Skip to Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map

Centre for the Book
Events and Opportunities related to Books at the University of Otago

Richard Overell on The John Emmerson Collection

Photo by Teagan Glenane

Join us on Wednesday 26 April at 5:30 in Archway 2 for an engaging illustrated public lecture on

The John Emmerson Collection at the State Library of Victoria

Nicolas Barker, editor of The Book Collector, described the late John Emmerson as ‘one of the great book collectors of our time’. In 2015, the John Emmerson collection, comprising over 5,000 books and pamphlets on 17th-century English literature and history, was donated to the State Library of Victoria. This session will look at some of the highlights from the Emmerson Collection.

Richard Overell was until the end of 2014 the Rare Books Librarian at Monash University Library. He now works at State Library Victoria helping to catalogue the John Emmerson Collection.

Bioethics Seminar on Anatomy Books

Dr Katherine H. Hall, Senior Lecturer, Department of General Practice and Rural Health, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, will speak on

Images of Anatomy:
Reflections on a Mirror

Monday 13th March 2017 1:00-2:00 pm, Bioethics Seminar Room, Level one, 71 Frederick Street (entry on Frederick Street)

Anatomical atlases have been used for centuries; they used to be called a catoptrum microcosmicum – a mirror into a small world. Three anatomical atlases separated by 400 years will be presented, arguing each reflects not only the times and culture in which they were produced but also the values that the then contemporary medical culture wishes the student to uphold. This acquisition of values endorsed by medicine and the acculturalisation of students can be unconscious and ‘invisible’ to both. Consequences for the ethics of the teaching and learning of contemporary anatomy will be discussed.

World Book Day Dinner this Coming Thursday

Our annual lecture and dinner for World Book Day will take place on Thursday, 2 March at 5:30, followed by a buffet dinner at the Staff Club.  Our speaker this year is David Eggleton, well-known reviewer and poet, speaking on “Landfall Days.”  The lecture will be held in Archway 2.  The dinner will follow immediately afterward with a cash bar and buffet.  The dinner costs $45 and payments by cash or cheque should be given to Donald Kerr in Special Collections.

Thanks to all who have already expressed an interest in the dinner.  It is always a fun occasion and we look forward to the usual raffles and scintillating conversation.

Back Beach Poetry Trail Opening this Sunday–All Invited

The Back Beach Writers Group would like to invite you to
the opening of the BACK BEACH POETRY TRAIL, this Sunday, 26 February at 2.30 pm at the Yacht Club, Port Chalmers.

This event would not have been possible without our sponsors and supporters

Creative New Zealand via Dunedin City Council
Port Chalmers and District Lions Club
Bendigo Valley Sports Foundation
Otago Polytechnic
Architecture Van Brandenburg
West Harbour community Board
John Holmes Frayed Frisket Press

Port Otago and Dunedin City Council for Site Permission
Ngāi Tahu for supporting the idea of the Project

Rare Book School Speaker to Give Foxcroft Lecture

Latin MSFor those lucky enough to be in Melbourne or unlucky enough not to be able to hear her speak in Dunedin, you will have a chance to hear Rosamond McKitterick on “Roman Authority in Early Medieval Europe” when she delivers the Foxcroft lecture on Tuesday, 7 February at 6 pm at the State Library of Victoria.

Cambridge scholar Rosamond McKitterick will examine the role books played in creating a cultural link between ancient Rome and its medieval inheritors.  She is Professor Emerita of Medieval History at the University of Cambridge, formerly Director of Research in the Faculty of History, a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College and, since 2011, Chair of the Faculty of Archaeology, History and Letters of the British School at Rome.

And for those of us who are in Dunedin, we hope you can join us as Prof. McKitterick kicks off the Centre’s 2017 public lectures at 5:30 on Wednesday, 1 February in Archway 2.  Her talk has also been notified to the University of Otago Classics Association and will be a highlight of the 2017 Rare Book School week.

End of Year Wishes

for blogJust a quick post to say thank you to all our loyal Centre for the Book supporters.  2016 has been a bit of a distracted year for both co-directors, but we are eagerly planning activities for 2017, starting with a public lecture on Wednesday 1 February by Professor Rosamond McKitterick of Cambridge University on “The Authority of Rome in the Manuscripts of Early Medieval Europe.”  We’ll also have the annual World Book Day lecture and dinner on Thursday 2 March, and our usual symposium later in the year, on the theme of “Books and Users.”  That event is likely to dovetail with a City of Literature UNESCO-sponsored symposium, so stay tuned.  In the meantime, enjoy John Grisham’s “10 Reasons for Giving Books as Gifts.”  We wish you all a very festive and relaxing holiday season, with plenty of time to read and talk about books.

Mental Sustenance

brocMany thanks to Jackie McMillan for her report on last month’s symposium.  Her report, entitled “On Getting Fed for Free,” appeared in Library Life.  You can download a PDF here, or read the entire issue online at

Symposium Makes the News

Rosi Crane, Lucy Sussex and Katherine Milburn (2nd row) enjoy the presentation.

Rosi Crane, Lucy Sussex and Katherine Milburn (2nd row) enjoy the presentation.

Last Friday’s gathering on “Book and Place” made Saturday’s ODT, along with a nice shot of the venue and participants.  Thanks to everyone who spoke, especially our two keynotes, Neville Peat and Ingrid Horrocks, and thanks to all who attended and made up such an attentive and engaged audience.  We look forward to announcing the 2017 World Book Day and research symposium themes before the end of the year, and full details about public lectures during Rare Book School on Sunday 29 January and Wednesday 1 February.  So be sure to sign up for our RSS feed or check back often.

Guest Talk by Ilan Stavans for the Centre for the Book

ghostThe Centre for the Book is delighted that Prof. Stavans, visiting Dunedin to deliver the Dalziel lecture, will also be able to spend some time with us.  He has agreed to talk about how Cervantes’ masterpiece, Don Quixote, went from a relatively unknown novel to one of the literary masterpieces of the world.  Join us from 5 pm for drinks and nibbles and his presentation next Tuesday, 11 October, in the Staff Room of the Central Library.  Talk will start at 5:30.

‘St Christopher’ on St. Thomas à Becket

Screen Shot 2016-10-04 at 9.43.31 AMThe Centre for the Book is delighted to congratulate Dunedin’s own Christopher de Hamel for his recent identification of one of the Parker MSS as almost certainly originally part of Thomas of Becket’s shrine at Canterbury Cathedral.  You can share Christopher’s enthusiasm in making the connections in this story from the Guardian.  Well done, and a true treasure for all book lovers.

And if you’d like to read more about Christopher, see this feature from the Economist about his most recent book.