Dundee’s literary past will provide a significant financial boost to the city’s present as it prepares to host a major literary event from 29 -31 August 2023.
The University of Dundee is to host The Year of the Gothic Women conference, with visitors from around the world descending on Tayside to celebrate the role of some of the genre’s most iconic female writers.
Dundee was chosen for its historic links to Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, a story which continues to captivate readers more than 200 years after it was first published.
Dr Daniel Cook, a Reader in English Literature at the University and expert in Gothic literature, said that the event would highlight Dundee and Scotland’s links to the famous text.
“Few books throughout history resonate with the public like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein,” he said.
“It’s a tale that continues to captivate readers, and those who learn about it through other forms of media and popular culture. But what many people do not know is how the roots of the story were developed right here in Scotland, with Dundee a tremendous source of inspiration to Shelley as a writer.
“As we celebrate the great female writers of gothic fiction, it is an honour to welcome visitors from around the world to witness the landscape that helped forge one of fiction’s greatest works.”
Shelley spent two years living in Dundee’s South Baffin Street as a teenager after her father William Godwin sent her to live with the wealthy jute baron Baxter family.
This spell would profoundly influence Shelley, who later acknowledged, “It was beneath the trees of the grounds belonging to our house, or on the bleak sides of the woodless mountains near, that my true compositions, the airy flights of my imagination, were born and fostered.”
As part of the conference, a Frankenstein’s Dundee walking tour will be held, while the work of the Gothic Women Project, a collaboration between the universities of Dundee, Cardiff, Newcastle and York, will showcase new strands of research on women’s writing.
Due to the large number of visitors expected to attend from around the world, the event is predicted to generate more than £160,000 for the local economy.
Karen Tocher, Business Events Manager at Dundee City Region Convention Bureau, said, “As a city and region, we understand the significance of hosting national and international conferences, which can serve as a powerful platform not only for the involved organisations and institutions but for people and communities worldwide.
“Conferences and meetings bring together diverse groups of people, providing them with the opportunity to explore new perspectives, advance their professional growth, and amplify voices from all walks of life.
“We take great pride in hosting The Year of Gothic Women and eagerly anticipate welcoming delegates from across the globe to Dundee.”