The Book as Cure: Bibliotherapy and Literary Caregiving from the First World War to the Present
Friday 14 September

This one-day event, part of the annual programme of the History of Books and Reading (HOBAR) research collaboration at The Open University, explores in the centenary year of the war’s end the legacy of wartime bibliotherapy. It brings together early career researchers and advanced scholars with practitioners, policy makers, charities, and representatives from the culture and heritage industries to foster an interdisciplinary dialogue about the curative power of reading during and after the war. How is that curative power understood now? How was it understood in 1914? How has it been managed since in the voluntary sector and in institutions? In what ways does the legacy of First World War bibliotherapy remain active in contemporary policy-making in the charity sector, and in work with veterans and settled refugees?


Dickens Day 2018
Saturday 20 October

Dickens’s wider communities are equally eclectic. In prefaces and journalism, he makes appeals to his ‘community of readers’, a virtual community linked through his writings. He participated in other more tangible communities, as an author, journalist, social reformer, and actor in amateur dramatic performances. And he wrote of diverse forms of community: gangs, clubs, the parish, the nation, and religious, political and cultural societies.

Jointly run by Birkbeck, Cardiff University, the Dickens Fellowship and the Institute of English Studies, this one-day conference will explore all aspects of Dickens, Families and Communities.



‘Faithful to our task’: 175 Years of Macmillan Publishing
Monday 22 October

This one-day conference will present papers related to Macmillan Publishing, to celebrate their 175th anniversary year. Today’s global company, owned by the German Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, was started in 1843 with the opening of a small bookshop in London by brothers Daniel and Alexander Macmillan. Now, via a merger with Springer Science and Business Media and the Nature Group (Springer Nature), it is the largest academic publishing company in the world, while continuing to produce fiction and non-fiction titles under imprints such as Pan Books and Picador (via the Macmillan Publishing umbrella).



Women and the Book
Friday 26 October

In the year in which the University of London celebrates the 150th anniversary of women’s first access to University education in Britain with the intake of eight women at Queen Mary College, this symposium explores the interaction of women and books from the Middle Ages to the present, from the time that the book left the printing house: as collectors, owners, readers, and mediators, whether curatorial (librarians) or literary (adapting and translating for new audiences). It aims to enable connections across time and across types of engagement with the book, in discussion covering book, literary, and cultural history.