VPFA Annual Conference

12th Annual VPFA Conference

‘Victorian Encounters and Environments’

15-17th July 2020


12-7pm British Summer Time (BST)
Hosted by the University of Greenwich, London

Illustration of a tiger in a cage being observed by a Victorian woman and children. Caption reads:

Keynote Speaker: ”The Rise of the Popular Woman Writer: Insights from the W. & R. Chambers’s Archive’

Prof Alexis Easley (University of St Thomas)

Reading Group: ‘Close Encounters of the Third Sex’ (access the reading pack here)

Hosted by Mollie Clarke and Helena Esser

Roundtable: ‘Teaching Victorian Sensation Fiction’

Hosted by Chris Louttit, with Anne-Marie Beller, Andrew King and Beth Palmer

Series launch: Key Popular Women Writers

 Programme for  VPFA 2020 Online available here

and speakers’ abstracts and bios here



The Victorian Popular Fiction Association is dedicated to fostering interest in understudied popular writers, literary genres and other cultural forms, and to facilitating the production of publishable research and academic collaborations amongst scholars of the popular.

We invite a broad, imaginative and interdisciplinary interpretation on the topic of ‘Victorian Encounters and Environments’ and its relation to any aspect of Victorian popular literature and culture which addresses literal or metaphorical representations of the theme. Inter- and multidisciplinary approaches are welcome, as are papers which address poetry, drama, global literature, non-fiction, visual arts, historical and social contexts. Papers addressing works from the “long Victorian period” (i.e. before 1837 and after 1901) are also welcome.

Please send proposals for 20 minute papers, panels of three papers (by individual scholars, or affiliated with another Learned Society), or non-traditional papers/panels, on topics which can include, but are not limited to:

  • Publishing, reading and writing environments
  • Inside and outside, public and private
  • Space and place: architecture, landscape
  • Scientific and medical environments
  • Eco-criticism and sustainability
  • Cross-cultural encounters
  • Animal encounters
  • Global environments
  • Spiritualism and mediumship
  • Class encounters
  • Gendered environments and encounters
  • The home environment: furniture, interior design, relationships
  • The work environment
  • Encountering the past: historical fiction, Neo-Victorian fiction
  • Encountering the future: sci-fi, space exploration
  • Encountering the other: Gothic, weird fiction
  • Cross-genre encounters
  • Artistic encounters: Pre-Raphaelite art
  • Sensory environments
  • Travelling encounters: adventure, exploration, tourism, trains, transport, flâneurs, voyeurs
  • Interviews and experiences: journalism, (auto)biography
  • Cultural environments: opera, performance, visual culture, music hall
  • Material culture: encounters with objects, physical environments

Please send proposals of no more than 300 words, a 50 word biography and your availability over the conference dates in Word format to Drs Janine Hatter, Helena Ifill and Erin Louttit at: vpfainfo@gmail.com

Deadline for proposals: Friday 31st January 2020



Kipling Society VPFA

Abstracts are sought for a panel at the twelfth annual Victorian Popular Fiction Association Conference, to be held 15-17 July 2020 at the University of Greenwich. The panel will be under the auspices of the Kipling Society and welcomes submissions related to all aspects of Kipling’s life and works. Possible topics could include but are by no means limited to:

  • Poetry
  • Kipling and celebrity
  • Fiction and non-fiction
  • Politics in Kipling’s life and work, Kipling’s involvement in politics
  • Colonial contemporaries: Alice Perrin, Maud Diver, Bithia Mary Croker
  • Journalism
  • Kipling’s influences, Kipling’s influence on others
  • Friendships and working relationships: H. Rider Haggard, Perceval Landon
  • Kipling now: Kipling’s afterlives and adaptations 

The general call for the conference may be seen at https://victorianpopularfiction.org/vpfa-annual-conference/. Please send proposals of no more than 300 words, a 50 word biography and your availability over the conference dates in Word format by Friday 24 January 2020, or address enquiries and expressions of interest, to Erin Louttit.