Amos Paran

(c) Amos Paran

Plenary lecture: 

Principles for Appropriate Methodology: Using literature in the language classroom

Although literature has enjoyed a return to the language classroom, teachers, textbook writers, and writers of supplementary materials often still implement traditional ways of teaching it. In many secondary classrooms (my main area of interest), literary texts are used in exactly the same way as other texts, that is, in teacher centred ways and with a strong focus on comprehension questions, rather than attempting to foster learner engagement with the text and its literary qualities. Even teachers who have been trained within a communicative paradigm often fall back on traditional ways of classroom behaviour.

In this talk I discuss the concept of appropriate methodology, in which care is taken to ensure that the tasks used with a literary text are appropriate for the specific text they are being used with. Making connections with TBLT, I draw principles to help teachers and materials writers think about ways of implementing communicative methodology and learner-centred elements, and ways of encouraging engagement with and understanding of literary works in the classroom.


Guyanne Wilson

Guyanne Wilson is the inaugural Quirk Lecturer in English Linguistics at University College London, where she teaches World Englishes and Colonial and Postcolonial Studies. She was born in Trinidad and Tobago, where she was educated until the age of 18, after which she completed her BA at King’s College London, her MPhil at the University of Cambridge and her PhD at the University of Muenster. Her most current publications include Language identities and ideologies and identities on Facebook and TikTok with the Cambridge Elements in World Englishes series, and New Englishes, New Methods, which she co-edited with Michael Westphal. Guyanne is currently working on the publication of her Habilitation dissertation, English in Africa and the Caribbean: Focus on Agreement (awarded 2022), while also compiling a corpus of historical Caribbean English.




Guyanne Wilson [(c) Guyanne Wilson; All Rights Reserved]

Plenary lecture: 

“They brought us here as British subjects”: English, Creole and identity in the Windrush generation.

The Windrush generation is the term used to refer to the thousands of immigrants from the Caribbean who came to the UK between 1948 and 1971. Beyond the descriptive work presented in works such as Sebba (2008), the language of Caribbean immigrants who arrived in the UK has, in the past, received considerable scholarly attention, particularly with regard to how Caribbean Creole and London Jamaican users fared in British academic settings (Edwards 1979), and how they used language to perform youth identies (Hewitt 1986, Sebba 1993/2014), but the language spoken by this group in old age has not been studied.

This talk examines how retired members of the Windrush generation use language to perform their identity. It uses oral history interviews with four members of the Windrush generation, broadcast as part of a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the arrival of SS Windrush.  Previous work using narratives has shown than elderly interviewees construct past identities over the course of delivering oral histories (Norrick 2009), but this work focussed on discourse level strategies. This study expands Norrick’s work by examining the use of phonological and morphosyntactic elements of Jamaican Creole, London Jamaican, and standard British English by the interviewees using the method of lectal focussing in interaction (LFI) combined with micro discourse analysis (MDA).

Results show variation across the four speakers, with some speakers using very few London Jamaican and Standard British English features, while others’ speech contains almost exclusively standard British variants. The use of LFI showed how individuals make quite subtle identity shifts in the course of a single interaction. Jamaican Creole features clustered around topics like home and family reunification, whereas London Jamaican features were especially present when interviewees talk about their youth. In a field that is increasingly corpus-driven and quantitative, the use of LFI and MDA underscores the  importance of close and critical qualitative analysis to the study of language. Moreover,  this paper calls for more inclusive practice in World Englishes field research by considering elderly speakers not only for their insights on earlier forms of language but as agentive users of language who draw on it in complex performances of identity.



Edwards, V. (1979). The West Indian language issue in British schools: challenges and responses. Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Sebba, M. (2008). British Creole: morphology and syntax. In B. Kortmann, C. Upton & E. Schneider (Ed.), 1 The British Isles (pp. 463-477). Berlin, New York: De Gruyter Mouton. 

Sebba, M. (2014).London Jamaican: Language system in interaction. Second edition.  Routledge.  



Alex Houen

Alex Houen is Professor of Modern Literature and Critical Theory in the Faculty of English, University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Pembroke College. He has worked extensively on affect theory and on war literature, and his publications in those areas include an edited collection of essays, Affect and Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2020), and a monograph, Sacrifice and War Writing: Atavisms, Martyrdoms, and Economies of Loss (Oxford University Press, 2024). He is co-editor (with Adam Piette) of the online poetry journal Blackbox Manifold, and has published a range of poetry including a poem-novel co-written with Geoffrey Gilbert entitled Take / Give / Keep / Care / Hold / Well / Clear (forthcoming with Broken Sleep Books, 2025).

(c) Alex Houen

Plenary lecture:

Poets’ Novels and Free Indirect Affect

In recent years the contemporary novels I have admired most for their innovative qualities have been those of poets such as Ben Lerner, Lisa Robertson, and Patricia Lockwood. Their texts inspired me to begin researching a lineage of poets’ novels stretching back to modernist examples, and what I have consistently been struck by is how the texts present innovations with the genre – make the novel novel – by experimenting stylistically with ways of voicing affect while making affective scenes central to how the narrative develops episodically.

Very little extensive comparative work has been done specifically on poets’ novels, and so my work on them is intended to address a gap in critical thinking. In examining their innovations with narrative voice I am building on work that I have done on free indirect style in which I have argued that whereas that style has usually been regarded as blending the voices or thoughts of a character and narrator interpersonally, it can also reflect how a person’s inner voice speaks intrapersonally with the voices of others. Examples of such blendings abound in poets’ novels, and in my paper I shall consider how the poets often deploy modes of indirect style and lyrical prose while conveying how a person’s affective state is itself interpersonal, composite.

The poets’ innovations in relating style and affect, I shall argue, encourage us to develop a sense of free indirect affect. In exploring that in my paper, I shall also reflect on how theories of affect as being relational can be revised by being rethought with consideration of how free indirect style can combine the interpersonal and intrapersonal. For the most part, though, my discussion of indirect affect will entail analysing notable instances of it from poets’ novels. Examples will include those of sorrow and solidarity in Jean Toomer’s Cane (1923), nervousness and irritation in Stevie Smith’s Over the Frontier (1938), affective ‘grayness’ in Gwendolyn Brooks’s Maud Martha (1953), and the ‘internal internet’ and affective contagion in Patricia Lockwood’s No One is Talking About This (2021).