Update on “Books and the Pacific” Symposium

Monday, November 7th, 2022 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on Update on “Books and the Pacific” Symposium

Thanks to everyone for your patience.  We.have been trialling a new software package, Zoom Events, that will facilitate participation by distance, but also enable recordings that will remain available to those registered until the end of the year.

The downside of Zoom Events is that the University is still refining its systems and so we have some limitations on what we can control.  A number of you will have received various emails; please mostly disregard them.  They are automatically generated, but we cannot go into the module that would permit us to turn them off.

The positive news is that we currently have more off-campus registrations than we’ve ever had, and we should have a lively audience both in-person and online.  The Events site also makes it easy to post the abstracts for each presentation, arranged by sessions, and you can see those online once you have registered.  Even if you are not going to attend through Zoom (and we much prefer to see people in person where possible), we still need you to register through Zoom Events ASAP, in order to finalise catering by this Wednesday, 9 Nov.  So please click here and complete the simple questions or we won’t have a name badge for you or enough cups of tea.

If you have any trouble with the link, or just do not use Zoom at all, you are welcome to email me stating your name, whether you will be attend in person and, if you will be present in person, indicating any dietary requirements.

We think the Symposium is coming together well and look forward to seeing many familiar faces and meeting lots of new people.

Two Events next Wednesday, 9 Nov., at Dunedin Public Libraries

Thursday, November 3rd, 2022 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on Two Events next Wednesday, 9 Nov., at Dunedin Public Libraries

First up is Reading Allowed at 5.30 pm by the Cube. This time you’ll hear extracts from two seaworthy books: Lorraine Johnston will be reading from The Old Man and the Sea, and Paul Tankard will be reading The Wizard of Earthsea.

No need to book. Tea and coffee available. https://www.dunedinlibraries.govt.nz/article?id=xFYgqnM

And for those who love a good old school story, Continued Sense of Wonder at 7pm on Floor 4 of the City Library is discussing books written for young people (but enjoyed by people of all ages) where school is part of the plot.

From Billy Bunter to The Compleet Molesworth, Hogwarts to St Clare’s. From sweet first days to boarding school nightmares.

Share a favourite or a new discovery, for this adult conversation about children’s books.

Please book for this event if you are planning to attend (this is a reminder if you Have already booked) https://www.dunedinlibraries.govt.nz/news-and-events/events-calendar#event=70080355;instance=20221109190000?popup=1 Tea, coffee and choc biscuits available.

Another Significant Loss to Book History in NZ

Sunday, October 16th, 2022 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on Another Significant Loss to Book History in NZ

Dr. Brian Opie and Jim Traue, former Chief Librarian of the Alexander Turnbull Library at the 28 June 2018 Friends of the Turnbull Library Founder Lecture given by Dr. Lydia Wevers.
(Photo by Mark Beatty. From https://natlib.govt.nz/blog/posts/dr-lydia-wevers-books-and-their-readers)

I am sad to report that Dr. Brian Opie of VUW passed away this week.  Brian was a pioneer in pushing for the study of NZ print culture, coordinating the first Marsden grant to support the field back in the late 1990s.  Brian’s own major contribution to the field focused on William Golder (1810–1876), who published The New Zealand Minstrelsy by subscription in 1852.  That volume was the first book of poetry printed and published in New Zealand.  Brian also served for many years as editor of the Turnbull Library Record and was very active in the leadership of the Friends of the Turnbull Library.

In 2005 he established Te Whãinga Aronui The Council for the Humanities to advocate for better government support for humanities research.  In the end, the Royal Society of NZ extended its membership to humanities scholars, though the fit has not necessarily been ideal, as Brian explained in a 2019 interview that appeared in Educational Philosophy and Theory, 51:13, 1283–92:

[I]t was readily agreed between HUMANZ and those managing RSNZ that there needed to be two organisations because the knowledge systems they represented were complementary, not simply elidable. However, once the elision was undertaken, it was not long before the glaring anomaly, the separate humanities panel [for research assessment], was dissolved in favour of a panel combining social sciences and humanities.  Getting the ‘creative’ into that structure has been problematic for a long time, and it’s been accomplished in part by the way the sciences have laid claim to the term themselves, consistent with the reigning value of innovation…. The day when poetry and novels can be advanced as evidence in an evidence-based policy discussion (now a vacated nineteenth-century conception) will be the day when the humanities and arts reassert their foundational significance for the knowledgable evolution of human(e) societies.

Book History and Humanities will mourn the loss of Brian’s committed advocacy, always conveyed in a soft voice from a warm-hearted scholar. Messages for the family can be sent C/- Lychgate Funerals, 306 Willis St, Aro Valley, Wellington.

Deferred World Book Day Lecture–Prof. Harry Ricketts on “The Book and Self”

Monday, October 10th, 2022 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on Deferred World Book Day Lecture–Prof. Harry Ricketts on “The Book and Self”

The Centre for the Book is delighted to be able to hold the 2022 World Book Day, belatedly, on Wednesday, 26 October at 5:30 pm in Biochemistry G13.  (Yes, we know it’s an unfamiliar room, but we’ve been told it’s nice and we have little choice because the Exam Office has booked just about every other space).

Our speaker is Prof. Harry Ricketts, talking on the topic of “The Book and Self.”  Prof. Ricketts is Emeritus Prof. of English and teaches in the Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington. He is a poet, essayist, literary biographer and editor, who has published around thirty books. He has recently completed a memoir and is currently writing an essay on Kipling and childhood trauma.  Formerly an influential editor at New Zealand Review of Books Pukapuka Aotearoa, Prof. Ricketts has thought a lot about the importance of books for ourselves, for Aotearoa, and for the world.  We hope you can join us for his talk as we celebrate the power of books.

Two Upcoming Dunedin Public Library Events

Thursday, October 6th, 2022 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on Two Upcoming Dunedin Public Library Events

What lurks in the DPL stacks?  You have a chance to find out this Saturday at 1 pm.  Book your Stack Trek now online: tinyurl.com/StackTrekDPL, or ring or email the Library on 474 3690 or library@dcc.govt.nz

And next Wednesday, 12 Oct, Paul Tankard and Lorraine Johnston offer another instalment of Reading Allowed, this week featuring Samuel Johnson’s Rasselas and James Joyce’s Ulysses at 5:30 on the ground floor of the main Library.

Enjoy great books, excellent company, and perhaps even learn something, or at least have a great time.

Some New Botanical and Scientific History Treats Online

Tuesday, October 4th, 2022 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on Some New Botanical and Scientific History Treats Online

Poppy (Papever Somniferum) from Arthur Pearson Luff, Text-book of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Volume 1, 1895

I thought some of those who attended last year’s CfB Symposium might be interested in a new online exhibition.  They’ve used a software package called Juncture that lets the text scroll alongside facing images of the subjects.  I had to use the down arrow keys for the first 1–2 items before I could see the scroll bar in the middle, but the result is very attractive and engaging.  The exhibition focuses on botanical publications in the London Middle Temple Library. : https://juncture-digital.org/middletemplelibrary/botany-at-middle-temple/   This exhibition was co-curated by Will Beharrell at the Linnean Society. It also features two videos: transcriptions of two manuscript pieces.

In addition, University College London just published an open access essay collection on publication of science by the Royal Society since its founding:
A History of Scientific Journals: Publishing at the Royal Society, 1665-2015 by Aileen Fyfe, Noah Moxham, Julie McDougall-Waters, and Camilla Mørk Røstvik. Download it free:

New Research Fellowship Opportunity in Perth

Friday, September 16th, 2022 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on New Research Fellowship Opportunity in Perth

Applications for the inaugural Dorothy W. Collin Fellowship in the History of the Book are now open.

The University of Western Australia (UWA) Library administers the Fellowship, which was established with a generous gift from Dr Dorothy Windus Collin and the late Dr Robert Collin. The Fellowship, worth $2,000 in 2022, supports the study of the English or European language holdings of the UWA Library’s Special Collections. The study shall treat an aspect of book history and should focus on the book or script as historical evidence.

Fellowship conditions, eligibility criteria and a link to the application form can be found on the UWA Library website.

A Sad Loss–Keith Maslen, ONZM, has passed away

Wednesday, August 31st, 2022 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on A Sad Loss–Keith Maslen, ONZM, has passed away

Friends of the Centre for the Book will be sad to learn that Dr. Keith Maslen passed away Monday night, peacefully, at Ross Home, after a few months with an inoperable cancer.

Founder of the Otakou Press as the Bibliography Room in the 1960s, Keith was a renowned historian of the printing of the Bowyers in London in the eighteenth century, as well as one of the three editors of Book and Print in NZ.  Keith has an entry in the Oxford Companion to the Book dedicated to his work.  He was a generous scholar who will be deeply missed.

The funeral will be held at Hope and Sons, Anderson Bay Rd., Dunedin on Saturday, 3 September at 2 pm.  The service will also be livestreamed; details at www.tributes.co.nz.

Unable to Attend Hannah August’s Lecture? Why not Livestream It?

Tuesday, August 16th, 2022 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on Unable to Attend Hannah August’s Lecture? Why not Livestream It?

I’m pleased to inform Centre for the Book fans that Hannah August’s lecture will be livestreamed tomorrow at https://echo360.net.au/section/42b45b74-23be-4dd6-a7a7-b51534bf7d04/public

Currently the section will appear empty/greyed out to viewers, but when the live stream starts tomorrow at 5.20pm a green play icon will appear.  The lecture begins at 5:30 pm.

A livestream does not, alas, provide for interactive feedback and questions, but will allow you to enjoy the occasion if your circumstances prevent you from being there in person.

A Special Edition of Catch-Up Book Club

Saturday, August 13th, 2022 | Shef Rogers | Comments Off on A Special Edition of Catch-Up Book Club

Curious to hear about the famously ‘difficult’ novel Ulysses by James Joyce? Intrigued as to why it was so controversial? Heard rumours of a connection to Aotearoa?

Join us for a hybrid online & in-person special edition of the Catch-Up Book Club* on James Joyce’s Ulysses, a celebration of the centenary of its 1922 publication. We will be screening the RTE documentary 100 Years of Ulysses and following that with short talks from Joyce scholars Chris Ackerley (Otago) and Marco Sonzogni (VUW), and some lively discussion. Bring your questions.

When: 6.00pm – 8.00pm, Tuesday 23 August 2022
Where: IN PERSON in the Burns 2 Lecture Theatre, University of Otago, or
ONLINE – https://otago.zoom.us/j/92891180760?pwd=N1RkZkRLUU1SNDVOOTRaaG1GRmVSUT09

Everyone is welcome to attend this free event, and no RSVP required. Mask wearing for in-person guests is strongly encouraged.

Co-presented by the University Book Shop, the English and Linguistics Programme, and University Library Special Collections, in association with the Irish Embassy of Aotearoa New Zealand.

* The Catch-Up Book Club, presented by the University Book Shop and the English & Linguistics programme at the University of Otago, is an informal group that meets to discuss classics you’ve heard about, have always meant to read, by writers you might be curious about, or perhaps you really liked the costumes in the BBC miniseries… this is your chance to finally read that classic! Or just to come along and decide whether you actually *will* read it…



Any views or opinion represented in this site belong solely to the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the University of Otago. Any view or opinion represented in the comments are personal and are those of the respective commentator/contributor to this site.


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