The Queen Mary Catalan Seminars are a series of research seminars on Catalan literature, cinema, arts, culture, sociolinguistics, politics, etc, held every six weeks approximately at Queen Mary University of London.

Past Seminars 

Dr. Josep Capdeferro (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Premodern Catalonia: a republican society hardly projected abroad

27 June 2022

In September and October 2017, journalists, politicians, and citizens from all over the world followed the prelude, the celebration, and the effects of the 1st October Referendum which may have led to a unilateral secession of Catalonia from Spain. It was not the first time in history a large proportion of the Catalan population was firmly committed to self-determination and secession. Is Catalan nationhood simply traditionally indocile and rebellious? Or has it for centuries been directed towards republican structures (a large degree of self-government and a high degree of political participation, with its own rule of law)? Recent historiography, virtually unknown abroad, will help in answering such questions.

Dr. Joan Mahiques-Climent (Universitat Jaume I)

Tirant lo Blanch (chapters 53-55), a Catalan precedent of the pageant of the Castle of Ladies (Westminster Hall, 1501)?

15 March 2022 (online)

In 1501, when prince Arthur of Wales married the infanta Katherine of Aragon, splendid pageants were held in Westminster Hall. One of them represented the besieging and surrender of the Castle of Ladies. Some studies have pointed out the Burgundian influence on this spectacle that marks a change in the evolution of English civic pageantry. As a result of a project developed at the Center for Catalan Studies (Queen Mary University of London), I point out that the most similar antecedent to the Westminster pageant is found in Tirant lo Blanch, a Catalan novel published in 1490. These confluences, and also the Hispanic origin of the infanta Katherine of Aragon, lead us to suggest the Hispanic influence was decisive on Westminster spectacle.

III Joanot Martorell Lecture in Catalan Studies

Professor Robert Davidson (Toronto)

A Renewed Renaixença: Landscape, Narrative, Olfaction

1 December 2021 (online)

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi’s Pen Faulkner award-winning Call Me Zebra, is a novel of exilic return that draws on Don QuixoteThe Inferno and The Odyssey. At its core, though, it is a metatextual and intensely identity-focused book that privileges the places of modern Catalan literature. Within the pantheon of classics that the author engages, Jacint Verdaguer’s Canigó and its eponymous mountain loom largest. But how to interpret the fact that this key Renaixença work figures so centrally in a twenty-first century novel? In this talk, I will explore this question and posit that the book’s genesis in excursionisme echoes that of the epic poem and, as a result, contributes to a renewed trend towards a physical—and even olfactive—experience of the Catalan landscape as a recuperative mode.

Event organised by the Centre for Catalan Studies QMUL and the Instituto Cervantes de Londres.

Elvira Prado-Fabregat

“The sound of Catalan”

2 November 2021 (online)

How does Catalan sound? How are the Catalan sounds different from English sounds? Elvira Prado-Fabregat tried to answer these questions having a look at the poem “Tirallonga”, by Pere Quart, and to the first chapter of “Canto jo i la muntanya balla”, written by Irene Solà.

Dr. Elisenda Marcer (University of Birmingham)

Representations of inner and territorial exile in Catalan Literature

12 May 2021 (online)

Dr. Elisenda Marcer revised the notions of “inner exile” and “territorial exile” in different texts and poems, such as some letters from Pere Quart and the poem “El Freu”, also written by Pere Quart.

Dr. Anna Alberni (ICREA – Universitat de Barcelona)

“Waiting for Ausiàs March: Catalan Poetry at the Turn of the Fourteenth Century”

4 May 2021 (online)

Dr. Anna Alberni talked about the characteristics of the “cançó” (‘song’) in Catalan medieval literature. She revised and analysed some poems by Andreu Febrer, Jordi de Sant Jordi and Ausiàs March.

Dr. Víctor Obiols (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Holistic translation

24 February 2021 (online)

II Joanot Martorell Lecture in Catalan Studies

Professor Joan-Lluís Marfany

The “Renaixença” Myth. Language and Literature in Catalonia, 1789-1859
In collaboration with Instituto Cervantes de Londres

2 December 2020 (online)

Dr. Koldo Casla (University of Essex)

‘Analysing policy from the starting point of vulnerability: Nation, nations and historical memory in Spain’

25 November 2020 (online)

Focusing on the case study of Spain, this talk argues that it is worth analysing politics and policy from the starting point of vulnerability, which does not need to be a weakness, and indeed it can be a source of strength. The talk introduces the core ideas of a monograph approaching completion and to be published in 2021 under the title “Spain and its Achilles Heels: The Strong Foundations of a Country’s Weaknesses”. Combining history, law, economics and politics, the book examines four topics that might go unnoticed to an international observer but might be taken for granted or decontextualised by an internal one.

Laia Malo

‘The sound of Catalan: music and language’

11 November 2020 (online)

Laia Malo (Catalonia, 1984) is a writer, translator and musician. She has published 5 books of poems in Catalan: L’abc de Laia Martinez i Lopez (Documenta Balear, 2009), L’estiu del tonight, tonight (“Art Jove” Poetry Prize. El Gall Ed., 2011), Cançó amb esgarrip i dos poemes (Lleonard Muntaner, Ed., 2015), Afollada (Labreu, 2016) and Venus volta (Lleonard Muntaner, Ed., 2018). From Russian, she has translated and coedited Dels troncs d’oliveres velles, by Max Voloshin (Lleonard Muntaner, Ed., 2013), and the anthology of Siberian poets 7.516 Km (IEB, 2015); from English, the first book of poems by Patti Smith: Auguris d’innocència (Labreu, 2019).

In this seminar, she talked about how music and poetry are, to her, the same thing; how literature has influenced music in Catalan and vice versa, how the musical style (and the lyrics associated with it) influences our language; and why she thinks it is important to sing in Catalan, when preserving a language.

First Joanot Martorell Conference on Catalan Literature


In collaboration with



13 November 2018:

Catalan Annual Lecture with Sid Lowe

4 December 2018 :

Re-Mapping Catalonia: A Digital Historic Route through Manuel de Pedrolo’s Mecanoscrit

poster Pedrolo
Poster final.jpg
Poster Dali2
Poster cunillé final
QMCS - Guillem Colom