Call for papers. Jenny Diski: A Celebration, University of Oxford, 7th April 2020. Keynote Speaker: Blake Morrison.
The Oxford Centre for Life-Writing and English Faculty Life-writing Day at the Weston Library, 9 February 2019. A guest post by writer Evalyn Lee.
John Malchair (1730-1812) moved to Oxford in 1760, where he led the Music Room band for 32 years. As a hobby he collected ‘old tunes’, what we would today call folk music, noting down tunes heard in the street, receiving music via letters, and recording melodies from the singing of friends. His collection as known... Continue Reading →
Life Writing Projects is is a new collaboration between The Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research (CLHLWR) and REFRAME. "Our contributors, who include new and established writers, artists and poets, embrace the concept of life-writing as a project. They work here within a set of self-imposed constraints, in order, as Michael Sheringham puts it,... Continue Reading →
A streak of black for depression, blue for nostalgic memories of home, red for love, I put above all else, yellow for the hatred of injustice, green for the life I chose to not end, white for the peace I desperately seek. Here is a portrait painted with words. It was time. After much encouragement... Continue Reading →
My First Diary When I was seven years old my mother sent me abroad, alone. I carried one small canvas bag with a camera and a diary-notebook. My instructions were very clear: ‘Take as many pictures as you can and write down everything you see. Switzerland is a very beautiful country and you’ll see lots... Continue Reading →
This piece originally appeared on LSE Review of Books. It’s rather like a ball of yarn when it gets tangled up. We hold it this way, and carefully wind out the strands on our spindles, now this way, now that way. That’s how we’ll wind up this war, if we’re allowed: unsnarling it by sending embassies,... Continue Reading →
This post appeared originally on the Writers' HQ blog. Recently, I’ve been waking up with this feeling in my gut. “I’m done,” I say to myself. “I’m done. I’m finished. I’m over it.” I get up and write because it’s my job and I have to but it’s dry. It’s bloodless. It hurts, and it... Continue Reading →
20 June 2018 University of Nottingham, Department of Music Keynote: Professor Frances Spalding, CBE, FRSL (University of Cambridge) Deadline: 9 February 2018 Call for Papers From Plutarch’s Parallel Lives to Gordon Brown’s recent My Life, Our Times, life-writing has long dealt not only with individuals, but also with the times in which they lived. The discipline traverses historical, cultural,... Continue Reading →
Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger (University of Münster) and Lyndal Roper Chair: Peter Wilson 10am – 12pm, Tuesday 27 February, Rees Davies Room, Faculty of History The event explores the problems and challenges of writing historical biography, ranging from questions of context and human agency, to issues of interpretation and presentation. As authors of two recent best-selling biographies... Continue Reading →
This month the fifth North Cornwall Book Festival welcomed Dame Hermione Lee, OCLW's Advisory Director and Emeritus Professor of English Literature in the English Faculty at Oxford University. Hermione spoke to the festival's artistic director, Patrick Gale, about Edith Wharton and Penelope Fitzgerald, and what they can teach us about the peculiar pressures on women novelists. ... Continue Reading →
A collaboration between the University of Oxford (St Hilda’s College, Oxford Centre for Life Writing, Faculty of English Language and Literature and the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages) and the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School for Literary Studies (FSGS) at the Freie Universität Berlin, the three-day conference brought together some of the leading international literary scholars in the field.
The Oxford Centre for Life Writing, in partnership with the Western Front Association and the Wilfred Owen Association, is pleased to be hosting a conference to mark the centenary of Wilfred Owen’s death. Owen’s life was tragically short. Any study of his life is by definition overshadowed by his death and the bitter irony of... Continue Reading →
Originally posted by Oxford University Press. We are delighted to announce the recipients of the Oxford DNB/OCLW research bursaries for 2017/2018. This time, OUP has awarded two bursaries in association with the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing: they go to Dr Katherine Collins, an academic and creative writer working across the disciplines of sociology and life... Continue Reading →
On 8 March 1823, the Spanish dancer, Mademoiselle Mercandotti was due to dance for a packed house in a performance of Daniel Auber’s ballet, Alfred. The audience were expectant: Mercandotti, who had arrived for the 1822-1823 season, had been dubbed ‘The Andalusian Venus’, and the manager of the King’s Theatre, John Ebers (c. 1785-c. 1830),... Continue Reading →
This paper for Dancing Lives looks at the way Berto Pasuka’s dancing embodies his life experiences. Pasuka was born in Jamaica in 1910 or 1911 and moved to London in 1939, founding his company Les Ballets Nègres there in 1946. The performances he gave in his ballets with this company exemplify an opposition to colonialism... Continue Reading →
Mike Webb (Bodleian Libraries) and Jennifer Thorp (New College Oxford) contribute to Dancing Lives. The Bodleian Library has recently acquired a Gallen’s Almanack for 1667 which belonged to Jeffery Boyes of Grays Inn, who has been suggested by Janet Todd as a candidate for the ‘Amyntas’ of Aphra Behn’s poems. In the diary section of... Continue Reading →
Choreographer Liam Francis is an advocate for rehabilitating discarded creative offerings. Consequently, R1 is a performance piece composed entirely of rejected choreography banished to the choreographic wastebaskets of creative processes. In particular, R1 draws from the wastebaskets of five creative processes that Francis was creatively involved in. R1 is the first in a range of... Continue Reading →
Dr Kate Kennedy, our Weinrebe Fellow in Life-Writing, has won an Early Career Researcher award in this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Public Engagement with Research Awards, which celebrate public engagement work across the University. The announcement was made at an awards ceremony at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History on 28 June hosted by Vice-Chancellor... Continue Reading →
At the peak of her dancing years - between 1916 and 1926 - Lydia Lopokova was one of the world’s most popular ballerinas, stamping the signature of her quick, bright technique and irrepressible stage personality onto the repertories of Massine, Fokine and the young Frederick Ashton. She was also closely connected to some of the... Continue Reading →
The Oxford Centre for Life-Writing invites applications for the Tony Gray Visiting Scholarship, tenable for one year. Closing date: 28 July 2017 Start date: 9 October 2017 (or as soon as possible thereafter) The scholarship awards £500 expenses to the recipient, and a further £500 towards the organisation of an event. We are interested in... Continue Reading →
There's been so much interest in OCLW and DANSOX's event Dancing Lives, and here is another brilliant event about dance, happening in Sadler's Wells just a week before ours: Join the Society for Dance Research in a discussion on Alain Platel / les ballets C de la B’s nicht schlafen on Monday 3rd July with invited speakers... Continue Reading →
The lives of dancers are among the most elusive subjects for life-writing. Not only is the art form itself ephemeral, notoriously difficult to capture in notation and on film as an accurate record. Dancers are often reluctant to talk about themselves – “we are what we do” – is the familiar refrain. Historically, the life... Continue Reading →
Marie Taglioni’s overwhelming success in ballets such as La Sylphide triggered a cult of the ballerina which was to last for many decades, and which swept away the image of the acclaimed male dancers of the past. This paper for Dancing Lives accompanies Marie Taglioni on her way to celebrity from Stockholm over Vienna and Stuttgart to the Paris Opera, where she created... Continue Reading →
My paper for Dancing Lives 2017 considers the dancer/choreographer Kurt Jooss (1901-1979). He is probably best known for his iconic role as ‘Death’ in his 1932 dance drama The Green Table. During his exile from Nazi Germany, in England, between 1933 and 1949, Jooss embodied his complex life in both dancing and choreography. His dominating... Continue Reading →
by Clare Brant, Professor of Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture and Co-Director, Centre for Life-Writing Research. Cross-posted with permission from the Department of English at King’s College London. The Dear Diary exhibition is now open, until 7th July! Promotion got underway well before opening, with various radio features including Radio 2’s Jonathan Ross Show on 4th May, and... Continue Reading →
Global Lives and Local Perspectives was the second largest collaboration between two research clusters of Wolfson College: OCLW (Oxford Centre for Life Writing) and THSC (Tibetan and Himalayan Studies Centre). In 2012, Wolfson College hosted the conference Beyond Biographies: New Perspectives on Tibetan Life-Writing; convened by Professor Ulrike Roesler and held in collaboration with OCLW,... Continue Reading →
Cross-posted with permission from the Department of English at King's College London. ‘It’s in my diary’ is a phrase you still hear. The expression gives no clue as to whether the speaker uses a paper diary or an app, and not needing to make the distinction shows how old and new forms of diary co-exist... Continue Reading →
Clio Barnard is one of Britain's foremost directorial talents. She first gained critical acclaim for her film The Arbor (2010), which followed the life of West Yorkshire playwright Andrea Dunbar, and whose formal innovation mixed a documentary soundtrack with fictional reenactment, as actors lip-synched to the words of her interviewees. Barnard gained further acclaim when... Continue Reading →
In a letter to his father sent from Florence in September 1826, the 22-year-old Benjamin Disraeli proudly recounts his visit to Tasso’s prison cell in Ferrara, where he marvelled at Byron’s name – “here scratched with a great nail on the brick wall”. In his 1837 novel Venetia, Disraeli’s complex biofictional engagement with his Romantic... Continue Reading →
Spiritual autobiographies, such as those famously composed by Augustine, Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich, constitute the earliest forms of life writing...
‘If we are to have any hope of making a better world, we must understand it both scientifically and imaginatively.’
The Wolfson Life-Stories Day is back, and this year it will be accompanied by an exhibition: A Day in the Life of a College. Wolfson through its Objects. We are seeking members of College to contribute to either or both events. Please click here for more information.
Poetry as a means of self-expression has fascinated writers throughout the ages and cultures. Early cases in point are ancient authors such as Catullus and Ovid, whose Latin poems Carmina and Tristia treat questions of lives faced with controversy and exile.
CNR-TCRU Postgraduate Narrative Research Seminars, 2016 - 17 Organised by the Centre for Narrative Research (CNR), University of East London and the Thomas Coram Research Unit (TCRU), UCL Institute of Education Yuko Otake, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Northern Rwanda experienced wars between 1990 and 2000, including the civil war 1990-1994, the genocide against the Tutsi in... Continue Reading →
Saturday, 27 May 2017, 9:30am-5.30pm Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College, Linton Road, Oxford OX2 6UD A one-day colloquium convened by Oliver Cox & Sandra Mayer, and hosted by OCLW in collaboration with TORCH, will bring together academics, biographers and curators to explore the ways in which the life stories of well-known individuals are preserved and... Continue Reading →
This storytelling exhibition at University College London showcases powerful aerial maps created by citizens using kites, balloons, and point-and-shoot cameras. They explore how people around the world are harnessing the power of Do-It-Yourself techniques to address local environmental, social and political matters. Sitting around a proverbial campfire, they will tell four stories of unsung heroes in the U.S. and... Continue Reading →
Writing in a late 1870s ‘confession album’, a young Oscar Wilde answered the question ‘What is your aim in life?’ with a characteristically cocky ‘Success, fame or even notoriety’. Intriguingly, the term ‘confession album’ points towards the darker, more menacing undercurrents of a format often dismissed as idle celebrity gossip, and there is a ring... Continue Reading →
The annual Weinrebe Lectures in Life-Writing will take place over four weeks in the Leonard Wolfson Auditorium at Wolfson College beginning on Tuesday, 24 January 2017. The lectures are open to all, free of charge, with no reservation required. You can listen to podcasts of previous years' Weinrebe lectures here. Tuesday 24 January, 5:30-7pm, LWA Patrick... Continue Reading →
Please join us on Tuesday 17th January at 5:30pm, at the Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College. The second in a new series of OCLW events focusing on the intersections of life-writing and celebrity, this discussion panel is dedicated to the genre of the celebrity interview. Scholars and practitioners will cast a spotlight on one of the dominant forms... Continue Reading →
The 9th conference of the International Society of First World War Studies took place at the University of Oxford between 9th-11th November. The conference welcomed more than 80 academics from 11 different countries, who met at the Maison Française d’Oxford. Held at the midpoint of the First World War formal centenary period, this year’s... Continue Reading →
We invite papers that explore new approaches to the various forms of Tibetan life writing for a two-day workshop to be held at Wolfson College, University of Oxford, on May 12-13, 2017. The aim of this workshop is to examine Tibet’s rich tradition of biographical writing as documented in Tibetan narrative, poetic, legal and religious... Continue Reading →
Life Writing is calling for submissions to a special themed edition on Philosophy and Life Writing, to be guest edited by Christopher Cowley and D. L. Mahieu. Philosophers have long been interested in the nature of the self and in the meaning and narrative structure of human lives. Many philosophers have themselves written autobiographies. Descartes's... Continue Reading →
Abounding with buzzwords such as ‘myth’, ‘image’, ‘authenticity’, ‘public and private persona’, ‘iconicity’ and ‘cultural memory’, the links between celebrity and life-writing seem self-evident. There are, for one, the ambivalent motives underlying our fascination with both biography and celebrity, ranging from a desire for emulation and hero-worship to a hunger for gossip, revelation and social... Continue Reading →
Memory, as they say, is a funny thing. The last time I saw Leila, I cannot remember in any detail what we talked about, or what we watched on television after she returned, exhausted, from the chemo. I do remember the day she enjoyed me showing off her wigs though, and then I made her... Continue Reading →
In his President’s Column in the most recent Modern Language Association Newsletter (Fall 2016), K. Anthony Appiah tells the story of how a few years ago he decided to organize his books. A daunting task. A philosopher, he tried first to sort his philosophy books into metaphysics and epistemology on the one hand and political... Continue Reading →
As an undergraduate, I came to Oxford looking for a writing community. Oxford, I thought, was the land of literary Greats — Tolkein, Lewis, Eliot, Shelley, Johnson, Sontag. Almost 100 years ago, a young T.S. Eliot, who was studying at Merton College, wrote feverish letters to his friends, complaining about his experience at Oxford: ‘Oxford is very pretty,... Continue Reading →
Four years ago, quite against my better judgement, I began research on the life of American evangelical icon Elisabeth Elliot. I had a special needs son, a baby daughter, and a husband who was embarking on a rigorous professional program. I was two moves into a schedule of moving every six months to two years... Continue Reading →
I slipped this slim, unassuming little volume into my bag, planning to have a look during my daughter’s swimming lesson. I pulled it out – pleasantly solid and tactile, with crisp cream pages – while perched on the unyielding plastic of the pull-down seat in the stuffy, chlorine-scented spectator area. The cover is simple and... Continue Reading →