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Life Writing and Media: The (Meta)Fictional Biography on Radio

Title: Life Writing and Media: The (Meta)Fictional Biography on Radio

Guest Speaker: Dr Birgit Van PuymbroeckLink opens in a new window (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, EUTOPIA Alliance Partner)

Convenor: Dr Emrah AtasoyLink opens in a new window (English and Comparative Literary Studies & Institute of Advanced Study)

Date-Venue: 14 April 2023 Friday, 14:00-16:00, C0.02, Institute of Advanced Study (IAS)

We warmly invite you to our guest Dr Birgit Van Puymbroeck's talk "Life Writing and Media: The (Meta)Fictional Biography on Radio" held in the IAS Seminar Room C0.02 at 14:00 on Friday 14th April 2023.

This talk aims to reflect on the relation between life writing and media, focusing on the genre of the biography and the medium of radio. As an ephemeral medium, radio is not often linked to biography. Yet, during the twentieth century, many literary authors experimented with the genre of the radio biography, exploring the relation between public and private, character and voice. After a brief introduction to the genre of the radio biography, this talk examines several radio biographies including Henry Reed’s fictional metabiography A Very Great Man Indeed and Angela Carter’s Come unto These Yellow Sands. How does the radio biography invite us to reflect on the relation between genre and medium? The expression of self and other and the materiality of sound and voice? To what extent does the study of the radio biography give us an insight into life storying and contemporary media practices? The lives that are told and those that are usually silenced? Drawing on insights from literary studies, cultural studies, and media studies, and combining perspectives from audionarratology and media archeology, this talk explores the relation between life writing, sound/voice, and radio. It will be of interest to scholars working in literary studies, cultural studies, media studies, social studies, communication studies, (art) history and art.


Birgit Van Puymbroeck is Assistant Professor in Literature in English and Research Methodology at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Her research interests include modernism, identity, and media. She is the author of Modernist Literature and European Identity (Routledge 2020) and co-editor of the Edinburgh Companion to First World War Periodicals (Edinburgh University Press 2023). She currently co-directs the FWO-funded project “Broadcast Biographies: Innovations in Genre and Medium 1945-2020” (with Inge Arteel) and is a member of the Young Leaders Academy of the EUTOPIA European University Alliance, a network of ten European partner institutions.

*This is a hybrid event. TEAMS LinkLink opens in a new window.

*This talk is part of the EUTOPIA European University exchange.


We look forward to seeing you there.

Kind regards,

Dr Emrah Atasoy

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow (EUTOPIA-SIF COFUND)