Globalisation and Literature
Globalisation and Literature was the theme for a conference from which I’ve just returned, representing SSOA at Osmania University in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.
Organised at the Osmania University Centre for International Programmes (OUCIP), the conference gave established scholars as well as Masters and PhD students the chance to hear views on the latest leading theories and practices in the academic world of literature. It was a privilege to be invited to participate.
The Centre is described as ‘a perfect academic ashram for scholars to read, write, and reflect’. The conference offered stimulating papers as well as a natural bush setting of 1600 acres, not unlike the Griffith University campus, if I can make the comparison. Osmania University is named after its founder, Nawab Osman Ali Khan, the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad who set up the university in 1918.
One day was wholly dedicated to Irish literature. Special guest, the Irish Ambassador to India, Dr Brian McElduff, gave a summary paper on the popularity of historical literary figures from Yeats to contemporary authors such as Roddy Doyle and the late Maeve Binchy.
I’m grateful to our renowned author, Tom Keneally, for his advice about the popularity of Irish writing in Australia, in particular Monica McInerney who last year was voted into the top 5 of Booktopia’s ‘Australia’s Favourite Novelist’ poll.
Keneally’s take on Roddy Doyle, author of The Commitments, is that he is developing myths of the Irish present and that he’s more irreverent about the past than we’d dare to be, as outside commentators. Doyle is debunking the earlier myths of heroism, was Keneally’s view, which I conveyed to a panel discussion I took part in. ‘So much gobshite,’ was a quote that the Ambassador enjoyed, although may not have agreed with. The lively discussion was capped by a formal dinner at the Nizam Club, established in 1884 by the state ruler, Nawab Mahbub Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VI, for people of all creeds to enjoy.
Papers from the conference are later published in The Commonwealth Review, the peer-reviewed journal of the Indian Society for Commonwealth Studies, and at that time I’ll be able to publish excerpts on our website, and would appreciate some feedback. I’ll keep you posted. Dr. Christine Williams