Literary experts and historians from around the world gather in Leicester to celebrate George Eliot’s bicentenary

The University of Leicester will this week (Wednesday 17 – Friday 19 July) play host to an international conference marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of novelist George Eliot. This is part of a yearlong programme of celebrations marking the writer’s life and works.

Eliot, whose real name was Mary Anne Evans, was born just a few miles from Leicester in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Between 1859 and 1876 she wrote seven novels including
The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner and Middlemarch, which was named in a 2017 critics’ poll as the greatest British novel of all time.

The conference, which is organised by the University’s
Centre for Victorian Studies in conjunction with the George Eliot Fellowship, will gather together nearly 150 literary and historical experts from 14 countries including Italy, Israel, China, Tunisia, Singapore, Brazil and Japan.

During the three-day event, they will discuss not only Eliot’s life and work but also her place within Victorian literature and Victorian society, and her works’ continuing relevance in the 21
st century, including film and TV adaptations.

Director of the Victorian Studies Centre,
Professor Gowan Dawson, said: “We are delighted to be hosting this major bicentenary event. The Victorian Studies Centre, which celebrated its own 50th anniversary in 2017, has a distinguished history when it comes to marking Eliot anniversaries.

“We held a conference in 1972 to celebrate the centenary of
Middlemarch; a one-day conference to mark the centenary of Daniel Deronda; and, in July 1980, a gala three-day conference to commemorate the centenary of Eliot’s death. We look forward to continuing this tradition with a wonderful three days of Eliot erudition and entertainment”.

Conference attendees will also enjoy a tour of local sites relevant to the author and a display of George Eliot items from Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery’s collection.

For more information, please visit the
conference website.