Lucinda Ferguson (Faculty of Law) and

Tessa Roynon (Rothermere American Institute; English Faculty)


speaking on


Ian McEwan’s The Children Act

Children’s Rights in Law and Literature



In this interdisciplinary seminar, we will explore Ian McEwan’s short novel on the dilemma posed by the refusal of critical medical treatment for children on religious grounds.  What insights can we gain on the legal and ethical debates from approaching the issue through the lens of literature?  Can it affect our perspective on the extent to which and the reasons why the child, the child’s parents, and the medical profession should decide? 

In advance of the seminar, you may find it helpful – but it is absolutely not necessary! – to read the novel and two judicial decisions, Re A (Children) (Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation) [2000] EWCA Civ 254 and Re G (Education: Religious Upbringing) [2012] EWCA Civ 1233.


The Cube, Faculty of Law

Wednesday, 8 February 2017, from 1.00 to 2.30pm


About the Speakers

Lucinda Ferguson is Associate Professor of Family Law at the University of Oxford; and Tutorial Fellow in Law at Oriel College, Oxford.  She has published articles on children’s rights, age-based rules, and designing frameworks for making legal decisions that affect children; child protection and cultural diversity; and the nature and justifiability of financial obligations upon relationship breakdown.  She has been commissioned to produce research for governmental law reform bodies, and her work has been cited in leading court decisions.  She holds an MA in Jurisprudence (English Law with German Law) from Magdalen College, Oxford, as well as a BCL from the University of Oxford.  She also holds an LLM from Queen's University, Canada.  She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and was a finalist for OUP’s Law Teacher of the Year 2016.

Tessa Roynon is a Research and Teaching Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute and a member of the English Faculty.  She is a specialist in modern American literature, in Anglophone literature of the African diaspora, in Classical Reception studies, and in the interactions between all of these.  Tessa completed her first degree at Clare College, Cambridge, her Master’s at Georgetown University, where she was a Fulbright Scholar, and her AHRC-funded doctorate (awarded in 2007) at the University of Warwick.  She was a Research Fellow and Lecturer in English at St Peter’s College, Oxford from 2008 to 2014.  She has authored two monographs: Toni Morrison and the Classical Tradition (OUP 2013) and The Cambridge Introduction to Toni Morrison (CUP 2012).  She is contributing co-editor of the acclaimed interdisciplinary essay collection, African Athena: New Agendas (OUP 2011), and has published numerous articles and book chapters on Morrison.


A sandwich lunch will be served.

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Hosted by:  Children’s and Family Law Discussion Group; Fiction and Human Rights Network (TORCH).