Literature in Exile. Emigrants’ Fiction (20th century experience)

Venue: Shota Rustaveli Institute of Georgian Literature

Location: Tbilisi, Georgia

Event Date/Time: Sep 25, 2013 End Date/Time: Sep 27, 2013
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The 7th International Symposium  Literature in Exile. Emigrants’ Fiction (20th century experience)  Tbilisi, Georgia  Organized by  Shota Rustaveli Institute of Georgian Literature  Iv. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University  Georgian Comparative Literature Association (GCLA)   Dear Colleagues! We have great pleasure to invite you to participate in the 7th International Symposium                                 Literature in Exile. Emigrants’ Fiction (20th century experience) which will take place on 25-26-27 September, 2013, in Tbilisi, Georgia. 

Literature constitutes a conceptual reflection on actual processes. The context in which a literary text takes shape always finds reflection in the conceptual or expressive layers of this text. If we bear in mind the inherent aspiration of literature to intellectual and representative freedom, we may form a clear idea of the contradiction that arises in conditions of a political regime between the artistic text and the actual context. In this case a valuable literature faces a danger of becoming marginal being replaced by the policy driven literature, which takes the central place. What is likely to happen to an alternative literary discourse? The alternative literary discourse usually paves its way by different methods. However, the options are meager: traditionally, there existed direct and indirect paths of fight. In the first case writers put up with sacrifice, for they believe that all other ways are compromise, which they can not allow.

 Accordingly, quite a few writers revolting against different political regimes consciously faced execution, suicide or exile - emigration.

These three forms of “settling the problem” were identical in content, the difference lying only in the strategy of implementation.

A great number of writers became the victims of the ongoiong process of emigrations occuring in the 20th century. They fleed (some of them voluntarily and others forcedly) from Bolshevism, Fascism, Communism, Socialism and some other types of regimes so that they could watch unbearable processes from the distance, reveal the truth and direct the attention of the world’s intellectual forces towards the criminal dictationships.

Emigration goes like a red line along the 20 century history, which is notorious for both long and short regimes and dictationships. Emigrants formed different groups and societies including literary associations to fight against the dictators because of who they had to abandon their mother lands forever. Their weapon was a pen and their writings are full of deep pain, sorrow, and nostalgy mixed with protest and disappointment.

What are the writings, publicism and criticism of the emmigrant writers like? How do they perceive their native countries from the far distance as well as processes taking place “There”? What literary genres and the forms of literary depictions do they refer to?

The literary heritage of emigrant writers, different from those writers working in their national environment is formed outside national borders: the writer leaves the topos which was very familiar to him and continues his creative life in absolutely different circumstances. If we consider the language to be the basic means of writing, it is easy to realize that an emigrant writer faces a linguistic dilemma: he chooses either to write in his native language or start to use a different one. In the first case a writer is at the risk of making his creations alienated to a new social environment, still, keeping it integrated with his native literature; in the other case, a writer is trying to adapt with a new social environment at the expense of developing linguistic distance towards a native literary discourse.

Does a geographical location or a linguistic model determine a writer’s national identity? And if so, at   what extent?  After a writer leaves his country and adapts with new models of a language, is he likely to become a representative of another national literature?

The aim of the 7th Tbilisi International Symposium is to find solutions to these issues and problems. We do hope that the outcome will be interesting for specialists as well as for the society.

Best Regards!

Professor Irma Ratiani



5 Merab Kostava St.

Additional Information


Working languages of the Symposium are Georgian, English, Russian. Round table will be held. The interested applicants should send paper titles, abstracts of no more than 250 words (Font: Times New Roman, Size 11, Line spacing - single) and filled  electronically to the Organizing Committee on the following emails by April 14, 2013:                                              English Speakers – Dea Muskhelishvili    Russian Speakers  Irina Modebadze  )    Please note that the thesis that does not follow the formatting rules will not be evaluated!    The organizing committee of the symposium grants the right to evaluate the submitted abstracts and determine whether it is appropriate for the symposium.   The approved participants will be sent informational communiqué concerning the payment of the registration fee.

  • Registration fee for participants –  € 80  (110 USD)
  • Participation without attendance – € 40   (55 USD)
  • Participation without presentation – € 40   (55 USD)

 The registration fee includes:

  • Coffee breaks during symposium days
  • Lunches during symposium days
  • Symposium Publications

      Symposium participants will also be offered a cultural programme.  After the completion of the symposium, symposium proceedings will be published and the authors will receive the scanned files of their articles (Please, note that the postal service of sending the proceedings is not included in the registration fee).   Yours faithfully, Organizing Committee