© Monsterkoi for Pixabay

FILM DISCUSSION: American Fiction, 23 April 2024

Please join colleagues and students from the Chairs of American Studies and Book Studies for a discussion of the Oscar-nominated film “American Fiction” (2023), based on Percival Everett’s 2001 novel “Erasure”.

Symposium: Publishing, Literature, and Responsibility

(University of Münster, September 26-27, 2024)

Considering the relationship between art, the artist, and society, Margaret Atwood stated in the early 2000s: “Let us suppose that the words the writer writes do not exist in some walled garden called ‘literature’, but actually get out there into the world, and have effects and consequences. Don’t we then have to begin talking ethics and responsibilities […]?” (2015, 87). Atwood’s questions take on a new significance at this point in the 21st century. Notions of literature and responsibility have become especially prominent due to social contexts such as the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements, a rising awareness of climate crisis, and the lack of inclusivity in both the publishing industry and the literature it produces.

‘Responsibility’ can manifest in literature and the publishing industry in a multitude of ways. For instance, Phillips argues that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a way for book publishers to distinguish themselves in an era of “open content and self-publishing,” noting: “a credible publisher assumes responsibility for, and believes in, its content and stands by its authors; this sets it apart from those who wish to be simply intermediaries in the distribution of content” (2019, 160). Author Lauren James specifies forms of editorial responsibility, contending that “publishers have a responsibility to their authors to make sure that books are edited to a professional standard.” As she stresses, today, this is “no longer just about legibility and plot structures,” but about representation and respect: “These days, having accurate and respectful diversity is a core and essential part of a novel” (James 2019). This shifting responsibility has already impacted the publishing process of various works. For instance, children’s publisher Puffin, justifying their decision to rework Roald Dahl titles in 2023, argued: “Children as young as five or six read Roald Dahl books and, often, they are the first stories they will read independently […] With that comes a significant responsibility as it might be the first time they are navigating written content without a parent, teacher or carer” (Bayley 2023).

Notions of responsibility are of course not limited to the content of cultural outputs. In the UK publishing industry, the Book & Publishing Industry EDI Forum released an industry statement regarding professional behaviour and values in the publishing workplace “particularly around online behaviour and mental health […] post BLM and #MeToo” (Wood 2023), and publishers such as Penguin Random House, Hachette and Harper Collins have launched diversity initiatives in recent years in an attempt to reach underrepresented authors and publishing staff (Carpenter 2018). The industry has also demonstrated creative responses to the climate crisis, such as Faber’s open call for works that “envisage a positive, sustainable new future for the planet at a time of extraordinary global change” for their Imagined Futures competition (Comerford 2021), while logistical approaches to lessen the industry’s environmental impact have accelerated in order to meet proposed net-zero targets in the near future (Bayley 2022).

This symposium, hosted in-person within the Book Studies department at the University of Münster, will explore the notion of “responsibility” in literature and publishing however this may be interpreted. Participants may wish to consider the ways in which responsibility manifests in publishing and literature, and how these notions affect the role and perceptions of the book in the 21st-century.

Other potential themes for consideration include (but are not limited to):

  • Reader Responsibility
  • Publishing and CSR
  • Literature and the Environment
  • Author Care
  • Responsibility in the Workplace
  • Responsibility and Literary Movements
  • Responsibility and Activism in Literature
  • Literature and Responsibility Prior to the 21st Century
  • Responsibility and Bookselling
  • Responsibility and Children’s Literature/Publishing



Please send a 250-word abstract for 20-minute papers and a 100-word bio to by April 2, 2024. Speakers will be informed of their participation in mid-April.

Costs and Logistics

We anticipate that the timeframe will be from around noon on September 26 and to the early afternoon on September 27.

We are currently exploring funding options. At this point, we anticipate that there will be a conference fee of 25 € to defray catering and other on-site costs.

Münster is easily reachable by train and the campus is downtown. The conference will take place in the English Department (Johannisstraße 12-20, 48143 Münster). Please note as you plan ahead that Münster tends to fill up quickly – it is popular with tourists. If you are looking for low-cost accommodation, we can recommend the Deutsche Jugendherberge ( and Sleep Station Münster ( Both are walkable from the conference venue.


Contact/conference organizer:

Dr. Chiara Bullen

University of Münster / WiRe Fellow

English Department / Book Studies

Johannisstraße 12-20

48143 Münster




Atwood, Margaret. 2015. On Writers and Writing. London: Virago Press.

Bayley, Sian. 2023. “Puffin Defends “Minimal” Changes Made to Roald Dahl’s Children’s Books.” The Bookseller,  22 February.

Sian Bayley. 2022. ‘Book Publishers Ramp up Activity to Hit Net Zero and Achieve Climate          Commitments’. The Bookseller, 23 September.

Carpenter, Caroline. 2018. “Hachette Team Reveals How the Publisher Is Changing the Story.” The Bookseller, 18 October.

Comerford, Ruth. 2021. ‘Faber Launches YA Sci-Fi Prize with Publishing Contracts for Winners’. The Bookseller, 5 November.

James, Lauren. 2019. “Sensitivity readers in traditional publishing.”

Phillips, Angus. 2019. “Publishing and Corporate Social Responsibility.” In The Oxford Handbook of Publishing, edited by Angus Phillips and Michael Bhaskar, 147-61. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wood, Heloise. 2023. “Publishing Bodies Update Behaviour Charter, Expanding Online and Mental Health Standards.” The Bookseller, 2 November.

  • GUEST TALK: Dr. Claire Parnell (University of Melbourne): “Platform Publishing and Cultural Inclusion in Digital Book Culture” (January 23, 2024)

    Dr. Claire Parnell will present ongoing work as a guest in the Postgraduate Class Book Studies. Guests are welcome. Please register via Indico.

  • MASTERCLASS: Dr. Melinda Harvey (Monash University): “Gender imbalance in the book industry – literary review culture in Australia” (28 November 2023)

    Dr. Melinda Harvey is offering students from the Postgraduate Class Book Studies a masterclass.

  • GUEST TALK: Emily Baulch (University of Queensland): “Between People and Books: Insights from Bookshelves” (24 October 2023)

    Emily Baulch presents ongoing PhD work as a guest in the Postgraduate Class Book Studies.

  • GUEST TALK: Dr. Stevie Marsden (Edinburgh Napier University): “Literary Prize Culture” (11 July 2023)

    Dr. Stevie Marsden presents ongoing work as a guest in the Postgraduate Class Book Studies.

  • Dr. Tim Sommer: Postwar Paper Fictions and the Rise of the Modern Literary Archive

    June 6, 2023

    4:15 pm

    ES 202

    Further information via Indico

  • Symposium: Big Books across Markets: From Bestsellers to Celebrity Authorship. May 16/17.

    Further information via Indico


    © CNR
  • Workshop: Jessica Pressman (San Diego State University): Bookishness. April 27/28,

    further information via Indico


    © J. P.
  • GUEST LECTURE / WORKSHOP: Kinohi Nishikawa (Princeton): “Black Paratext”, 12 January 2023

    12:00 – 4:00 pm, room ES 203

    On January 12, Kinohi Nishikawa (Princeton University) will come to Münster for a guest lecture and workshop based on his current research project “Black Paratext.” At noon, he will give a lecture titled “Blues for Black Childhood”. Following the lecture, Prof. Nishikawa will offer a workshop to discuss his research on paratextuality and African American Literature from the rise of the modern paperback in the 1940s to the contemporary book arts scene. He will be joined by respondents Ellen Barth, Cedric Essi, and Silvia Schultermandl. As a case study, participants of the workshop will explore various editions of Ishmael Reed’s novel Mumbo Jumbo, first published in 1972.

    The lecture and workshop are open to the public. If you wish to attend the workshop, please register in advance to get access to the suggested readings.

    Registration Link: Black Paratext


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  •  GUEST TALK: Xander Manshel (McGill), „Literary Prizes and the Contemporary Canon”, 19 January 2023

    GUEST TALK via Zoom as part of the seminar “American Institutions of Literature” (Dr. Starre). The Zoom meeting is open to the public.

    Please register here Registration

  • © E. Heinz

    19 December 2022: The Itinerant Poetry Library 


    This workshop is part of the seminars „Modernist ‚Little‘ Magazines in Britain and North America” and „Second-Wave Feminist Print Culture in the US and UK: Books as Action“.

  • 13 December 2022: Zine-making with Louisa Preston


    4:00-7:00 pm CET

    Registration: Zine Workshop

  • © AST

    7 December 2022: Lucy Ives Reading from Her New Novel Life is Everywhere

    Author Event

    4:00-6:00 pm CET via Zoom

    The American novelist, poet, and critic Lucy Ives will read from her new novel Life is Everywhere (Graywolf, 2022) and discuss her work with the MA seminar “American Institutions of Literature” (Dr. Starre).

    Read more about the author here: Lucy Ives

  • 21 November 2022: D-M Withers, "Virago Reprints and Modern Classics: The Timely Business of Feminist Publishing"


    2:15pm CET

    This talk will be presented as part of the seminar "Second-Wave Feminist Print Culture in the US and UK: Books as Action".

  • 18 November 2022: David Piovesan (Lyon), "Metamorphosis and strategy of bookshops – Preliminary findings from the European Bookshops Tour"


    11:30 am CET / 10:30 am GMT


  • 10 November 2022: Eraldo Souza dos Santos (Paris), "The global history of the publication and translation of Justice Abe Fortas's Concerning Dissent and Civil Disobedience (1968)"


    3:00 pm CET

  • © Susan Pickford

    6 July 2022: Susan Pickford, "The Factors Governing the Availability of Maghrebi Literature in English: A Case Study in the Sociology of Translation"


    6 July 2022, 12-2 p.m. (c.t.) 
    Online via zoom


    The presentation draws on a corpus of into-English translations of works by Maghrebi authors working in Arabic and French to study the channels by which they reach an English-language readership and the relative places of the two languages in the target literary and publishing polysystems. It examines the hurdles faced by Arabic-language writers in achieving international visibility, particularly the weakly structured nature of the source publishing sphere and the ethnographic frame that dominates their reception, and challenges chronologies of Arabic-to-English translation which foreground Naguib Mahfouz’s 1988 Nobel Prize win as a turning point. It demonstrates that the driving forces behind into-English translations of Maghrebi writers have rather been the enfranchisement of Maghrebi French writing in the French literary and publishing polysystems, particularly Tahar Ben Jelloun’s 1987 Prix Goncourt win, the rise of Francophone Studies within the Anglo-American academy, and the ethnographic frame that saw a cluster of «terrorism memoirs» translated in reaction to events in Algeria in the 1990s.

  • © Celina Fang

    25 May 2022: Sal Robinson, "The Reader's Report"


    25 May 2022, 6-8 p.m. (c.t.) 
    Online via zoom

    Sal Robinson will present her work on translator’s reader’s reports on May 25, 2022, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Although reader’s reports play a central role in the publishing process of literature, they are still greatly underexamined in academia. In her talk, Sal Robinson will examine how the translator’s reader’s report influences the publishing process of translated literature. Particularly focusing on mid-twentieth-century American publishing, she will examine the reports written by two translators, Michael Glenny and Norbert Guterman.

    This talk is part of the seminar “Transnational Marketing: Translations in the U.S. book industry” but is open to everyone. 

  • © ELE

    20 May 2022: Reading Young Adult (YA) Literature in the EFL Classroom and Beyond


    Symposium, 20 May 2022
    English Language Education & Book Studies
    Organizers: Frauke Matz & Corinna Norrick-Rühl

    Young Adult literature (YA) is a burgeoning genre in the book world, with committed publishers and dedicated imprints, its own place in bookstores and libraries as well as on #bookstagram, and with its own set of passionate readers and fans. YA literature is a focal point for discussions surrounding bibliodiversity and heterogeneity in and beyond the classroom. To acknowledge these trends in YA, and consider the opportunities for ELT through and with YA, we are merging our interests as researchers of English Language Education and Book Studies and coordinating this unique interdisciplinary symposium.

    Call for Papers



  • © CNR

    17 May 2022: "Culture v. Commerce in the UK Publishing Industry", hosted by Chiara Bullen/SFB 1385


    SFB 1385 Virtual Roundtable
    “Culture v. Commerce in the UK Publishing Industry” 
    Hosted by Chiara Bullen (research fellow with the SFB1385 sub-project A02 Literature and the Market

    17 May 2022, 11:30am–1pm

    Literature is often seen as something abstract and culturally 'valuable', operating far from the logic of law and the market. Brouillette and Doody note there is a 'historically shifting but nevertheless persistent division between art and commerce...which the literary has so often symbolized,' (2015). Greco, Rodriguez and Wharton observe that the publishing industry is both a 'cultural endeavour' and 'a creative enterprise', a 'double helix filled not with strands of DNA but with great books, great ideas and an outpouring of titles that engulf the channels of distribution,' (2006). However, the 'strands' of culture and commerce do not always exist harmoniously within the publishing field. 

    This virtual roundtable will feature three fifteen-minute presentations from Cat Mitchell (University of Derby), Dr Audrey Laing (Robert Gordon University) and Jasmin Kirkbride (University of East Anglia) highlighting the tensions within the UK publishing field that have arisen due to the conflict between commerce and culture in 21st-century book publishing. The presentations will be followed by a moderated discussion and Q&A. 

    Speaker Bios and Abstracts

  • 25 April 2022: Chiara Bullen (SFC Saltire Emerging Researcher), "The Moral Responsibilities of Publishers and Authors in the 21st Century"


    This talk is part of the series "Book Studies Talks" and has been organised in cooperation with the collaborative research center Law and Literature (DFG SFB1385 Recht und Literatur).

    Monday, 25 April 2022

    12 noon (s.t.), AE 11 (Aegidiistraße 5)

  • © pixabay

    1 February 2022: Miaïna Razakamanantsoa, "Translated Literature in the Global Book Market"


    This talk is part of the lecture series "Hotspots in Literary and Cultural Studies, Book Studies and Linguistics".

    Time: 6-8 pm (c.t.)

    Venue: Online via zoom. 

  • © public domain

    20 January 2022: Katie Taylor (Liverpool John Moores University), "Editing African American Childhood: W.E.B Du Bois and Jessie Fauset’s Children’s Magazines (1912-1921)"



    In the early twentieth century, a children’s literature that celebrated blackness didn’t exist. But in 1920 W.E.B Du Bois, the editor of the era’s leading African American magazine, and Jessie Fauset the literary editor of The Crisis established The Brownies’ Book a magazine specifically for African American children. This followed eight years of an annual Crisis ‘Children’s Number’ in which a celebration of African American childhood was launched alongside the NAACP magazine’s usual reporting, activism and organisational news. This lecture will consider Du Bois and Fauset as visionary editors (and writers) whose determination to counter the lack of literature written for Black children produced periodicals which portrayed nuanced visions of what an African American childhood was and could be. The Brownies’ Book in particular, through its engagement with the multiple challenges facing writers of African American children’s literature, notions of African American childhood, and the lives of actual African American children, prompts us to question the ongoing issues of racial representation in children’s literature today.

    Short bio:

    Katie Taylor is a third year PhD student in English Studies at Liverpool John Moores University. The working title of her thesis is "'No Place for Black Children': The Brownies' Book and Literature for the Black Child Citizen" and considers the dynamic portrayal of black childhood across the work of the magazine and its contributors such W.E.B Dubois, Jessie Fauset, Effie Lee Newsome and Langston Hughes. She also works as a sessional tutor in English and has developed and taught a course on The Brownies’ Book for The Brilliant Club.


  • © Ria Puskas/Unsplash

    14 December 2021: Dr Elisabeth Reichel (University of Osnabrück), "Unmaidenly Labor: Helen Wright’s Collection of Autographed Books, Literary Labor in the Modernist Book Market, and Edith Wharton"



    This talk is part of the lecture series "Hotspots in Literary and Cultural Studies, Book Studies and Linguistics" and has been organised in cooperation with the collaborative research center Law and Literature (DFG SFB1385 Recht und Literatur).


    Time: 6-8 pm (c.t.)

    Venue: Online via zoom.


  • © L. Preston

    30 November 2021: Dr Louisa Preston (WiRE Women in Research Fellow), "Artists’ Book Fairs in the UK"



    This talk is part of the lecture series "Hotspots in Literary and Cultural Studies, Book Studies and Linguistics".


    Time: 6-8 pm (c.t.)

    Venue: Online via zoom.


  • © Public Domain

    2 November 2021: Jessica Eickmann, "Margaret Hoby and Anne Clifford: Female Readers in Early Modern England"


    Jessica Eickmann, "Margaret Hoby and Anne Clifford: Female Readers in Early Modern England", 2 November 2021


    This talk is part of the lecture series "Hotspots in Literary and Cultural Studies, Book Studies and Linguistics".


    Time: 6-8 pm (c.t.)

    Venue: F4, Fürstenberghaus, Domplatz 20-22, 48143 Münster.


  • © Public Domain

    26 October 2021: Dr Evi Heinz, "What's in a Watermark? Ulysses, Casanova and the 'Lone Booklover'"


    Dr Evi Heinz, "What's in a Watermark? Ulysses, Casanova and the 'Lone Booklover'", 26 October 2021

    This talk is part of the lecture series "Hotspots in Literary and Cultural Studies, Book Studies and Linguistics".

    Time: 6-8 pm (c.t.)

    Venue: F4, Fürstenberghaus, Domplatz 20-22, 48143 Münster.


  • © Evi Heinz

    26-30 July 2021: "SHARP 2021: Moving Texts" Online Conference

    ONLINE CONFERENCE: “SHARP 2021: Moving Texts”, July 26-30, 2021 (via Zoom)

    Moving Texts: From Discovery to Delivery

    SHARP 2021 annual conference
    The University of Muenster as responsible organizer, in collaboration with the Law and Literature research group (DFG SFB 1385), and supported by SHARP

    As Sydney Shep writes in the Cambridge Companion to the History of the Book, “Books as transactions chart complex and often fluid networks between authors and readers, producers and consumers.” (2015, 53) The movement of texts within these networks is facilitated by a range of intermediary agents who shape the life cycle of a textual object from discovery to delivery. SHARP 2021, held as a virtual conference hosted by the University of Muenster, Germany, will be dedicated to sketching out the processes of textual movement, as well as the role of intermediaries in the life cycle of the book, here understood broadly to include literary agents, translators, editors, wholesalers and booksellers, used and rare book dealers, librarians and archivists.

    The conference, held in close collaboration with the collaborative research center for Law and Literature funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG SFB 1385 Recht und Literatur), will seek to emphasize the legal frameworks, informal norms, and business practices that enable, hinder or promote distribution of and access to books and texts.

    Conference program

    Core organizing committee

    Chandni Ananth, Münster
    Ellen Barth, Münster
    Matilda Dick, Münster
    Evi Heinz, Münster
    Corinna Norrick-Rühl, Münster (chair)
    Will Slauter, Paris, France
    and the SFB 1385 office, led by Julius Noack, Münster

  • © Public domain

    29 June 2021: Dr. Bret Johnson, "Pyrrhic Victories and Public Personas: The Modernists' Problem with Prizes"


    Bret Johnson, "Pyrrhic Victories and Public Personas: The Modernists' Problem with Prizes", 29 June 2021


    At the start of the twentieth century, literary prizes moved out of the cloisters of academic institutions and became a public spectacle that combined prestige, fame, money, and power with the literary world. Many Modernists were sceptical of literary awards: when Virginia Woolf won the Femina Vie Heureuse she referred to it as ‘the most insignificant and ridiculous of prizes’, while Ezra Pound condemned prizes as being ‘unsatisfactory’ for their failure to support less established authors. However, rather than outright reject prize culture, Modernists engaged with it at a distance – carefully managing their public image so as to retain an air of exclusivity and creating prizes of their own in a ‘counter-public sphere’. With a focus on the T.S. Eliot’s win of the The Dial Award for The Waste Land, this lecture will discuss the complex relationship Modernists had with literary prizes, and how they fashioned their public personas amongst the burgeoning prize culture of the early twentieth century.


    Bret Johnson received his PhD in 2021 from Loughborough University. After receiving a BA from Goldsmiths College, University of London (2012) and an MA from the University of Birmingham (2014) he won a fully-funded studentship to conduct research on the relationship between literary prizes, independent publishers, and Modernism in the public sphere. This considers how British prize culture has developed over the last century, and how this has influenced publishing and the perception of Modernism. He has had his work published in The Modernist Review and the New Statesman.

  • 11 May 2021: Ben Fried, "The Penguin Empire: Publishing, Editing, and Reading the Global Anglophone"


    Ben Fried (Cornell University): "The Penguin Empire: Publishing, Editing, and Reading the Global Anglophone", 11 May 2021


    This talk will tackle the worldwide expansion of Penguin Books, tracking the growth of its publishing empire through the second half of the twentieth century. How did Penguin gain and maintain its power? What have been the consequences of its commercial dominance, its shaping of texts and tastes, for writers and readers in English? Are individual authors and smaller publishers able to alter this institution, even as they are altered by it? I will discuss the Penguin Empire with particular reference to Penguin India and McPhee Gribble. The first, founded as a three-employee enterprise, has become the leading English-language publisher in South Asia; the second was a pioneering feminist press absorbed and discontinued by Penguin Australia. Each publisher’s greatest success, Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy (1993) and Helen Garner’s The Children’s Bach (1983), testifies to the conditions that created them. Together, they will speak to the uses of publishing history as a framework for the disputed discipline of the Global Anglophone, one that can explain both what is illuminating and what is distorting about it.


    Ben Fried is a PhD candidate at Cornell University, having previously studied at McGill and at Cambridge as a Gates Scholar. He studies the role of the editor in the rise of twentieth-century Anglophone literatures, analyzing the transnational networks of production and reception that give a material purchase to the burgeoning field of the Global Anglophone.

    This talk is made possible by our involvement in the collaborative research center Law and Literature (DFG SFB1385 Recht und Literatur).

  • 3 May 2021: Dr. Ian Gadd, "© Shakespeare"


    Ian Gadd (Bath Spa University): "© Shakespeare", 3 May 2021


    In February 1594, John Danter had his claim to the publishing rights to Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus approved by two of the officers of the London's Stationers' Company—and with this, the story of Shakespeare's copyright begins. This paper explores exactly what rights were being granted to Danter and those who followed him in securing the publishing rights to Shakespeare's other works, and how those rights fundamentally shaped Shakespeare's subsequent publishing history. By tracing the ownership of these rights from the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries through to the late eighteenth century, the paper will demonstrate how any history of the emergence of modern Anglo-American copyright needs to understand the changing commercial realities of the London book trade as much as the more well known legislative and legal landmarks.


    Dr. Ian Gadd is Professor of English Literature at Bath Spa University. Professor Gadd specialises in the literature and history of the sixteenth, seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. He considers himself to be both a bibliographer and book historian. He is particularly interested in the ways in which printed texts were produced and circulated, and the economics of the early modern English book trade as well as the critical editing of literary and non-literary works from that period. He is the General Editor of The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jonathan Swift and co-director of the initiative "Making Books: Creativity, Print Culture, and the Digital Research Centre". Professor Gadd was President of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) from 2013 to 2017.

    This talk is made possible by our involvement in the collaborative research center Law and Literature (DFG SFB1385 Recht und Literatur).

  • © S. Pyke

    26 January 2021: Dr. Sarah Pyke, "'Gay Books Will Burn': Operation Tiger, Gay's the Word bookshop and literary censorship in 1980s Britain"


    Sarah Pyke (London): "'Gay Books Will Burn': Operation Tiger, Gay's the Word bookshop and literary censorship in 1980s Britain", 26 January, 2021

    Noon to 2 pm.

    “Gay Books Will Burn” proclaimed a headline in London freesheet Capital Gay in June 1984, following the second of several raids by HM Customs and Excise on Gay’s the Word bookshop, Bloomsbury. These raids, known as “Operation Tiger”, saw thousands of pounds’ worth of stock seized, staff homes searched, and eight of the shop’s directors and its manager charged with importing indecent or obscene titles. They faced an Old Bailey trial, and possible imprisonment: the most high-profile obscenity case since that of Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1960. Yet Operation Tiger – and the sustained, and ultimately successful, campaign mounted to “Defend Gay’s the Word” in the face of this heavy-handed state intervention – remains a largely underexamined episode in queer history. In this talk, I place Operation Tiger in a longer history of literary censorship and queer book use, examining the relationship between the state, the (queer) consumer, and the British bookselling and publishing industries. As mistrust of and hostility towards LGBTQ+ people continues to manifest in anxieties about books and reading, I suggest that attention to Operation Tiger and its repercussions is overdue – and may usefully inform our current moment.


    Sarah Pyke received her PhD in early 2020 from the University of Roehampton. In 2019-20, she worked on the AHRC-funded Living Libraries project, collecting and curating an archive of oral histories from people who use, work in and run the UK's public libraries, which will be preserved by the British Library. She is currently Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London.

    This talk is made possible by our involvement in the collaborative research center Law and Literature (DFG SFB1385 Recht und Literatur).



  • Bookshelf
    © 200 Degrees / Pixabay

    3-4 November 2020: “Bookshelves in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic” Online Conference

    ONLINE CONFERENCE: “Bookshelves in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic”, November 3-4, 2020 (via Microsoft Teams)

    As we work from home and attend endless online meetings, our bookshelves are suddenly on public display. The speakers at this international conference will critically examine this particular cultural phenomenon, brought to public attention by the pandemic. This online-only conference is organized by the History of Books and Reading (HOBAR) research collaboration based in the Department of English & Creative Writing, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), The Open University and supported by SHARP (The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing), the world’s largest scholarly organization in this research field.

    We are delighted to report that our colleague Ellen Barth and our current students Chandni Ananth and Laura Ntoumanis will be presenting along with WWU alumna Natalia Tolstopyat.

    Organizers: Dr. Shafquat Towheed, Dr. Edmund King, Dr. Sally Blackburn-Daniels (Open University), Prof. Dr. Corinna Norrick-Ruehl (University of Muenster)

  • Rethinking banner
    © Spread the Word/Goldsmiths, London, UK

    8 October 2020: Dr. Anamik Saha, “(Re)Thinking Diversity in the Publishing Industry”

    VIRTUAL PUBLIC TALK AND Q&A: Dr. Anamik Saha, “(Re)Thinking Diversity in the Publishing Industry” (via zoom)

    This research project, conducted by Dr Anamik Saha and Dr Sandra van Lente at Goldsmiths, University of London, in cooperation with Spread the Word and The Bookseller, explores the obstacles that writers of colour face in UK trade publishing. It rethinks ‘diversity’ by shifting the debate from a sole focus on the quantity of minorities who work in publishing to the quality of the experience, particularly for writers of colour. The project’s aim was to examine the ways that writers of colour are published and to reflect the findings back to the industry to make visible where the structural problems are. The research entailed qualitative interviews with 113 professionals in the publishing industries (authors, agents, CEOs and managing directors, editors, designers, staff in marketing, PR and sales, as well as booksellers and literature festival organisers). We explored how writers of colour are affected by each of these stages of production, and developed recommendations and calls to action from our findings.

    Date: 8 October 2020
    Time: 10.30 am – noon

    This event is hosted by the Chair of Book Studies as part of our involvement in the SFB 1385 Law and Literature [de].