Founded in 1960 by Raymond Queneau and François Le Lionnais, Oulipo (the Ouvroir de littérature potentielle or Workshop of Potential Literature), has in its over six decades explored literary constraints and mathematics in writing, and continues to flourish today, making it the longest lasting literary group in France. This talk will give examples of Oulipian practice from France and elsewhere, including precursors (what Oulipo term “anticipatory plagiarists”), and writers outside Oulipo who have explored similar methods.

Speaker: Philip Terry was born in Belfast, and is a poet, translator, and a writer of fiction. He has translated the work of Georges Perec, Stéphane Mallarmé and Raymond Queneau, and is the author of the novel tapestry, shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize. His poetry volumes include Oulipoems, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Dante’s Inferno, and Dictator, a version of the Epic of Gilgamesh in Globish. He is currently translating Ice Age signs from the caves at Lascaux. The Penguin Book of Oulipo, which he edited, was published in Penguin Modern Classics in 2020.