Accessibility statement

Mental Health and the Memoir (beginning Autumn 2021)

Organisers: Giorgia Garilli and April Norfolk

From Mary Jane Ward’s The Snake Pit (1946) to Elizabeth Wurtzel’s Prozac Nation (1992), to Carrie Fisher’s Shockaholic (2011), the genre of the mental health memoir is home to a wealth of challenging and neglected texts. The rich paratextual lives these works lead have historically been collapsed or overlooked, and literary scholarship has shown little interest in the “popular” mental health memoir. This research strand will provide an interdisciplinary space for critical and creative inquiry into the generic, formal, and political life of the mental health memoir from the late twentieth century to the present day.

Through a regular reading group, a seminar series, and creative workshops, the strand will support an interdisciplinary space in which to collectively explore this neglected genre, inviting scholars from across the medical humanities and cultural studies to share emerging critical and creative work.

The reading group, run fortnightly during term time, will focus on questions of genre and paratext in the autumn; life-writing in the medical humanities in the spring; and creative methodologies in the summer. Each term’s research seminar will complement this trajectory. A less formal termly “panel” will invite 2-3 students and ECRs to share and discuss work that relates to the term’s focus, creating both a networking space and a supportive workshopping environment. In the summer term, there will be regular creative workshops run by researchers using creative methodologies.

Reading Group

Details coming soon!

Forthcoming Events

Details coming soon!