Discourses of Empire and Commonwealth, a new book inspired by the best of a series of literary conferences held at Cumberland Lodge, is now available to purchase online.

The volume is edited by our former associate programme director, Sandra Robinson, and former principal, Alastair Niven. It explores the legacy of imperialism and the role of writers in forging a new, more cosmopolitan identity.

Published by Brill, Discourses of Empire and Commonwealth features contributions from a wide range of contemporary writers and critics, including personal reflections, critical overviews, historical re-evaluations and creative works.

Salman Rushdie famously declared that 'Commonwealth literature' has had its day but this book aims to provide an antidote to this idea and to inject a fresh vitality into the genre.

The book explores the experiences of countries around the world and, together, the contributors affirm the enduring freedom of the human spirit, even within unjust or oppressive social systems. They highlight the power of words in illuminating injustices and uniting different peoples.

Sandra Robinson has several published articles on human rights and literary subjects and has previously edited four books, including Glorious Seclusion (Phillimore 2011).

Alastair Niven edited The Journal of Commonwealth Literature for 13 years. He was Principal of Cumberland Lodge from 2001 to 2013 and he previously held academic posts at the Universities of Ghana, Leeds, Stirling, Aarhus, London and Oxford. He was President of the writers’ association, English PEN, from 2003 to 2007.