Creative Arts Anthology launch party – TODAY!

party invite

To launch the 2015 edition of University of Reading Creative Arts Anthology, we are hosting a launch party on Monday 18th May, which will be a wonderful evening of readings from our talented contributors, wine drinking and socialising with like-minded people. You will also be able to purchase a copy of the long-awaited anthology. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity, and feel free to bring along friends and family!

The launch party will be held in Henley Business School, room G11, from 6-8pm.

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IRHS lecture

Prof Michael Ruse from Florida State University will be coming to give this year’s IRHS guest lecture on Tuesday 26th May (week 6) at 2pm in the Harborne Lecture Theatre. His title is ‘Is Evolution a Religion? A View From Literature’. Michael is one of the leading philosophers of evolution, and the author of many influential books on the subject, including Can a Darwinian Be a Christian? and Monad to Man: The Concept of Progress in Evolutionary Biology. He is currently writing a book on evolutionism as a quasi-religious position, drawing principally on literary sources, so his talk should be of real interest to us as literature scholars.

Michael Ruse publication

Please do join us if you can for what promises to be a stimulating and engaging talk – all welcome.

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Lucy Bending on the BBC

bbc radio 4

Lucy will be speaking on the R4 programme, ‘The Language of Pain’, this Saturday, 2nd May, at 8pm. She plans to talk about Fanny Burney’s account of her mastectomy, carried out before the invention of anaesthetics, and Alphonse Daudet’s metaphors of pain, among other things.

Not to be missed!


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Andrew Houwen on Ezra Pound

PhD student Andrew Houwen’s article, ‘Ezra Pound’s Early Cantos and His Translation of Takasago‘, has been nominated for the Ezra Pound Society Article Prize for 2014 along with three other contenders. It was published in the Review of English Studies in August 2014. The winner will be announced at the American Literature Association Conference in Boston next month.


Ezra Pound


In other news, Andrew’s  translations of the Dutch poet Esther Jansma, who read them with him at the 2013 Reading Poetry Festival, have been published simultaneously in Modern Poetry in Translation and in Shearsman.



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Celebrating teaching and learning

On the 17th March last term, RUSU held their Partnership in Teaching and Learning Showcase at which winners of the Teaching Excellence Awards were invited to speak. These teaching awards aim to recognise members of University of Reading staff who students believe had gone above and beyond their expectations, tirelessly working to improve the delivery of their teaching and learning experience.

We’re very pleased to be able to say that our own Karín Lesnik-Oberstein won the Outstanding Personal Tutor Award and that Maddi Davies was also nominated for the very same award.

We also had several Teaching Excellence award nominations for: Nicola Abram, Rebecca Bullard, Neil Cocks, Maddi Davies, John Holmes, Mary Morrissey and Sue Walsh, and Sue was also nominated for the Research Inspired Teaching award.

We would all like to thank our students for their kind and generous nominations, it means a great deal, to all of us, to receive such nominations and we are grateful to our students for the commitment, energy and eloquence that has made it such a pleasure to teach them. As Neil Cocks writes: “Teaching is always a collaborative process, and so we would like to thank all the students we have taught this year for helping to further each other’s understanding, as well as our own.”  


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Our student on Ethel Carnie Holdsworth and re-publication

Cariad Williams, 3rd year English Literature and European Literature and Culture student writes:

It was a pleasure to be involved in the process of re-publishing Ethel Carnie Holdsworth’s Helen of Four Gates, not least because the novel itself is an interesting and exciting romance which can easily be compared to Wuthering Heights in its story of doomed romance set in the lonely moors. The main pleasure I found came from the fact that Holdsworth is an important writer – as a turn of the century working-class woman, there are not many authors of her kind, and the project to republish and introduce her work to a modern audience is something in which I strongly believe. Keeping the text as close as possible to the original was what I found to be most exciting; it brought me closer to Holdsworth and it made me think of the impact of the publisher upon texts. How close was the edition I was working with (which was a first edition) to the text that Holdsworth herself produced? Above all, I hope that in republishing the text we are going some way to re-introduce this largely neglected author to a new generation of readers.

ethel1_from hbrown (1)

Kennedy and Boyd’s Ethel Carnie Holdsworth series:

For more on the recently rediscovered black and white film version:

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Archives and Texts Seminar

Professor Carolyn Steedman, University of Warwick, will give a paper entitled:

Text or Archive? The Diaries (1800-1815) of Joseph Woolley, Framework Knitter

Texts and Archives seminar


Monday 27th April

5.15-6.30pm, Special Collections,

Museum of English Rural Life (MERL)

All welcome!

Co-organisers: Dr Nicola Wilson (English Literature), Dr Alison Martin and Dr Sophie Heywood (Modern Languages and European Studies)

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Science in Culture module wins University Award

We are delighted to announce that the new third-year module on Science in Culture, run jointly by English Literature and the School of Biological Sciences, has won a University Collaborative Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning. John Holmes and Andrew Mangham in English launched this module this term with David Stack in History and Nick Battey, Keith Chappell and Steve Ansell in Biology. We have been teaching students from a wide range of disciplines, from English to Zoology, alongside one another in a mixed group. Our aim has been to bring together our very different approaches to understanding science and its place in culture, so that students and staff alike can learn how to combine literary, historical and scientific perspectives on topics such as evolution, monstrosity, genetic modification and scientific objectivity itself. We’ve been learning in the lab and museums, as well as the lecture theatre and seminar rooms, and reading scientific papers and controversies alongside novels, science fiction and poems. It has been a rich experience in itself, but also a really valuable experiment in interdisciplinary education, breaking down the barriers between what C. P. Snow called the ‘Two Cultures’, showing how science is embedded in culture, yet also how scientific and humanities approaches to knowledge can complement rather than undermining one another. It is great that the University has given its full backing to this experiment with this award, and we are looking forward to carrying it on next year with a new cohort of students.

Interdisciplinary Research into the Humanities and Science

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Ewan Page Prize awarded to Rachel Birt

The department would like to congratulate one of our students, Rachel Birt, on a well-deserved prize.


Rachel writes:

On Wednesday 18th March, I received an email out of the blue informing me that I had been selected to win the Ewan Page Prize, named after a previous Vice-Chancellor of the university. I was amazed as I couldn’t think what I had done to deserve the award, and reading through the email I discovered that it is an award given annually to three Part 1 students for receiving the highest entry A-level grades in their year. Having achieved A*AAA, I assumed that there must have been some students who achieved higher, as these were by no means the highest results at my sixth form, but I was extremely pleased nonetheless.

The Head of English Literature, Professor Peter Robinson, emailed me shortly after congratulating me, and arranged for a meeting so he could present me with my award – a book token worth £130! The idea is to enable me to purchase all of my Part 2 books (and possibly some Part 3 as well) without money being a concern, and I am very grateful for this generous prize. It was a privilege being awarded the Ewan Page Prize and I owe my grades to my excellent sixth form teachers, as I couldn’t have done it without them.

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CIRCL conference

At the forthcoming CIRCL conference in Seoul, Korea, on ‘Childhood and Gender’ Professor Karin Lesnik-Oberstein will give the keynote lecture and other CIRCL members, including Dr Sue Walsh, will be giving lectures. Past PhD students of CIRCL will be coming from Taiwan, Japan, and Greece to speak at the conference, as well as a close colleague from China. The whole conference was organised by our past MA alumna, Professor So Jin Park, who was appointed several years ago as the first specialist Professor of Children’s Literature in Korea at Sookmyung University in Seoul. The conference is being funded by the Asian Association of Women’s Studies (RIAW).


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