top of page

2023 Conference: Call for Papers

The Epistolary Research Network (TERN) is pleased to announce its third conference held from 6-7 October 2023.


The clock is ticking. Schedules, delays, deadlines, queues worry our lives. Letters are often considered in terms of space and geographical distance. In 2023, TERN proposes to revisit themes surrounding temporality, be it in reference to material form or technology, delivery, calendar time or epistolary contents and conventions.


Has a delayed letter ever changed a historical event? How do letter writers, consciously or unconsciously, use specific epistolary tenses to collapse or manipulate time, and for what reasons? Why are letters dated to one time period embedded in other dated media like newspapers, manuals or scrapbooks? What of the future of this form of writing?


  • anachronisms

  • letters written or delivered under temporal constraints (war, illness, incarceration, difficulty finding carriers)

  • epistolary tenses, time expressions and dating conventions

  • time spent letter writing vs email, societal expectations

  • undated letters, letters removed from calendar time

  • periods when letter writing gained or lost popularity and the social context

  • open letters, letters written for later time periods or no specific time period

  • epistolary conventions concerning letter or letter archive dating

  • best time to write and reply to letters

  • mail art that addresses the concept of time

  • causes and consequences of postponements, delays and other non-delivery

  • letters used to date events in history or the lives of people

  • chronology of letter collections, gap between date letters composed and published

Proposals (maximum 250 words) and a brief biography (CV) should be sent to The deadline is 15 May 2023. The conference language will be English. Publication of selected papers will be arranged following the conference.

Recieving a Letter
bottom of page