Newcastle Conference

‌VOICES AND BOOKS, 1500-1800

 people reading together

July 16th-18th 2015

Newcastle University and City Library, Newcastle

Organiser: Jennifer Richards, Newcastle University with Helen Stark, Newcastle University and Richard Wistreich (Royal College of Music)


Keynote Speakers

Heidi Brayman Hackel (University of California, Riverside)

Anne Karpf (London Metropolitan University)

Christopher Marsh (Queen’s University, Belfast) with The Carnival Band

Perry Mills, Director of Edward’s Boys (King Edward VI School, Stratford-upon-Avon)


Although it is often acknowledged that early modern books were routinely read aloud we know relatively little about this. Oral reading is not embedded as an assumption in existing scholarship. On the contrary, over the last two decades it is the studious and usually silent reader, pen in hand, who has been placed centre stage. This conference aims to: explore the kind of evidence and research methods that might help us to recover this lost history; think about how reading/singing aloud relates to other kinds of orality; recover the civic and/or social life of the performed book in early modern culture; and reflect on how the performance of the scripted word might inform our reading of early modern writing today.

  • The Voices and Books conference programme is now available as a PDF to download‌.
  • Registration for the conference is now open.
  • The Newcastle conference menu on July 17th (optional) is available here.
  • Information about booking accommodation is now available. Any queries about accomomodation can be directed to or by calling 0191 4405757.
  • The Conference is located at in the heart of the city of Newcastle, the Percy Building and Northern Stage on the Newcastle University Campus (Haymarket) and at City Library, Newcastle. See here for maps of the Newcastle University campus.
  • There will be a small number of travel bursaries for postgraduate and unsalaried early career researchers. If you are interested in applying for support please email Helen Stark. The deadline for applications is May 1st 2015.
  • If you have any queries please email us.
  • Further information on the Voices and Books 1500-1800 AHRC-funded Research Network will be published shortly.