Image from 1836 novel

2nd International Conference on Dialect and Literature

10th-12th July 2013, University of Sheffield

This conference invites papers that explore the handling of dialect in literary texts. We welcome papers from across different periods, different genres and different geographical locations, including regional, social and world dialects. Questions that might be addressed include, but are not restricted to:

• How do readers respond to dialect representation?
• Can writers challenge the hierarchical relationship between ‘the standard language’ and ‘dialect’?
• Which critical theories and linguistic frameworks are appropriate for the interpretation of dialect in literary texts?
• What role does metalanguage play in the literary representation of dialect?
• To what extent and in what ways is ‘authenticity’ a useful concept?
• What different literary histories do dialects have?
• Which literary figures have been particularly influential in developing traditions of dialect representation?
• How important is genre in understanding dialect representation?

We welcome papers that deal with dialect in languages other than English, but would ask that all papers be presented in English.

This conference is being held to coincide with the forthcoming ‘South Yorkshire Voices’ exhibition at Sheffield University Western Bank Library. The conference will open on the evening of Wednesday 10th July with a public poetry reading and discussion by Ian McMillan and Sally Goldsmith, and will close on the evening of Friday 12th July with a poetry workshop led by Peter and Ann Sansom, directors of The Poetry Business, which publishes The North poetry magazine. Our plenary academic speaker will be Dr Mark Sebba, who has written widely on pidgin and creole languages, and on the sociolinguistics of orthography.

Conference Programme

A draft of the conference programme can be found in the downloads at the top right of this page


Registration is £80, or £50 for students/unwaged. This includes refreshments, lunches, conference materials and the poetry workshop. Please follow this link to register.

Conference Dinner

There will be a conference dinner at the Blue Moon Cafe on Thursday 11th July. You will be able to book for the dinner when you register.

Conference Excursion

There will be an informal excursion on Saturday 13th July to Hardwick Hall. Please email if you wish to join us.

Conference Venue

The conference will be held in the ground floor of the Jessop West building.  Please see here for a google map of the location of Jessop West.  For general travel information please see here.


If you have any questions or require further information, please contact