Rome Conference Looks at Gibraltar Writers,' Gibraltar Chronicle, 8 January, 2013

Professor John A. Stotesbury

British academic Professor John Stotesbury will present at a conference at the Universitá Roma Tre, where he will discuss Gibraltarian writers, on January 17.

The conference, entitled ‘Cultures and Imperialisms’, marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication Edward Said’s Culture and Imperialism (1993).

The University of Eastern Finland based Professor will deliver a paper entitled ‘Locating a Post-Saidean Literary Identity through Contemporary Gibraltarian Anglophone Literary Discourse.’

His paper explores the recent surge in Anglophone Gibraltarian literary discourse and will focus mainly on the work of Gibraltarian expatriate writer M. G. Sanchez, “I’ll be focusing on his collection of short stories, Rock Black, which concentrates very pertinently on “being young” and being Gibraltarian in the late-1980s and early-1990s,” said Professor Stotesbury.

The Professor notes that he had wanted to visit Gibraltar for many years before he finally did so in October 2011. During a visit to The Gibraltar Bookshop, he obtained several Gibraltar-related books finding that these were mainly adventures written by outsiders he did some internet research and came across Gibraltarian authors, such as Mark Sanchez, Mary Chiappe, Sam Benady, and Paco Oliva.

“Mark’s writing, in particular, struck me as different, and potentially communicable to a wider readership, while all of the titles that I’ve found would certainly deserve to become better known and more widely available both to tourists and further afield,” said the Professor.

He adds: “In academia, postcolonial and “transcultural” literary studies have paid some attention to other Anglophone writing from the greater Mediterranean area, but -- as far as I can see -- none at all to writing by Gibraltarians.”

In April this year Professor Stotesbury will be presenting a different paper on Mark Sanchez’s historical fiction at a conference: “Acts of Remembrance in Contemporary Narratives in English: Opening the Past for the Future”, to be held in the Universidad de Zaragoza.

On the topic of Gibraltar’s Literary Festival, the first of which will be this October the Professor said; “I’m looking forward to attending the first Gibraltar Literary Festival…and hope very much that local writers will be featuring prominently.”

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