In other news, I’ve just returned from a trip to Barcelona and London. In both cities, I presented papers at academic conferences. In Barcelona, I attended the conference III Congreso Internacional Visiones de lo Fantastico “Horror y sus Formas.” This was my first experience attending (and presenting at) an international conference in which most of the papers/presentations were in a language other than English. I actually do speak Spanish, but not very much and not very well. Certainly not at this level. The presentations were in a number of languages, so I attended most of the English ones and considered the experience a lesson learned. My own talk was based on my PhD research, looking at similarities and contrasts between classic Anglo-American ghost stories and Chinese zhiguai. The audience wasn’t huge but there were some great questions afterward.

In London, I was at Great Writing. I cannot say enough good things about this conference and only wish I’d discovered it sooner. (In fairness, I did discover it sooner: I found the CFP for the one last year too late to submit an abstract.) It ticked all the boxes: interesting and useful presentations, people at different stages of their careers (master’s and PhD students all the way to program directors and senior academics), terrific people. My paper was on the subject of writer’s block: what it is, where it comes from, and the ways that working within the university setting may exacerbate it. My panel was very well attended, although I suspect a lot of that had to do with who my fellow presenters were. In retrospect, I should have made a clearer linkage between a couple of the studies I referenced, but overall, it went very well. If you’re reading this and you teach CW in higher or further education, you really ought to consider attending this conference next June. Highly recommended.