The Many Lives of Arnold Bennett

A Celebration


The Fourteenth Annual Arnold Bennett Society Conference

Keele University: Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd September 2017

2017 is the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Arnold Bennett: Novelist, Playwright, Journalist, Politician, Traveller, Self-help writer, Diarist, Screenwriter, Artist and Bon Viveur.

The Conference is a joint venture between Keele University, Staffordshire University and the Arnold Bennett Society. It opens on the Friday evening with a public lecture by journalist and broadcaster Samira Ahmed in the Westminster Theatre at Keele University. Samira Ahmed will also present the prize for the inaugural Arnold Bennett Society Book Prize.

The Saturday conference will take place in the University Conference Centre, Keele Hall (a Grade II listed mansion house) between 10.00am and 6.00pm. It will include keynote speeches by Dr Randi Saloman, Wake Forest University, North Carolina and Jonathan Wild, Edinburgh University.

Given the wide range of Arnold Bennett’s interests and achievements the Conference provides the opportunity to celebrate Bennett’s literary, cultural, social, and political diversity. The papers will reflect the man’s previously neglected achievements.

The fee for the conference is £32.50 per delegate with an additional £31.50 for delegates wishing to enjoy the Staffordshire Menu evening meal at Keele Hall on Saturday 2 September 2017.

Closing date for registrations and payments 25 August 2017.

Call for Papers


  • Travel Information

Getting here by Rail:
For national train times and enquiries go to:

The nearest railways stations to Keele are:
Stoke-on-Trent (5 miles/8km)
Crewe (12 miles/19km)

Buses and taxis are available from Stoke-on-Trent to the Keele campus.

A taxi from Stoke on Trent station will cost approximately £10 and will take 10 - 15 minutes. If you are travelling from Crewe Station then a taxi will cost approximately £16 and will take 20 - 25 minutes. Please note these prices can be considerably more when using taxis from the ranks outside the stations.

Taxis Contact Numbers:
ABC Supreme - 01782 632222
Roseville - 01782 613456

If you wish to catch the bus to Keele from Stoke on Trent Station then a direct service is available which departs from the bus stop on the opposite side of the road when leaving the train station. The bus runs every 20 minutes and will state number 3, Keele University, The cost for the bus is approximately £2.00 and takes around 30 - 40 minutes.


The Many Lives of Arnold Bennett: A Celebration

The Fourteenth Annual Arnold Bennett Society Conference

Keele University: Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd September 2017

The Conference Programme


Friday September 1st:              Westminster Theatre, Chancellor’s Building

7.30pm             Public Lecture: Samira Ahmed

                        What can Bennett Teach Us About Brexit?

                        Q & A

                        First Award of the Bennett Book Prize

Saturday September 2nd:         Keele Hall, Salvin Room

9.00 – 9.30am   Registration & coffee

9.30am             Formal Opening

9.45am             1st Keynote Speech – Randi Saloman

‘From the Balloon to a Photographic Grammar: The Grand Babylon Hotel in its original context.’

(During, the day, Panel 1 will meet in the Salvin room: Panel 2 will meet in the Old Library)

10.30am           Session 1

Panel 1             Chair:   Tim Lustig

Martin Laux.    Arnold Bennett the Parent

Catherine Burgass.        Reading the Many Lives: Bennett’s Biographies.

Panel 2             Chair:   Nick Bentley

Elizabeth Negus. Exploring Edwardian Realism in Bennett’s The Old Wives Tale (1908) and Anna of the Five Towns (1902).

Demet Karabulut. Public and Private Sphere Dichotomy in Arnold Bennett’s Anna of the Five Towns and The Old Wives Tale.          Coffee          Session 2

Panel 1             Chair:   Hannah Scragg

Barry Howarth. Satire, sex and social commentary: Arnold Bennett at the Liverpool Playhouse Theatre.

Leslie Powner. The Burslem Theologian

Panel 2             Chair:   Catherine Burgass

Fred Hughes. Party Politics and the author of Clayhanger.

Hannah Scragg. Experimentation with time and the re-visitation of history in Arnold Bennett’s Lord Raingo.          Lunch & launch of AB Companion Vol.2.            Session 3

Panel 1             Chair:  Ray Johnson

George Simmers. Arnold Bennett at the Ministry of Information.

Angharad Saunders.      At home with Arnold Bennett – Villa des Nétfliers and the practice of authorship.

Panel 2             Chair:   Martin Laux

Deborah Wynne. ‘I am a Victorian’: Arnold Bennett and the Legacy of the Victorians.

Charlotte Jones.   ‘Life Escapes.’: re-living modernist moments with Arnold Bennett and Virginia Woolf.

2.45 pm            Session 4

Panel 1             Chair:   Fred Hughes

Tony Patterson. Writing for a New Age: Arnold Bennett and the Avant Garde.

Mick Temple.   Arnold Bennett’s advice for women journalists.

Panel 2             Chair:   Leslie Powner

John Shapcott.  ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’: Bennett’s Texts Among the Artists

3.45 pm            Coffee

4.00 pm            2nd Keynote Speech - Dr Jonathan Wild.

                        Arnold Bennett: Exemplary Edwardian.

4.45 pm            Panel Discussion: ‘Whither Bennett’

                        Randi Salomon, Jonathan Wild, John Shapcott

5.30 pm            Closing remarks


The day will conclude with the optional dinner at Keele Hall in the Old Library.


How to Register using Keele online store

Please register and process your payment through Keele University Online Store at the following link:

There are two options for Saturday 2 September:

1.  Conference fee without evening meal £32.50


2.  Conference fee with dinner in Keele Hall £64.00

Please select the appropriate fee and process with your credit card details.


Closing date for registrations and payments will be 25 August 2017

For further information please contact Les Powner

Local Accommodation

We have provided a list of local accommodation below, please note however that we cannot accept responsibility to recommend or book any accommodation for guests.

Keele University Management Centre, Keele Village. Tel 01782 738900

The Old School Keele Bed & Breakfast The Old School, Church Bank, Keele, ST5 5AT. Tel: 01782 619638

The Old Hall, Poolside, Madeley, Cheshire, CW3 9DX. Tel: 01782 752543

Travelodge (Newcastle Under Lyme), Lower Street, Newcastle, Staffordshire, ST5 2Rj. Tel: 0871 984 6446

Wychwood Park (Nr. Crewe) Western, Crewe, CW2 5GP. Tel. 0844 980 2323

Premier Inn, (Trentham) Stone Road, Stoke on Trent, ST4 8JG. Tel:0871 527 9050