Welcome to the new blog of the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing! OCLW is a research centre based at Wolfson College at the University of Oxford, designed to support those who write auto/biography and those who undertake research on different forms of life narratives. The centre is directed by acclaimed biographer Hermione Lee (Virginia Woolf; Edith Wharton; Body Parts: Essays on Life-Writing), associate-directed by academic and writer Elleke Boehmer (Nelson Mandela; J.M. Coetzee in Context and Theory; Bloodlines); and administered by me, its research fellow, writer Rachel Hewitt (Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey), who will edit this blog.
OCLW was formally established in October 2010, with funding from the Dorset Foundation. Since its foundation, we’ve got off to a really exciting start, building up a busy schedule of events (including talks and lectures, ‘in conversations’, seminars, workshops, conferences and symposia, and concerts; most of which take place at Wolfson College, Oxford) and turning our thoughts to long-term research initiatives. We’ve been delighted at the enthusiastic attendance of these activities, and profoundly struck by the appetite that exists for serious discussion of issues concerning life-writing.
OCLW’s website provides a full, formal description of our activities, advisory committee, and membership; as well as details about study opportunities with OCLW. (Please email me if you’d like to be added to our e-mailing list). This blog hopes to offer a more informal forum through which many of the conversations that are begun at our events can continue; and which will enable interested parties who are unable to participate directly in our activities to take part in a different form, at a distance. We hope that articles and resources posted on this blog will extend the community of life-writers and life-writing researchers that OCLW has begun to build around us in Oxford, into the virtual landscape. I have also set up a Yahoo Groups page for OCLW, for those who prefer to converse online in a less public format (the group is restricted to members only).
As this blog is very much in its infancy, I’d be very grateful indeed if you could post any thoughts you might have about what you’d like to see on our blog. I’d also love to hear from any life-writing practitioners or researchers who would like to write for the blog! Please consider contributing the following:
- Reviews of books, events, or film, TV or radio programmes relating to life-writing
- Reviews and feedback on OCLW’s events
- Short pieces (up to 1000 words) about any issues (theoretical, historical, political, current) pertaining to life-writing
- News about current life-writing trends and experiments, in digital media or otherwise
- Information about forthcoming events anywhere in the world relating to life-writing
- Short reflections (up to 1000 words) on life-writing methodology; advice for other life-writers; queries about practical aspects of life-writing
- Short anecdotes (up to 300 words) about your life-writing experiences
- Short (200 words) descriptions of your own research interests, to be added to our Researchers/Writers List
- Information about upcoming funding opportunities for life-writers