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Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Proper Book Launch for Shoults–Thursday 8 June, 5:30 pm at UBS

The Centre for the Book is thrilled to be able to launch Donald Kerr’s study of William Arderne Shoults, book collector and source of many of the earlier books in the University of Otago Special Collections.  The UBS has graciously agreed to host the event and Donald has sourced a limited number of copies that eager readers will be able to purchase.

We hope you can join us to hear from Dr. Tony Fitchett about Shoults himself, followed by a few comments from Donald on this beautiful book.

5:30 pm, Thursday 8 June, at UBS, Great King St., Dunedin.
Please rsvp to by Monday 5 June for catering purposes.

NZ’s First Folio to be Feted at 10:30 am on Sunday, 23 April

Map of locations of copies of the First Folio

Brighten your weekend with this global opportunity to celebrate one of the more important books in New Zealand, the 1623 folio collection Shakespeare’s plays.  The Auckland Public Libraries’ copy is the one farthest away in the world from it’s point of origin, but this event provides a chance to see where all the others are as well and to learn more the copy here.

Here are links  to the global First Folio celebrations with some delightfully presented information about the publication, it’s history and where copies are now held.

This page – shows where and when you can see an original copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio ranked in their distance from William Jaggard’s Print House. Ours is furthest away at 11,386 miles.  This page – has a beautiful map showing where copies of the First Folio are in the world.

Here is the link to the event on World First Folio Day –10:30am on 23 April.  Registration is free and will ensure you receive the Zoom link for the talks.

  • Auckland Libraries’ book conservator David Ashman will give an illustrated overview of what’s involved in conserving and digitising a 400 year-old treasure of English literature.
  • Dr. Sophie Tomlinson will talk about the University of Auckland Summer Shakespeare productions in the 1960s and 70s.
  • Michael Hurst will mark the official launch of the First Folio on Kura Heritage Images Online with a reading.
  • Robert Eruera will read from Ngā waiata aroha a Hekepia, Shakespearean sonnets translated into te reo Māori by Merimeri Penfold.

The Auckland First Folio will be on display, and visitors can also explore the online version.

Centre for the Book 2023 Symposium Call for Papers, 1 September deadline

Dall-E image depicting conference theme

Each year, the Centre for the Book at the University of Otago organises a symposium with a theme designed to engage with ideas about the roles that books and print have played in shaping identity, indicating what’s important, explain how to do (and not to do) things.

The theme for the 2023 Centre of the Book Research Symposium is ‘Books and Resistance’.  We often discuss books as repositories or shapers of culture, most often considering the ways such print is revered, studied or transmitted, without so often pausing to think about all the ways that print, frequently in more ephemeral forms, also objects, resists or reframes our perspectives.  This year’s symposium offers an opportunity to reflect on how texts create, embody, celebrate, or challenge aspects of cultures that may otherwise be marginalised or silent, deviant or devout, brilliantly (but dauntingly) original or factually false that all find greater voice through print.  Resistance takes many forms, from graffiti to public manifestos and from handbills to social media posts.  The presentations in this symposium will discuss a variety of genres from different periods, some attending to distribution, some to subversive modes of production, some to resistant readers.  Why does print both enable resistance and provoke resistance?  Are some forms of print better suited to resistance?  Can choosing not to engage with print be a form of resistance?  These and no doubt other questions will be the focus of the 2023 Centre for the Book Symposium.

We hope you have something you wish to contribute to this topic, and that you will plan to join us for the public lecture on Thursday evening and the day of presentations on Friday, 16–17 November 2023

In line with this brief context, abstracts are welcome that examine any aspect of how books, newspapers, and the written word in all its forms enact, depict, obstruct or otherwise engage with resistance.

Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • The inertia of physical books as a form of resistance
  • The ability of books to include or exclude voices of groups, individuals or nations
  • Radical publishing, whether on the left, right, or in areas otherwise marginal to the prevailing norms
  • Print permissions and censorship
  • Small publishers: acts of resistance, obstacles they face, survival as a form of resistance
  • Print and environmental issues
  • Print and Indigeneity
  • Print design to effect change
  • Print design that elicits unexpected resistance
  • Print and AI
  • Print and protest

Please submit abstracts of 250–300 words to the Centre for the Book ( by 1 September.  Feel free to contact either of the organisers, Shef Rogers ( or Donald Kerr (, if you have any questions.  We aim to send out notifications about acceptances and a draft programme by mid-September.  Online participation and attendance may be possible; precise format to be confirmed in July.  Whether online or in person, registration will be free.

Centre’s Co-Director on his Latest Research

For those who might have missed this week’s Sunday Morning interview on Radio NZ, here’s a link to Donald Kerr discussing his current research on Ernie Webber.  We look forward to full story in print in due course.

Another Sad Loss to the Dunedin Book World

Most of us will have learned of the death of Mary Ronnie via Radio NZ this weekend. Mary was always a gracious and lively figure at events, full of wise insights delivered with no-nonsense clarity. A pioneering figure for women, a tireless champion for books and an avid library historian, Mary will be deeply missed by many of us and many others around Dunedin and throughout New Zealand.

Book Conservator Talk, Tuesday 21 March, 12:10 pm, Otago Museum

Join the Otago Museum for another fascinating Friends in Focus talk at Otago Museum. Join Rosemary Coppell, Tūhura Otago Museum Conservator talking about what makes old books intrinsically valuable, what books can tell us about their previous owners, their historical use and importantly, how to care for your own collection.

Rosemary holds an MA in Conservation from Camberwell College, London. She has worked in conservation, collection care, and exhibitions in multiple private, regional, and national institutes in the UK and Ireland. Rosemary worked as both a private conservator and in collection care at the National Archives in Wellington before her current post as Conservator at Tūhura Otago Museum.

12.10pm, Tuesday 21 March
Barclay Theatre, Otago Museum

Otago Museum Talk, 19 March, 11 AM

Come along to learn about the roots of English literature from University of Otago’s Professor Simone Celine Marshall. Discover “How Arthurian legend, Beowulf, and Geoffrey Chaucer helped shape all stories that came in their wake.”  Bring a friend; it’s a free event. 11am -12pm on Saturday 19 March at the Barclay Theatre, Otago Museum.

Professor Marshall’s talk is part of a full day of events about the medieval world, and includes a paid workshop with Prof. Marshall on quill making and calligraphy, along with many other fun activities listed below.

Leaflet listing the activities of medieval day

Reading Allowed–next Wednesday, 8 March, 5:30 pm

Dunedin Public Libraries is continuing in 2023 to host Dr. Paul Tankard and Lorraine Johnston at Reading Allowed, where they each read aloud an excerpt from a work of classic or modern literature. It’s a relaxed and fun introduction to a wide range of works of literature.

Our next event is NEXT Wednesday, March 8, at 5.30pm by The Cube on the Ground Floor of the City Library.

No lecture — no fee — no gimmicks — no homework! Just come, sit, and relax.

The excerpts in March are from Spike Milligan’s Puckoon, and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar – both 60 years published.

Not in Dunedin? Join us on Zoom!

Zoom logoI’m very pleased to announce that Megan Hutching’s talk will be available by Zoom. See the link below. While we’d love to see you in person, we understand if that’s not possible and look forward to welcoming you digitally. I cannot promise that our ability to interact with questions at the end will be absolutely seamless, but we’ll do our best.

Join from PC, Mac, iOS or Android:
Meeting ID: 979 3300 8826
    Password: 205207

Deadline for dinner reservations

Text reading “Do It Now”If you wish to attend the World Book Day Dinner following Megan Hutching’s talk on Thurs 2 March, you must let us know no later than this Wednesday morning (23 Feb) by 9 AM, so that we can tell Ombrello’s. Details of the cost and menu are in the previous blog entry. We do hope you will be able to join us.


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