Biography Beyond Borders

Oxford, England
Friday, November 04, 2016
Biography Beyond Borders
Friday, November 04, 2016 6:00 PM -
Saturday, November 05, 2016 6:30 PM (GMT)

Wolfson College, Oxford University
Linton Road
Oxford, England OX2 6UD
United Kingdom

Map and Directions

In collaboration with the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing at Oxford, housed at Wolfson College and directed by Professor Dame Hermione Lee, Biography International Organization (BIO) is hosting Biography Beyond Borders, a colloquium on American and European biography. The colloquium is 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 5.

With the aim of promoting conversations about similarities and differences and exploring the question of whether we can push the boundaries of biography, we have arranged four roundtable discussions:

Writing About Little-Known Subjects
Writing About Well-Known Subjects
History and Biography (two sessions)

Our lunchtime keynote speaker will be the 2014 BIO Plutarch Award Best Biography winner, Hermione Lee. Panelists include Hermione Lee. Panelists include James Atlas, Rebecca Fraser, Robert Lacey, Harriet Reisen, Will Swift, and Sonja D. Williams. See a complete list of panelists here.The colloquium will conclude with a reception at Wolfson College. For a complete schedule of the day's events, go here.

Accommodation in Oxford can be arranged at the Best Western Linton Lodge (see below.) 

Prior to the colloquium, on Friday afternoon, November 4, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., distinguished American biographer Carla Kaplan will deliver a lecture at the Centre for Life-Writing Research at King’s College, London, directed by Professor Max Saunders. (The centre is located on the Strand.) Kaplan's lecture is titled "'Something to Offend Everyone': The Muckraking Life of Jessica Mitford." Kaplan is a professor of English and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Northeastern University, holds the Davis Distinguished Professorship in American Literature and writes on modern, African-American, and women’s history and culture. Her forthcoming books include Queen of the Muckrakers: the Life of Jessica Mitford, with HarperCollins, and a Norton Critical Edition of Nella Larsen’s Passing. Kaplan founded the Northeastern Humanities Center and has been a resident fellow at numerous humanities centers and institutes. A reception will follow her talk.

The conference fee of $100 includes lunch and reception at Wolfson College, Oxford, on Saturday and a reception at King’s College, London, on Friday.

For information about travel between London and Oxford, go to:

A fast and efficient bus service with convenient pick-up stops in London. In Oxford, the bus stops close to most of the colleges.

A useful source for train schedules between Paddington and Oxford. You might need a short taxi ride to get to Wolfson College.

The registration deadline for Biography Beyond Borders is October 15, 2016.

Optional Event

For those who are interested, a BIO group will be spending Thursday night, November 3, at a Victorian bed and breakfast in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, run by Harold Brown, a former staff member in the Royal household. Harold will offer a guided trip to Bateman's, the Jacobean home of Rudyard Kipling, which houses his collection and memorabilia, and to Scotney Castle. This romantic ruined castle with a moat is overlooked by a Victorian country house built by the famous nineteenth-century architect Anthony Salvin.
The cost is $145 for the night (includes formal tea and breakfast) and $45 for the special dinner. For guests who want to share a room, it is $90 for the night. To reserve your space, email Will Swift.


Accommodations at the Best Western Linton Lodge are available at $125 to $150 per night. For reservations or more information, contact the hotel's website.


Contact Information

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