Hilary Term 2015 Events

OCLW is starting 2015 with a term full of exciting events, including the Weinrebe Lectures in Life-Writing!

Please find all details below.

All events are open to all, free of charge, with no reservation required, with the exception of the Life-Writing lunch at the end of term when you will need to book ahead.

Hope to see many of you there!


Oxford Centre for Life-Writing: Events: Hilary Term 2015



The Weinrebe Lectures in Life-Writing: ‘Political History and Life-Writing’

Tuesday 27 January (Week 2), 5.30pm, Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College:

Roy Foster, Carroll Professor of Irish History at Hertford College, Oxford, will speak on ‘The Making of Saints: Politics, Biography and Hagiography in Modern Irish History.’ Professor Foster is one of Britain’s most eminent historians; he is also a world-renowned biographer and an accomplished and prolific critic, reviewer, and broadcaster. His books include Charles Stewart Parnell: The Man and His Family (1976); Lord Randolph Churchill: A Political Life (1981); Modern Ireland 1600-1972 (1988); The Irish Story:  Telling Tales and Making It Up in Ireland (2001), which won the 2003 Christian Gauss Award for Literary Criticism; W.B. Yeats, A Life. I:  The Apprentice Mage 1865-1914 (1997), which won the 1998 James Tait Black Prize for biography, and Volume II: The Arch-Poet, 1915-1939 (2003); and Words Alone: Yeats and his Inheritances, derived from his Clark Lectures at the University of Cambridge.

Tuesday 3 February (Week 3), 5.30pm, Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College:

Peter Hennessy, Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield and Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History at Queen Mary, University of London, will give a lecture entitled ‘The Importance of Being Personal: Political History and Life’. Lord Hennessy is the country’s foremost historian of government, a regular contributor to the press, and the award-winning author of books including Never Again: Britain 1945-51 (1992); The Hidden Wiring: Unearthing the British Constitution (1995);Distilling the Frenzy: Writing the History of One’s Own Times (2012); Cabinets and the Bomb (2007); Having It So Good: Britain in the Fifties (2006); The Secret State: Whitehall and the Cold War (2002); and Establishment and Meritocracy(2014).

Tuesday 10 February (Week 4), 5.30pm, Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College:

Anne Deighton is a fellow of Wolfson College, and Professor of European International Politics in the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford. Professor Deighton will speak about her latest research project, a political biography of Ernest Bevin, who was British Foreign Secretary in the 1940s and a central figure in the creation of many of the international institutions which shape our world today. Her talk is called ‘The Value-Added of Political Life-Writing: Ernest Bevin (1881-1951)’. Professor Deighton is a renowned historian who has published important works on themes ranging from the contemporary history and political integration of Europe, European security institutions, the genesis of human rights issues, and the use, and abuse, of military force in the contemporary world.

Tuesday 17 February (Week 5), 5.30pm, Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College:

Margaret MacMillan will give a talk entitled ‘Sometimes It Matters Who is in Power.’ Professor MacMillan is a world-renowned historian and an eminent public intellectual. Her books include Women of the Raj: The Mothers, Wives, and Daughters of the British Empire in India (2007) and Peacemakers: The Paris Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to Make Peace (2009). The latter was published in North America as Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World, and won the Duff Cooper Prize, the Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction (the first woman to do so), the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History, the Silver Medal for the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Book Award, and the Governor-General’s prize for non-fiction in 2003. She is also the author of Nixon in China: The Week That Changed the World (entitled Nixon and Mao in the US) (2006), which was nominated in January 2007 for a Gelber Prize, awarded annually to the best book on international affairs published in English, and The Uses and Abuses of History (2008). Her most recent book is The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War (2013). Professor MacMillan comments frequently in the media on historical issues and current affairs.


Other Events

24 February, 5.30-7pm, Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College:

‘The Suspicions of Mrs Gaskell’: Award-winning biographer and critic Claire Harman, whose biography of Victorian novelist Charlotte Brontë is forthcoming in 2015, will speak about the composition and reception of the controversial first biography of the subject, published in 1857.

Tuesday 10 March (Week 8), 1-2pm, Haldane Room,

Life-Writing Lunch Seminar: Frances Larson. Anthropologist and writer Frances Larson will speak from her biographical work on Henry Wellcome (An Infinity of Things, 2009) a book published to critical acclaim and which was shortlisted for the MJA Awards and chosen as a Sunday Times Book of The Year and as a New Scientist Best Book of 2009. This event is free of charge and open to all: places are limited, and because we provide a sandwich lunch, you must register in advance. To register online, please follow the link on www.wolfson.ox.ac.uk/clusters/life-writing/events/lwlunch




OCLW events Hilary Term 2014

We have a great line up this term! OCLW is starting off the term with a special collaborative workshop on ‘Literary Letters’ from the eighteenth century to the present, followed by the Weinrebe Lecture series which occur in conjunction with our other events this term (see our post on the Weinrebe Lectures), and talks from our OCLW scholars, as well as Tom Couser, Paul Strohm, and a lunch seminar with James Hamilton (free, but registration required). Finally, take a look at the conferences we’re hosting in March and April!

Unless otherwise stated, all events are open to all, free of charge, with no reservation required.

Tuesday 28 January (Week 2), 5-7pm, Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College:

‘An OCLW Workshop on Literary Letters’. This event will focus on literary letters from the 18th century to the present day. Papers will explore aspects of genre, reciprocity, self-presentation, and the material culture of letters. Individual letter-writers to be considered include Samuel Johnson, Keats, Godwin, Wollstonecraft, Yeats, and Isaiah Berlin. Convened by Professor Pamela Clemit. Speakers include: John Barnard, Pamela Clemit, Grace Egan, Daniel Hitchens, Priyasha Mukhopadhyay, Mark Pottle, Henriette van der Blom, Maria Rita Drumond Viana. This event is free of charge and open to all. For information, please contact pamela.clemit@wolfson.ox.ac.uk

Wednesday 19 February (Week 5), 5.30-7pm, Haldane Room, Wolfson College:

‘Work-in-Progress Seminar’: OCLW’s Visiting Scholar, Dr Tracey Potts (Nottingham), and Visiting Doctoral Students, Jeffrey Gutierrez (Brown), Sophie Scott-Brown (ANU) and Maria Rita Drumond Viana (Sao Paolo), will discuss the research they are conducting whilst in residence at OCLW.

Tuesday 4 March (Week 7), 5.30-7pm, Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College:

Lecture: Tom Couser (Hofstra), ‘The Work of Memoir; or, Why Memoir Matters’. This lecture will be followed by a drinks reception in the LWA foyer, to which all are welcome.

Thursday 6 March (Week 7), 5.30-7pm, Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College:

Lecture: Paul Strohm (Columbia), ‘Was there Life-Writing in the Middle Ages?’

Tuesday 11 March (Week 8), 1-2pm, Haldane Room,

Life-Writing Lunch Seminar: James Hamilton, ‘Unrolling the tapestry – weaving inter-related lives in books and exhibitions’. This event is free of charge and open to all: places are limited, and because we provide a sandwich lunch, you must register in advance. To register online, please follow the link on www.wolfson.ox.ac.uk/clusters/life-writing/events/lwlunch

Hosted Events Taking Place at OCLW:

20-22 March 2014, Isaiah Berlin’s Enlightenment: a two-day interdisciplinary conference will be held at OCLW to examine Isaiah Berlin’s view of the Enlightenment and the presence of the Enlightenment in his work. For information, please contact Professor Ritchie Robertson, ritchie.robertson@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk

15-16 April 2014, The Sixteenth Oxford Dance Symposium: The Dancer in Celebrity Culture in the Long Eighteenth Century: Reputations, Images, Portraits. Building on the success of the 2009 symposium, ‘Dance and Image’, the 16th Oxford Dance Symposium, in association with the Oxford centre for Life-Writing at Wolfson College, takes as its subject dancer celebrity in all its forms. There will be a particular focus on dancers’ portraits, and also on the wider issues of patronage, practice and philosophy of dance during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. For more information, and to register, please visit www.wolfson.ox.ac.uk/clusters/life-writing/events/dance

The Weinrebe Lectures: Hilary Term 2014

The annual Weinrebe Lectures in Life-Writing will take place over four weeks in the Leonard Wolfson Auditorium at Wolfson College beginning on Tuesday, 4 February 2014.

The lectures are open to all, free of charge, with no reservation required.

The Weinrebe Lectures in Life-Writing: ‘Voicing the Self’

Tuesday 4 February (Week 3), 5.30pm, Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College:

Blake Morrison, ‘“The Worst Thing I Ever Did”: Confession and the Contemporary Memoir’

Thursday 13 February (Week 4), 5.30pm, Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College:

Edward St Aubyn in conversation with Hermione Lee
Please note that this lecture will take place on a Thursday, not a Tuesday.

Tuesday 18 February (Week 5), 5.30pm, Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College:

Richard Holmes, ‘The Biographer’s Other I’

Tuesday 25 February (Week 6), 5.30pm, Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College:

Marina Warner, ‘Hearing Voices, Travelling Back’

Events for Michaelmas term!

Oxford Centre for Life-Writing (OCLW):

Calendar of Events in Michaelmas Term 2013

Please see OCLW’s website (http://www.wolfson.ox.ac.uk/clusters/life-writing) for more information about the Centre and our forthcoming events. All events take place at the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing, Wolfson College, Oxford. Most events are free of charge and open to all. Some events require advance booking.

4 October 2013: ‘Navigating Networks: Women, Travel, and Female Communities’: a one-day conference at Wolfson College, convened by Hannah Sikstrom of the Travel Cultures Seminar. Booking required. Please contact travelculturesseminar@gmail.com or see http://travelcultures.weebly.com

22 Oct 2013, 5.30-7pm: Kathryn Hughes, ‘George Eliot’s Milk Churn’. Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College, Oxford. Free; open to all; no booking required.

24 Oct 2013, 5.30-7pm: Hermione Lee and Ray Monk (Southampton; author of Robert Oppenheimer: Inside the Centre) in conversation. Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College, Oxford. Free; open to all; no booking required.

29 Oct 2013, 5-7pm: ‘From Life-Writing to Death Notices: Obituary, Portraiture and Commemoration’. Seminar convened by Professor David Zeitlyn (Oxford), featuring Neil George (Producer of BBC Radio 4’s Last Word), Martin Rowson (cartoonist and writer), Laurence Goldman (editor of DNB), Shearer West (Professor of History of Art, Oxford), Harry de Quetteville (obituary editor, Daily Telegraph). Haldane Room, Wolfson College, Oxford. Free; open to all; no booking required. For more information, please contact david.zeitlyn@anthro.ox.ac.uk .

13 Nov 2013, 5.30-7pm: ‘War Veterans: Memory and Storytelling’. Seminar convened by Kate McLoughlin (Birkbeck) and Celeste-Marie Bernier (Nottingham). Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College, Oxford. Free; open to all; no booking required. For more information, please contact kate.mcloughlin@bbk.ac.uk.

19 Nov 2013, 5.30-7pm: lecture by David Amigoni (Keele): ‘Writing lives, inscribing familial distinction: inheritance, science and culture in life writings by the Darwins, the Huxleys, and the Batesons’. Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College, Oxford. Free; open to all; no booking required.

29 November 2013: ‘Intimate Archives: Photography and Life-Writing’: a one-day conference at Wolfson College, convened by Lee-Von Kim (Oxford) and Christine Fouirnaies (Oxford). Booking required. For more information, please contact intimatearchives@gmail.com

3 Dec 2013, 1-2pm: life-writing lunch with Marcus Ferrar. OCLW’s termly life-writing lunchtime seminar:  Haldane Room, Wolfson College. This event is free and open to all (and a sandwich lunch is provided), but you must book in advance, online, via our online booking site at the Oxford University Stores

Britten’s Life and Influences: Kind Ghosts

As part of the Britten in Oxford celebrations, Paul Kildea, Nicholas Cleobury and OCLW are hosting a Britten Study Weekend, entitled ‘Kind Ghosts: Britten’s Life and Influences’. Friday 5 July 2013, 6pm – Sunday 7 July, 2pm.
Please click here and here for more information.
Arguably one of Britain’s most important composers of the 20th century, Britten created a unique body of work that will be remembered and performed down the ages.  His desire was to make music accessible to as wide an audience as possible;  Britten in Oxford are fulfilling this wish with an exciting programme of concerts and events in celebration of the composer’s centenary. 
A highlight of the celebrations will be the Britten study weekend KIND GHOSTS: BRITTEN’S LIFE AND INFLUENCES at Wolfson College, 5-7 July.  Devised and presented by Paul Kildea and Nicholas Cleobury, the weekend will feature an impressive range of speakers including musicians, writers and academics who will offer close examination of Britten’s life, works and the poets who influenced him.  
Speakers include:
Professor Anne Deighton – Britten and the politics of war
John Fuller – Britten and the 1930s
Professor Hermione Lee – Serenade for Tenor Horn and Strings: the uses of language
Professor Frances Spalding – Britten and the Pipers
Professor Jon Stallworthy – Britten and Wilfred Owen
Sir John Tooley – Britten at the Royal Opera
Michael Berkeley CBE
Full details for the weekend can be found below and in the attachment.  Please contact kate.allen@britteninoxford.co.uk for further information or to register your interest.
Friday 5th July:  (start 6pm) Evening reception and opening presentation
Saturday 6th July:  Full day of presentations and discussion followed by a Gala Dinner with guest speaker Michael Berkeley CBE
Sunday 7th July:  Morning workshops, debates and farewell lunch (end 2pm)
Conference pass: £195 (includes all sessions and meals). Accommodation available via events@wolfson.ox.ac.uk / 01865 274 083 (£60 per night)
Booking form from http://www.britteninoxford.co.uk.   Further information from kate.allen@britteninoxford.co.uk / 07930 554 746

OCLW’s Trinity Term events calendar

We’ve got a lot going on, this summer term: two writing workshops, two evening seminars (one on how the state writes our lives; one on the importance of life-writing to Alzheimer’s research), one guest lecture (on Cézanne), and one life-writing lunchtime seminar. Phew! For those of you who sadly can’t attend the events in person, many will be recorded and podcasted, and uploaded to the Podcasts section of this blog, so keep an eye out. There will also be reports/reviews from each event uploaded to the Events Archive section of the blog, shortly after the event. If you follow us on Twitter (@OxLifeWriting), you’ll receive updates notifying you of the publication of new podcasts. But we’ll hopefully see you in person at one of our events in the near future!

  • Friday 3 May, 9.30am-5.30pm (Haldane Room): Workshop: ‘Narrating a Life: Memoir and Autobiography’. £80/£55.  This full-day immersion in the practice of memoir and autobiography will take place in the beautiful surroundings of Wolfson College, Oxford, and will be led by some of the leading practitioners in modern life-writing, including the poet, autobiographer and critic Carmen Bugan, OCLW’s director Hermione Lee, and OCLW’s research fellow Rachel Hewitt. Participants will benefit from talks and lectures by prestigious guest speakers, practical workshops and group activities, discussing their work with leading life-writers, and the opportunity to meet and befriend contemporaries who are working on the act of narrating their own lives, all in convivial surroundings. Please click here for more information, and for details of how to register. 
  • Tuesday 7 May, 5.30-7pm (Haldane Room): OCLW will host a seminar on ‘Cognitive Archaeology: Life-Writing and Alzheimer’s’, with Dr Peter Garrard and Dr Samrah Ahmed. The earliest stages of cognitive decline dementia are difficult to pinpoint, yet early detection is of significant importance to understanding Alzheimer’s disease and initiating suitable treatment. A number of authors have used retrospective analysis to describe preclinical linguistic decline in written texts and spoken language samples. This talk will review the methods available for classifying and comparing such samples, and present some analyses of historical texts derived from verbatim records of preclinical spoken activity, for example in the writings of celebrated English novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch (1922e1999), who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1997.
  • Monday 20 May, 5.30-7pm (Haldane Room): Alex Danchev will talk about his new book, Cézanne: A Life.
  • Tuesday 28 May, 7.30-9.30pm (Haldane Room): Workshop: ‘Publishing the Story’.Designed to assist biographers, this evening workshop offers practical advice regarding the final stage of biographical writing: publishing the story. This will be led by a number of publishing professionals, including an agent, an editor and an author with a range of first-hand publishing experience. The workshop is free of charge, but in order to attend, you MUST book a place in advance, by emailing Rachel Hewitt.
  • Tuesday 11 June, 1-2pm (Haldane Room): Life-Writing Lunch: Alison Light. The Life-Writing Lunch is a termly lunchtime seminar series, in which practising auto/biographers discuss their work-in-progress in an informal, friendly setting. Over a buffet sandwich lunch, speakers talk for around twenty-five minutes about methodological or research issues they are currently facing in their work. This is followed by enthusiastic discussion with and between audience members, generating ideas that may prove helpful to all concerned. The lunches take place each term in the Haldane Room, Wolfson College, on the Tuesday of the final week of each term, between 1pm and 2pm. A buffet sandwich lunch is provided, and all are welcome. There is no charge, but please RSVP with any dietary requirements to Rachel Hewitt by Thursday 6 June, if you wish to attend.

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