Literature: The Novels of Nicola Barker
- Wed 05 Sep 2018
- 9:15 am
Nicola Barker is the author of 12 novels and two collections of short stories. She has won the Impac Award for ‘Wide Open’ (1998), and ‘Darkmans’ (2007) was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her latest novel is ‘H(a)ppy’ (2017). Reviewers for the Guardian, the London Review of Books and the New York Times have described her alternatively as an ‘unshuttupable’ ‘cult writer’, whose esoteric interests range from golf to Indian mysticism, and an ‘unclassifiable genius’ whose influence is beginning to shift the direction of narrative fiction in English.
This symposium, which will be attended by the author herself, intends to explore the ‘Barkeresque’ mode, which assimilates influences from Dickens, Wodehouse, Kafka and Beckett all rolled into one. Topics for exploration encompass Englishness and place; community and utopia; the Gothic and the sacred; comedy and trauma; and experimental narration, including the exhaustion and exuberant revival of the novel genre.
The symposium will lead to the publication of a volume in Gylphi Contemporary Writers: Critical Essays series. The titles in this series are devoted to contemporary writers whose work is popularly and critically valued, but on whom a significant body of academic criticism has yet to be established. So far six books have been published in the series (on David Mitchell, Maggie Gee, China Miéville, Adam Roberts, Tom McCarthy and Rupert Thomson), with another two (on M. John Harrison and Michel Faber) in preparation.