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Power of the Word International Conference VI
28 June - 2 July 2021, on-line

The Call of Literature:

Theology, Philosophy and Literature in Conversation

Keynote speakers and events for the 2021 conference included: 

Marta Gibińska (Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland)

Garry L. Hagberg (Bard College, New York, USA)

David Jasper (University of Glasgow, UK)

Declan Kiberd (University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA and Dublin, Ireland)

Robert Fraser (Open University, Royal Society of Literature, UK)

Screening of award winning documentary on Flannery O'Connor, 'Flannery', followed by Roundtable discussion with Mark Bosco SJ, Michael Murphy and Angela Alaimo O’Donnell

The Conference will also include a poetry reading events with 

Prof. Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáinthe current Ireland Professor of Poetry, 

Edward Clarke, 

and Micheal O’Siadhail

The sixth Power of the Word Conference will explore aspects of the ‘call of literature’, for authors and audiences alike. 

How do writers and critics understand it? What does it mean to speak of a ‘vocation’ to write and what have theologians and philosophers got to say on the matter? In what sense can we speak of readers being called to literature? 

However we might resolve these questions, we are still left with a profound problem. Is the spirit of literature necessarily an ‘angel of light’? Or does the call of literature sometimes prove to be a siren song?

Reading is ‘dangerous’, wrote Marcel Proust, when, ‘rather than waking us to the inner life of our soul, it tends to take its place’ (Sur la lecture,1906).The many different ways that we experience literature,

as authors or readers, invite questions about discernment, authenticity, truth, beauty and much else besides. 

The conference aims to explore, without geographical or chronological restrictions, 

the ‘call of literature’, the problems of discernment that it introduces for literary authors and their readers, and philosophers’, theologians’ and critics’ recourse to the literary.

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