European Connections: Literary Networks, Political Authorship and the Future of Europe Debate

Benedict Schofield, Sandra Mayer (Editor), Ruth Scobie (Editor)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


This chapter explores the role of literary-political networks in sustaining and disseminating the political voice of authors. In particular, it examines authors that have responded to recent crises in the European narrative, such as Brexit, and in so doing have chosen to deploy their authorial capital to advocate politically for Europe. It questions the extent to which this literary-political engagement resides in individual agency, and explores, across three case studies, how this engagement is embedded in, and the product of, networks: of figures, institutions, locations, and genres. It opens with an examination of A. L. Kennedy, and her pro-European activism, and argues that institutional networks enable and legitimize her performance of literary political activism and support her self-fashioning as a public intellectual. It then turns to the correspondence between Kennedy and Katrin Röggla as part of a pan-European network exchanging views on the state of Europe. Simulating intimate access to the authors, this correspondence is shown to amplify their political voice, legitimizing their literary and political authority through self-reflexive dialogue. The chapter closes with an exploration of the anthology as a form that actively networks authors around European themes and assesses the extent to which the political impact of these anthologies resides in the individual voice of each author, or in the collective impact of networked authorship. Institutional, interpersonal, and formal networks, the chapter argues, are crucial features to enable and support authors who deploy their literary authority, power, and celebrity for political ends.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAuthorship, Activism and Celebrity: Art and Action in Global Literature
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)978-1-5013-9233-7
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2023


  • Literary Activism
  • European Culture
  • Cultural Networks
  • Anthologies
  • A. L. Kennedy
  • Katrin Roeggla
  • Europa28
  • Goodbye Europe


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