theatrical Mainstream’

Milly Kate Harrison (Loughborough University, UK) ‘Neither Queer Nor There: Uncovering Queer Space in Arthur Machen’s “The Lost Club” (1890)’

Special Mentions to Carys Hudson and Scarlette-Electra LeBlanc.

Click to download the Programme (PDF) and Abstract and Bio Booklet (PDF).

Follow the conversation on Twitter: #VPFAHiddenHistories (web link).

 14th Annual Conference: ‘Purity and Contamination in Victorian Popular Fiction and Culture’, 13-15th July 2022

Hybrid conference hosted by the University of Loughborough

Keynote 1: Claire O’Callaghan, ‘“A dangerous woman & of impure mind”: Queerness, Scandal and Fiction –The Curious Case of Emily Faithfull’

Keynote 2: Andrew Smith, ‘Poisoned by Books: Reading and Writing in the fin-de-siécle Gothic’

Reading Group: ‘3rd Sex Reading Group: The Fanny and Stella Scandal’. Hosted by Claire O’Callaghan, Mollie Clarke, Helena Esser and Matthew Crofts.

Professionalisation Training: ‘Publishing your First Book: Considerations, Processes and some Practical Exercises’. Delivered by Julia Kuehn

Greta Depledge PGR Prize Winner: Hollie Geary-Jones, “Escaping the Contagious Diseases Acts & a Contaminating Narrative: the Sex Worker’s Subversion of Corporeal Stereotypes.”

Click to download the Programme (Word) and Reading Group Pack (PDF).

Join the conversation on Twitter: #VPFAPurity (web link).

13th Annual Conference: ‘Victorian Inclusion and Exclusion’, 14-16th July 2021

Hosted online by the University of Greenwich, London

Keynote Day 1: Dr. Jess Cox (Brunel University of London) – “Excluding the Maternal Body in Victorian Popular Fiction”.

Keynote Day 2: Professor Upamanyu Pablo Mukherjee (Warwick University) – “Energy Problems, SF and the Late-Victorian World”.

Keynote Day 3: Dr. Greg Vargo (New York University) – “You might say, sir … that they all were Chartists: Popular Theatre and Radical Politics in the 1830s and 1840s”.

Roundtable: “Undisciplining the Victorian Classroom : Reaching Interventions on Caribbean Authors” with Kira Braham, Heidi Kaufman, Breanna Simpson, and Indu Ohri.

Training Session: “Doing Things Digitally : An Introduction to Digital Resources and Text Mining Methods” with Dr. Emily Bell (University of Leeds).

Reading Group: “Against the Grain: Reparative Readings for Victorian Popular Fiction” hosted by Dr. Jesse Erickson (University of Delaware)

Greta Depledge PGR Prize Winner: Manon Burz-Labrande

Click to download the Programme (Word), Abstracts and Bios (Word) and Reading Group Pack (PDF).

12th Annual Conference: ‘Victorian Encounters and Environments’, 15-17th July 2020

Hosted online by University of Greenwich, London

Keynote: Professor Alexis Easley

Roundtable: ‘Teaching Victorian Sensation’, hosted by Chris Louttit with guests Anne Marie-Beller, Andrew King, and Beth Palmer

Series Launch: Key Popular Women Writers Series

Reading Group: Encounters with the ‘Third Sex’

Greta Depledge PGR Prize Winner: Mollie Clarke

Click to download the Conference Report (Word), Programme (PDF), Abstracts and Bios (PDF) and Reading Group Pack (PDF).


11th Annual Conference: ‘Mind Matter(s), Spirit: Forms of Knowledge in Victorian Popular Fiction and Culture’, 8-10th July 2019

University of Greenwich, London

Keynote: Chris Louttit

Keynote: Beth Palmer

Keynote: Christopher Pittard

PGR Professionalisation Workshop: ‘What is the REF and what is “research excellence”?’, hosted by Andrew King

Exhibition: ‘Late-Victorian & Edwardian Paperback Fiction’, curated by John Spiers

Greta Depledge PGR Prize Winner: Helena Esser

Click to download the Programme (PDF), Abstracts and Bios (PDF) and Reading Group Pack (PDF).


 10th Annual Conference: War and Peace, 3-7th July 2018, Senate House, London

Keynote Speaker: Mariaconcetta Costantini

Keynote Speaker: Carolyn Oulton

Keynote Speaker: Cathy Waters

Exhibition: ‘How Novel was the Novelette?’, Curated by John Spiers, Introduction by Kara Tennant

Greta Depedge PGR Prize Winner: Rachel Egloff

Click to download the Programme (PDF), Abstracts and Bios (PDF), Reading Group Pack (PDF), Exhibition Booklet (PDF) and Call for Papers (PDF).

Click here to read about our collaboration with the Invasion Network in their blog post about our conference.


9th Annual Conference: Travel, Translation and Communication, 19-21th July 2017

Senate House, London

Keynote Speaker: Mary Hammond

Keynote Speaker: Anne-Marie Beller

Keynote Speaker: Catherine Wynne

 Exhibition: ‘Picturing the Mass Market, from the 1880s, in Britain’, Curated by John Spiers

Greta Depledge PGR Prize Winner: Eleanor Shipton

Click to download the Programme (PDF), Abstracts and Bios (PDF), Reading Group Pack (PDF), Exhibition Booklet (PDF), and Call for Papers (PDF).


8th Annual Conference: Victorian Popular Genres, 14-15th July 2016

Senate House, London

Keynote Speaker: Joanne Knowles (Liverpool John Moores University)

Keynote Speaker: Andrew Maunder (University of Hertfordshire)

 Exhibition: ‘Popular Victorian & Edwardian Fiction: From Cheaper, to Cheap, and then to Cheapest’, Curated by John Spiers

Greta Depledge PGR Prize Winner: Alison Moulds

Click to download the Programme (PDF), Abstracts and Bios (Word), Reading Pack (Word) and Call for Papers (PDF).


7th Annual Conference: Authenticity and Artifice, 13-15th July 2015

Senate House, London

Keynote Speaker: David Glover, ‘Styles of Popularism in Victorian Popular Fiction in the Long Nineteenth Century’

Keynote Speaker: Linda Dryden, ‘Stevenson and H G Wells: Monomaniacs, Duality and Evolutionary Science’

Guest Speaker: Ann Featherstone, ‘Sagacious Canines and Brave Brutes: Re-discovering the Victorian Dog-Drama’

Greta Depledge PGR Prize Winner: Duncan Milne

Click to download the Programme (Word), Abstracts and Bios (Word) and Reading Pack (PDF).

6th Annual Conference: Treasure and Trash, 8-10th July

Senate House, London

Keynote Speaker: Jonathon Shears (Keele), ‘“[…] battered […] soiled […] broken […] empty […] half-smoked […] stale”: The Hangover in Victorian Popular Fiction’.

Guest Speaker: Judith Flanders, ‘Painting Reality: Home vs. Home-ness’

Senate House Library Special Collections Talk and ‘hands-on’ mini-exhibition: Dr Karen Attar, ‘Trash, Treasure or Trashy Treasure at the Institutional Library’.

Click to read the Conference Report (Link), Programme (Link), Abstracts and Bios (Word), and the Reading Group Pack (PDF).

5th Annual Conference: Bodies and Victorian Popular Culture, 10-11th July 2013

Senate House, London

Keynote Speaker: Elizabeth Hurren, ‘Dying for Victorian Medicine: The business of anatomy, body-trafficking, and the experience of being poor in popular culture’

Keynote Speaker: Pamela K. Gilbert, ‘Sentimental Bodies: Victorians and the reading experience’

Guest Speaker: Rose Collins, ‘Graves Matters’

Click to download the Programme (Word) and Abstracts (PDF).

4th Annual Conference: Hard Cash: Money, Property, Economics and the Marketplace in Victorian Popular Culture, 11-12th July 2012

Senate House, London

Keynote Speaker: Regenia Gagnier, ‘The Global Circulation of Victorian Popular Fiction’

Keynote Speaker: Deborah Wynne, ‘Hades! The Ladies! Male Drapers and Female Shoppers’

Guest Speaker: David Waller, ‘The Perfect Man: The Muscular Life and Times of Eugen Sandow, Victorian Strongman’

Click to download the Programme (Word).

3rd Annual Conference: Sex, Courtship and Marriage in Victorian Popular Culture, 18-19th July 2011

Senate House, London

Keynote Speaker:  Andrew King, ‘Hollywood’s Grandmas: Epistemology, Ethics and Erotics in the Victorian Transatlantic Popular Novel’

Keynote Speaker: Jennifer Phegley

Roundtable Discussion: Pamela Gilbert, ‘The Other Victorians: Sexuality and Victorian Popular Fiction’, and Janice Allen, ‘A Queer Marriage: The Relationship between Realism and Sensationalism’

Click to download the Programme (Word).

2nd Annual Conference: Victorian Popular Culture: Prose, Stage and Screen, 22nd-24th July 2010

Senate House, London

Keynote Speaker: Kate Newey

Keynote Speaker: Nickianne Moody

Click to download the Programme (Word), Abstracts and Bios (PDF).

 1st Annual Conference: Victorian Popular Novelists 1860-1900, 10th-12th September 2009

Senate House, London

Keynote Speaker: Pamela Gilbert

Keynote Speaker: Juliet John

Click to download the Programme (PDF), Abstracts (PDF), Bios (PDF) and Call for Papers (PDF).