If you are still sitting on the fence about attending the 25th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, now is the time to jump off that fence, block off June 4-7 on your calendar, and get ready to travel to Bloomsburg, Pa.
The conference, held at Bloomsburg University, is on the theme Virginia Woolf and Her Contemporaries and will feature some real excitement. Here are some highlights now available on the conference website.
More updates will follow, and registration will open soon.
Cecil and Jean are coming to town
Most exciting of all will be Cecil Woolf as the featured speaker at the Saturday evening banquet — and the attendance of acclaimed author Jean Moorcroft Wilson. The couple head up Cecil Woolf Publishers of London. Cecil is the nephew of Leonard and Virginia Woolf, and Jean is a well-respected critic and biographer of the World War I poets and the leading authority on Siegfried Sassoon.
Cecil and Jean have not attended a Woolf conference since 2010, so their participation in this year’s event is a long overdue treat, both for young scholars who have never had the opportunity to meet this notable couple and for Woolfians who have been befriended by the pair at previous events. As is customary at Cecil’s talks, he will share stories of his experiences with Virginia and Leonard.
Septimus, Clarissa and Mrs. Dalloway’s Party
A theatrical reading of Septimus and Clarissa with award-winning playwright and author Ellen McClaughlin and the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble is on the schedule. The reading will be followed by Mrs. Dalloway’s Party, giving everyone the opportunity to dress up — or not — in their own duds or the ensemble’s costume collection of hats and scarves.
Poetry and comic fiction readings
Poetry and fiction readings are on the program, with Cynthia Hogue, who has published eight collections of poetry, and Maggie Gee, author of the comic novel that places Woolf in the 21st century, Virginia Woolf in Manhattan.
From papers to art with a Mark on the Wall
Conference organizers Julie Vandivere and Erica Delsandro have issued a call for papers, and those proposals are due Jan. 24. But a new and exciting twist this year is the call for entries in a juried exhibition of small works on paper that is fittingly titled Mark on the Wall. The entry deadline for those is April 20.
Community members unafraid of Woolf
The conference is also involving local community of all ages. The community is encouraged to form reading groups to read and discuss Woolf novels in advance of the conference.
Organizers are also providing print and multi-media resources to local high school teachers on two of Woolf’s most famous works — A Room of One’s Own (1929) and Mrs. Dalloway (1925) in an effort to get high school students to attend conference presentations and present their own papers. Conference organizers will produce a journal of the best high school and undergraduate papers, and all high school students who present will be able to submit their papers for publication.
Even on a budget
Conference organizers have gone out of their way to make this year’s conference affordable. Registration rates take employment and student status into account, and the registration fee for the four-day event includes six meals. Reasonably priced recently renovated residence hall rooms near the conference site are available, along with other accommodations within the town.
Support the conference
The Bloomsburg conference has several sponsors, including individuals who have donated funds to the Bloomsburg University Foundation to help bring noted speakers to campus and provide travel grants to needy participants. If you would like to make a contribution, you can do so online by donating to the Bloomsburg University Foundation. Just be sure to select “Other” from the designation dropdown menu, and specify “Woolf 2015″ in the field provided.