UWTSD invites submissions to public lecture competition


The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) and the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, UK & Ireland (ASLE-UK) invite entrants to submit texts for their annual public lecture competition: The 2017 INSPIRE Lecture on Literature and Sustainability: Interactions and Connections.

The closing date for entries is January 31st 2017.


Jane Davidson

The competition aims to showcase research which explores the relationship between literature and the sustainability debate. The winner of the competition will be invited to deliver her/his submission at The 2017 INSPIRE Lecture on Literature and Sustainability at The 2017 Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts, which will take place in Hay-on-Wye, 25 May  – 4 June 2016.

The lecture will be followed by a public discussion between the competition winner, Dr Jane Davidson, UWTSD Pro Vice-Chancellor for Sustainability and Engagement, Director of INSPIRE and former Welsh Government Minister for Sustainability, and Professor Brycchan Carey, Chair of ASLE-UKI.

Sustainability is a matter of literature as much as it is about politics or environmental science. The stories we tell, the poems we compose, the dramas we enact - all provide spaces for inspiration, imagination, and debate over what it means to live sustainably. This competition invites submissions that explore how literature, in any of its forms, responds to and forges interactions and connections - in both the natural world  and in the context of debates around sustainability.

The judging panel will consist of representatives from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and ASLE UKI.

Speaking of the competition, Dr Jane Davidson said: “In the four years since the competition was launched, our winners have addressed how re-reading Shakespeare  through a sustainability lens can unearth fascinating insights into the way we used to live  and inform our ideas for the future; they have explored how Nature Writing has adapted to our new environmental concerns and ecological perspectives in our post-colonial globalized economy and looked at the importance of inter-related ecosystems remaining in balance. The competition has demonstrated unequivocally that stories for change can play a crucially important in re-interpreting our world for the benefit of future generations. As  I’m looking forward hugely to this years’ entries. on how literature, in any of its forms, responds to and is shaped by our capacity to know the natural world in the context of debates around sustainability.”

Professor Brycchan Carey, Chair of ASLE-UKI, said: “We are excited to continue supporting this important competition. Poets, playwrights, and novelists have for many centuries inspired people both to describe and to delight in the natural world. For many in today’s highly urbanised society, literature is a direct and tangible link to nature, encouraging them to create and nurture a more sustainable world. Literary scholars—in the essays encouraged by this competition—play a key role in understanding and promoting this literature of sustainability.”

Last year’s winner, poet and eco-critic Hugh Dunkerley was invited to deliver his winning submission, entitled 'Some Thoughts on Poetry and Fracking at "The 2016 INSPIRE Lecture on Literature and Sustainability" at the 2016 Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts. Hugh is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and English Literature at the University of Chichester. 

Hugh’s timely and thought-provoking talk, asked whether poetry can help challenge our government and the fracking companies in their desire to industrialise large parts of the British landscape. 

inspire lecture poster

Further Information

ebost: press@uwtsd.ac.uk