International Conference on Brigid Brophy – Call for paper

Brigid Brophy Anniversary Conference 9th-10th October 2015

Avenue Campus
University of Northampton, England

** Call for Papers **

Professor Richard Canning, Subject Leader for English & Creative Writing has announced that The School of The Arts will be hosting an international conference on novelist, critic and animal rights activist, Brigid Brophy on the 9th and 10th October 2015.

To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the death of Brigid Antonia Brophy (1929- 1995) and the fiftieth anniversary of her article ‘The Rights of Animals’, published in the Sunday Times on 10th October 1965 (and later collected in the ground-breaking 1971 anthology Animals, Men and Morals), the School of The Arts at the University of Northampton is delighted to host a two-day conference to celebrate all aspects of Brophy’s literary career, as well as her leading contribution to animal rights, vegetarianism, anti-vivisectionism, humanism, feminism and her advocacy of the Public Lending Right.


* Organiser: Professor Richard Canning:

* Confirmed Speakers:
Professor Philip Hensher, Novelist, Author, Critic, Professor of Creative Writing, Bath Spa University;
Kate Levey, Daughter of Michael Levey and Brigid Brophy;
Doctor Robert McKay, Literary Critic on Animals in Literature, Society and Culture, School of English, University of Sheffield;
Peter Parker, Author, Biographer, Historian and Literary Critic;
Doctor Richard Ryder, Psychologist, Philosopher, Campaigner against Speciesism.

Individual papers are welcome on any aspect of Brophy’s writings, fiction, non-fiction and otherwise, her literary career, influences, collaborators or peers, and on any role she played in activism, the media or in public life. Particular themes of interest to the organisers include, but are not restricted to: Brigid Brophy, Fiction Writer; Brigid Brophy, Author, Biographer and Literary Critic; Brigid Brophy and Animal Rights; Brigid Brophy, Polemicist and Activist. Proposed papers need to run to 20 minutes. Complete panel proposals are welcome, alongside individual submissions. Contributions within and beyond traditional scholarly or disciplinary contexts are welcome. It is planned that the conference will lead to a publication of collected papers in 2017.

Please send a 350-word abstract with name, a brief biographical summary (100 words) and contact details to: by Wednesday 17th June 2015.

Click here to find out more and access the Brophy conference call for papers

Here is a passage from her obituary in The Independent:

“Atheist, vegetarian, socialist; novelist and short-story writer; humanist; biographer; playwright (The Burglar had a brief West End run in 1967); Freudian promoter of animal rights; children’s author (the adventures of Pussy Owl, only progeny of Edward Lear’s pair); tennis fanatic (not least Navratilova) and, on television, football fancier; most loyal of friends; reverer of Jane Austen; lover of Italy; Mozart adorer (her radical Mozart the Dramatist: a new view of Mozart, his opera and his age, 1964, was reissued in a new edition in 1989); aficionado of the English National Opera (but not of the Royal Opera House); disliker of “Shakespeare in performance”; smoker of cigarettes in a chic holder and painter of her fingernails purple; mother, grandmother, wife; feminist; lover of men and women; Brigid Brophy was above all an intellectual, which British (although she was Irish) authors aren’t supposed to be.”

Brophy was not only an animal rights activist, but a respected author and novelist. As it so often happen with women’s writting, her work are hard to find:

“Finding Brigid Brophy books is near impossible. Bookstores and second-handers won’t have them. Libraries may or may not have a single copy of each of her titles, and under a lock somewhere, requiring the placing of a special request and in-library usage. You friends won’t have BB. Your online contacts won’t even have heard of her. But you’ll keep finding the odd reference to her work in some of the coolest written pieces you’ve ever read. You’ll also find out that she and Iris Murdoch had an affair, and maintained a very close friendship.” In his review of her Baroque ‘n’ Roll (1987), John Bayley (a.k.a. Mr Iris Murdoch) says that “Brigid Brophy’s essays constitute one of the strongest proofs of personal identity I have ever come across.” (read more)