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English Literature: insight4me English Literature – Dystopian Literature With University of Nottingham & University of East Anglia

7th December 2021 @ 10:30 - 11:30





  • University of East Anglia: Dr Birgit Breidenbach, Lecturer in Literature and Philosophy, School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing will present: Living in a dystopian age: how can literature help us navigate it? Dystopian literature is often understood as a set of ‘cautionary tales’: it is meant to warn us of what might happen to humanity if we continue down a treacherous ideological or technological path. But what if we are already living in a dystopian world? Covid-19, impending climate catastrophe and ongoing social injustices make the 21st century look rather bleak. What could the place of dystopian literature be if it no longer functions as a warning against a potentially catastrophic future because we are already living in it? In this session, we will explore this question and consider to what extent dystopian literature might help us navigate a dystopian present.  
  • University of Nottingham: Dr Jessica Norledge, Teaching Associate in the Faculty of Arts, will present Handmaids, Hosts and Sleeping Beauties: The Role of Women in Dystopia. In this session Jessica Norledge will investigate the characterisation of women in dystopia. We will look at examples from a range of classic and contemporary dystopian texts, exploring the presentation of women as mothers, surrogates, saviours and devotees. In thinking about idealised and nightmarish representations of women in dystopia, we will discuss such topics as gender, reproductive rights and the female voice, applying tools from stylistics to examine the role and function of women in dystopian texts.


insight4me is a series of subject specific webinars for Year 12 & 13 students, and equivalent. The sessions directly support students’ current studies by giving an insight into particular curriculum areas whilst affording an understanding of how these subjects continue beyond A-levels, T-levels, IB, BTEC and equivalent qualifications and vary between universities.

In this insight4me English Literature webinar for schools and colleges, two universities, University of East Anglia & University of Nottingham, will each have roughly 30 minutes to deliver a punchy, topic based ‘micro’ talk. Within an overall session theme of Dystopian Literature, the universities have the freedom to choose their own focus and use the time to convey the key points of the case studies for the students.


Our events are designed so that a group of students can take part from a classroom or students and teachers can take part as individuals, either from school or from home. This means that sessions will continue irrespective of possible school closures.

As a live, participative event, this session will not be recorded but slides and other resources will be shared after the event, where available.


Suitable for: Year 12 & 13 students (and equivalent) studying, or with a possible interest in studying, English Literature and related disciplines.

Preparation/Pre-Reading: Students may wish to consider the 2 topics and discuss some of the key elements in advance. Students can also think about questions they have about studying English Literature at university level.

The IT Setup: The event will be run on Bluejeans and participants will be able to join using laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. If you are joining as a school group, we recommend connecting with one device and projecting on to a whiteboard. You will be able to interact with the university via a microphone and/or typed comments and questions. Full details will be sent to those who have registered (see below) prior to the event.

Booking a Place: This is free for schools and colleges. If you would like to take part in this event, please register your interest using the link to the registration form below:



7th December 2021
10:30 - 11:30