HPEF presents Infinitus 2010, a Harry Potter conference            TEXT  MENU

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July 15-18, 2010
Orlando, Florida

When Are You Going to Write Something 'Real'?: Copyrights, Covers, and the Place of Fan-Fiction in Literature
Hilary K. Justice

Fan-fiction writers are often asked by friends and family and even their readers, “When are you going to write something real?” This presentation will consider what makes writing “real,” locating the current practice of fan-fiction in the larger context of literary history. What happens if we apply current standards of “real” to works of past authors in the Western tradition? We lose most of Shakespeare, novels, fiction, and everything ever written by a woman.  By peering into Shakespeare's chambers, Jane Austen's parlor, Nathaniel Hawthorne's biases, Scarlett O'Hara's laundry, and one contemporary English Department, we will immediately see that this “reality” wherein we engage in subversive writing practices is merely a socio-historical construct, contingent more on commonly held assumptions than on the actual value of a work to its individual writers and community of readers. By the clicking of our keyboards, though, our anonymous and often clandestine writing practices place us squarely within the tradition of legitimate Western literature.

Beginning with the first-ever work of fiction by a woman (whose husband divorced her for writing it!) and ending with Professor Justice's recent successful campaign to have her _Harry Potter_ fan-fiction recognized as “real writing” by her own university, the lecture/discussion will consider how we need to change our own thinking about what makes writing real.

Professor Justice will invite a few colleagues who have published both “real” and “fan” works to join in the Q&A session to enhance the diversity of perspectives that will be of value to attendees. These colleagues will include Dr. Mara Stein, who writes fanfiction as “Machshefa,” and, if allowed, one or two others whose attendance at the conference is contingent on institutional funding (e.g., Elisabeth Carnell, a.k.a. “Juniperus”)."

Hilary Justice, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English at Illinois State University, participated in the Borders' Snape Debate at Phoenix Rising, delivered Snape's eulogy at Terminus, and argued for the defense in "The People versus J.K. Rowling" trial at Azkatraz. As "Ariadne," she has been honored as "Best Author" by Quill-to-Parchment and won several awards for her SS/HG stories_A Walking Shadow_, "Contraceptus:Continuum," and _In Spirit_. As "Dr. Justice," she's an internationally respected Hemingway scholar and teaches courses on everything from Drama and Publishing to Book History and Food Writing.
Formal Programming