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Guest Speakers

Dr. Malaka Shwaikh is an associate lecturer at the University of St Andrews. Her research is at the intersection of critical prison studies, hunger striking, and grassroots peacebuilding. She also has a lot of interests in the study of languages, accents, and translation. She published widely on prison hunger strikes, gendered relations, and resistance.

Herself a Palestinian academic from the Gaza Strip, her speech will build on the personal and contextualize and problematize three concepts that are often used in everyday conversations about the 'global south'. From 'resilience' to 'empowerment' to 'voicelessness', she will also show how the personal choices of our words are in reality political and cause more harm than we may think.

Dr. Shwaikh can be contacted at and her Twitter account is @MalakaShwaikh.

Dr. Elizabeth Chakrabarty is an interdisciplinary writer using creative and critical writing, besides performance, to explore themes of race, gender and sexuality. Her debut novel Lessons in Love and Other Crimes, inspired by experience of race hate crime, was published in 2021 by the Indigo Press, along with her essay, On Closure and Crime.

In 2022 Lessons in Love and Other Crimes was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize, and also shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. Elizabeth was also shortlisted for the Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction 2022, for her story 'That Last Summer' published in The Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction 2022: Crime Stories by Comma Press. She was shortlisted for the Asian Writer Short Story Prize in 2016 for 'Eurovision' published in Dividing Lines (Dahlia, 2017). Other recent shorter work includes poetry published by Visual Verse, and creative-critical writing in Gal-Dem, New Writing Dundee, Wasafiri and the anthology Imagined Spaces (Saraband, 2020), and in translation by Glänta and Deus Ex Machina. She received an Authors' Foundation Grant from The Society of Authors (UK) in December 2018, to support the writing of Lessons in Love and Other Crimes, and she was chosen as one of the runners up for the inaugural CrimeFest bursary for crime fiction authors of colour in 2022. She lives in London.

Dr Lena Mattheis is a lecturer in contemporary literature at the University of Surrey, where she is currently working on queer forms and spaces. She has previously worked at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany and at the University of Namibia. Lena's work has been published in peer-reviewed journals (Narrative, Literary Geographies, and Transnational Literature, among others) and in her monograph Translocality in Contemporary City Novels (Palgrave, 2021). Lena is very pleased to be the host and creator of the Queer Lit podcast and occasionally writes blog articles on her experiences as a queer female* person in academic spaces. To find out more, click here: https://lenamattheis.wordpress.com/ or find Lena @Lena_Mattheis on Twitter and @queerlitpodcast on Instagram.

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