An academic conference focusing on the subject of Angela Carter and Japan has just been announced. The conference will take place on Saturday 30th June 2018 at the University of East Anglia, and is being organised by Professor Natsumi Ikoma (International Christian University, Tokyo) and Dr Stephen Benson (University of East Anglia). As the organisers put it on their website, Carter’s time in Japan was “life-changing, both personally and professionally.” She arrived in 1969, alone, and her first glimpse of the city from her aeroplane window provoked in her an experience of “vertigo”, as Edmund Gordon notes in his biography. While in Tokyo, Carter began a relationship with a Japanese man named Sozo Araki, which she described as her “First Real Affair”, and wrote some of her most dazzling fiction, including The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman and the stories that made up Fireworks. Living in Japan also forced Carter to become more self-aware of her own ethnicity and gender: as she put it, she “learnt to be a woman” in Japan.
The one-day symposium at UEA will be “devoted to the influence of Japan on the life and work of Angela Carter, and more broadly, to any aspect of the relation between Carter’s writing and Japan.” Dr Charlotte Crofts (University of the West of England) will be delivering the plenary lecture and potential speakers are asked to submit a 300-word proposal by 22nd January 2018. This is, as the organisers note, a fitting venue for a conference focused on Angela Carter, for she taught at the university in the late 1980s. (Anne Enright recalls meeting Carter when she was a student and the latter a tutor on the MA in creative writing in 1987 in a piece for the London Review of Books.)
For those interested in presenting a paper at this exciting conference, head over to the Angela Carter and Japan conference website here and follow the instructions for submitting a proposal.