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Bath Spa University hosts online literature and writing summit: Follow the Sun


 If you have ever wanted to travel the world without leaving your home to join a dynamic summit of writers, artists and scholars, your chance has arrived with Follow the Sun, an online literature and writing conference hosted by Bath Spa University (@BathSpaUni) from 28 to 30 January 2021.

Follow the Sun – a literary festival-meets-conference – boasts 16 events and more than 40 speakers, and is organised by The Research Centre for Transcultural Creativity and Education (TRACE), its Transnational Literature open access, peer-reviewed, international journal, and creative writing incubator Paper Nations – all part of Bath Spa University.

The event is aimed at citizens from around the world embarking on a creative and thought-provoking journey through transnational literature, writing, and performance. All are welcome, including artists, scholars and those simply curious about new ideas, creative writing, and global debate.

The summit’s key theme is ‘Place and Displacement’, inspired by keynote speaker Aminatta Forna, who said in 2020 that ‘we have seen place displaced’ as a reflection on our current state of being, both bound at home and displaced from our normal modes of interaction.  

Taking place entirely online, attendees are encouraged to ‘follow the sun’ as morning travels around the world, beginning in Adelaide, and moving across the sky to Mumbai, London, and New York.

Stories will be heard from award-winning poets, literary translators, and novelists. Academics from around the world will also share their latest research on the topic of detention, displacement, and disappearance. Follow the Sun creates a forum for exchange of knowledge and ideas, placing people from different places within the same spaces for a brief moment in time. 

The event will culminate on Saturday 30 January with a masterclass (UK time only) on performance poetry in the online world. Led by renowned writer, Zena Edwards, the masterclass is a unique opportunity to meet others, be inspired, and hone public speaking skills. 

Talking about the vision for Follow the Sun, Bambo Soyinka, Director of TRACE and founder of Paper Nations said:

“For so many of us, the last year has kept us confined to our own spaces and places, unable to move, unable to reflect, unable to pursue ideas and creative goals. We invite you to follow the sun with us and travel across boundaries and time zones, virtually stepping into the sun to make connections with scholars and artists, creative writers and performers, friends and colleagues, both old and new.

“Though we may be bound more than ever to our localities, by following the sun we can explore different places from within our own spaces, exchanging knowledge and ideas and embracing the chance to think about where we go from here. At this global event you will encounter people from across the world who will offer you fresh perspectives and ideas. The dawn of each new day will bring fresh opportunities to step outside our homes and greet the morning with renewed energy and purpose.”

Follow the Sun ranges from panels on erasing borders, to readings and performances on individual isolation and alienation. Attendees can simply enter their chosen Zoom-room at any time throughout the 24-hour programme and catch up on anything they have missed on replay.  

Tickets are available to purchase via Eventbrite on a sliding scale depending on income, location, and the range of events attendees wish to attend.

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