OCLW Podcast Archive

We record many of our events, which you can listen to as podcasts via the website or blog

The Oxford Centre for Life-Writing records many of its events, which you can listen to as podcasts via the website or blog. Please click on the links below to enjoy these recordings!

If an event does not appear in the list below, then the decision was made to not record or podcast this event, either because of sound quality or because of permissions. Please do not contact the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing to enquire after 'missing' podcasts.

Academic year 2017-18

Alexis Brown, Bárbara Gallego Larrarte, and Nanette O'Brien: Student panel - New directions in Life-Writing – 28 November 2017 

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Matt Bevis and Hugh Haughton: Lives and Letters – 21 November 2017

Andrew O'Hagen, Claire Squires, Brett Kahr and Hermione Lee: Ghostwriting and biography – 7 November 2017

Life-Writing and Celebrity Conference – 4 November 2017

Keynote: Patricia Duncker – The Women who 'Meant to Do It': George Eliot and Celebrity Performance

Panel 1: Women's Lives and Celebrity in the 18th Century (chair: Anna Senkiw)

  • Stella Tillyard - Celebrities and Heroines: Commercial Biography and Eighteenth-Century Women (podcast unavailable)
  • Ruth Scobie - Pre-Truth Media and the Female Imposter: The Case of 'Elizabeth Harriet Grieve'

Panel 2: Female Celebrity Performance across Media and Genres (chair: Sandra Mayer)

  • Mary Luckhurst - Staging Lives: Celebrity Actresses Playing Real-Life Celebrities
  • Oline Eaton - God Bless Jackie-The Only Thing that Can Make Us Forget the Bomb
  • Hannah Yelin - Celebrity Performativity and Cultural Value: Reading Grace Jones' I'll Never Write my Memoirs 

Alice Jolly: No-one lies like an eyewitness: uncovering truths in fact and fiction – 1 November 2017

Jim Cheshire: Tennyson, celebrity and portraiture – 25 October 2017  

Kathryn Hughes: Darwin's Beard - And other adventure in Victorian facial hair – 17 October 2017 

Weinrebe Lecture Series 2016

Elleke Boehmer: Nelson Mandela: A World Life - 31 January 2017

Academic year 2016-17

Dancing Lives Conference

Panel 1 - Historical Dancing:

  • Michael Burden: "Mademoiselle Mercandotti, Hughes Balls Hughes, and the (Scandalous) Uses of a Green Room"
  • Mike Webb and Jennifer Thorp: "Dancing All Night with Aphra Behn 
  • Jeffrey Boys's Almanack for 1667"
  • Julia Bührle: "Marie Taglioni: The First Female Superstar of Ballet" 

Plenary 1 - Jennifer Homans in conversation with Sue Jones on George Balanchine

Panel 2 - Inter/national Dancing Lives: 

  • Jane Pritchard: "Julia Seale, Missing Dancer"
  • Judith Mackrell: "Lydia Lopokova: A Twentieth-Century Life"
  • Michael Huxley: "Presence and Absence: Kurt Jooss"

Panel 3 - Dance and Biography:

  • Funmi Adewole: "Francis Nii Yartey: A Pioneer Practitioner-Researcher in African Dance"
  • Ramsay Burt: "Berto Pasuka: A Dancing Life of Colonialism and Diasporic Culture" 

Plenary 2 - Dame Monica Mason: "Travelling and Dancing"

The Lives of Houses, Colloquium Saturday, 27 May 2017

Daisy Hay: “Crenellations at Hughenden and a Nightmare in London: Writing Space in Mr and Mrs Disraeli and Dinner with Joseph Johnson” (podcast unavailable)

Roundtable Discussion: Presenting Lives of Houses, including Nino Strachey, Serena Dyer and Alexandra Harris

Panel 1: Writers’ Houses

  • Alexandra Harris: “Moving Home: Cowper, Clare and Woolf”
  • Frankie Kubicki: “Re-presenting Dickens: Interpreting Dickens in the 21st Century”
  • Nicola Watson: “Making Shakespeare’s New Place New”

Panel 2: Musicians’ and Architects’ Houses 

  • Gillian Darley: “A House for John Soane, a House for Julie”
  • Lucy Walker: "‘The Man Himself’: Finding Britten at The Red House”
  • James Grasby: “Edward Elgar: Curating a Life”

Clio Barnard: The Selfish Giant – 30 May 2017 – Interviewed by Alexis Brown

Simon Armitage and Bernard O’Donoghue: Poems of Life and Death – a reading – 15 May 2017 

Richard Holmes: Pursuer or Pursued: Reflections on Biography - 9 May 2017 

Baritone Roderick Williams: masterclass, interview and recital - 26 April 2017

Self/knowledge: Autobiography and Research - 25 February 2017

Rebecca Roach and Anneleen Masschelein: The Celebrity Interview: History, Aesthetics, Method – 17 January 2017

Hermione Lee, Rebecca Roach and Anneleen Masschelein: The Celebrity Interview Q & A – 17 January 2017

Celebiography: Celebrity and Life-Writing in Dialogue. One-day workshop convened by Sandra Mayer, in collaboration with the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing - 19 November 2016

ODNB Discussion panel: Constructing Lives - 29 November 2016

  • Alexander Masters (Author of A Life Discarded and Stuart: A Life Backwards)
  • Philip Carter (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)
  • Victoria Van Hyning (Oxford University) 

Gary Sheffield: The Chief: Douglas Haig and the British Army – 8 November 2016 

OCLW Visiting Scholars: The Truth in Fiction and Life-writing in China – 25 October 2016

Michèle Roberts and Caroline Isgar: The Secret Staircase: talk to launch an exhibition of artefacts from the Foundling Museum - 14 October 2016

Academic year 2015-16

Rachel Cooke: Her brilliant career: Putting women back in the picture – 24 May 2016

Ruth Scurr: John Aubrey: My own life, thoughts on biographical innovation - 10 May 2016

Karen Lamb: 'Thea Astley: Inventing Her Own Weather' - 26 April 2016

Karen Arrandale: ‘Edward J Dent – A serpentine life’ - 8 March 2016 

‘Writing war, writing lives’ - 8 March 2016. Chair: Lara Feigel, panellists: Santanu Das, Hope Wolf, Kate McLoughlin, Sue Vice and Victoria Stewart.

Weinrebe Lecture Series 2016

  1. Julian Barnes: 'Some of my best friends are biographers’ - 26 January 2016 [podcast unavailable]

  2. Marcus du Sautoy: 'The life of primes: the biography of a mathematical idea' - 2 February 2016. Accompanying Powerpoint slides.

  3. Adam Phillips: ‘Against Biography’ - 16 February 2016 

  4.  Alexandra Harris: 'Tempered lives: Weathers, seasons and biography’ - 22 February 2016

Ian Bostridge: ‘Schubert’s winter journey: an illustrated talk’ - 21 January 2016

Alexander Bubb and Elleke Boehmer: Meeting Without Knowing It: The Intertwined Lives of Rudyard Kipling and W.B. Yeats - 1 December 2015. Lecture podcast.  Question and answer session podcast.

Robert Fraser: Life-Writing Lunch, Biographising Poets: An Apology for Impertinence? - 24 November 2015

Zachary Leader: On Life-Writing: A Reception - 17 November 2015

Philip Bullock: Fame and Fortune: On Writing a New Life of Tchaikovsky - 10 November 2015

Silence in the Archives Conference - 7 November 2015  

Caroline Criado-Perez (in conversation with Rachel Hewitt): Do It Like a Woman - 20 October 2015

Academic year 2014-15

Joanna Kavenna: Time, memory and the self - 16 June 2015 

Victoria Van Hyning, Jo Gill, Erica McAlpine and Leo Mercer: Re-reading with Anne Sexton - 9 June 2015.   Original recording of Anne Sexton's reading at Goucher College in 1974.

President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga: European security and defence: a personal account from Latvia’s perspective - 29 May 2015

Disputed Lives workshop - 16 May 2015

Claire Harman: The Suspicions of Mrs Gaskell - 24 February 2015

Margaret MacMillan: The Weinrebe Lectures in Life-Writing: ‘Political History and Life-Writing’ - 17 February 2015

Anne Deighton: The Value-Added of Political Life-Writing: Ernest Bevin (1881-1951) - 10 February 2015

Peter Hennessy: The Importance of Being Personal: Political History and Life - 3 February 2015

Roy Foster: The Making of Saints: Politics, Biography and Hagiography in Modern Irish History - 27 January 2015

Michelle Kelly: J.M. Coetzee, Autobiography, and Confession - 2 December 2014

Lucy Hughes-Hallett: The Poet Who Doesn't Know: Gabriele d'Annunzio - 21 October 2014

Academic year 2013-14

Coetzee's Lives Seminar - 13 June 2014

The Lives of Objects Conference (OCLW's Inaugural Conference, 20-22 September 2013, Wolfson College

Hermione Lee, Opening Address, 20 September 2013


Neil Macgregor, ‘And One Thing in Its Time Plays Many Parts’, 20 September 2013

Edmund De Waal, ‘‘No Ideas But in Things’: Making, Remembering and Story-Telling’, 21 September 2013

Special Sessions:

Michael Burden (Oxford), ‘The Private (and Public) Life of an Opera Aria’, 20 September 2013

Hugh Haughton (York), ‘Letters as Objects: Letters and Objects’, 21 September 2013


Panel: Museums (I) – Chair: Susan Walker (Ashmolean); Elizabeth Crooke (Ulster), ‘Autobiography and Contested Histories in Museums', Kristen Treen, ‘‘Sorry Objects’ and ‘Sad Glass Cases’: Mourning the Lost Cause at the Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, VA’, 20 September 2013

Panel: Oddities – Chair: Rachel Hewitt (Oxford); Elizabeth Abel (Berkeley), ‘The Death of the Object’; Tracey Potts (Nottingham), ‘Gnomes Behaving Badly: Social Distinction and the Twisting of Taste’, 20 September 2013

Panel: Metaphor – Chair: Rick Hauser (International Institute for Mesopotamian Area Studies); Lucy Razzall (University of Cambridge), ‘Curious Statues so Cunningly Contrived': The Early Modern Afterlife of Plato's Silenus'; Steven Wingate (South Dakota State University), ‘Electronic Lives of Physical Objects: Weaving daddylabyrinth’, 20 September 2013

Panel: Archives – Chair: Laura Marcus; Daisy Hay (University of Exeter), 'Locks of Hair and Other Stories'; Pamela Clemit (Durham University), 'Objects of Value: The Afterlives of Letters'; Béatrice Mousli (University of Southern California), ''Into the Writing Zone': Writing Susan Sontag's Biography’, 21 September 2013

Panel: Photography – Chair: Alexi Baker; Becky Roach (University of Oxford), ‘‘Writers’ Rooms’: Auto/biography through Objects’; David Zeitlyn (University of Oxford), 'The Short, Uncertain Lives of Photographs in Cameroon'; Christine Fouirnaies (University of Oxford), 'The Life of a Family Album: Private Photographs in Literary Memoirs', 21 September 2013

Panel: Museums (II) – Chair: Seb Falk; Susan Faine, 'The Life Lived: Nina Zyk and the Detritus of a Life'; Deborah Smith (Kennesaw State University), 'Shapeshifter/Sensemaker: The Multiple Meanings of One Memento', 22 September 2013

Weinrebe Lectures in Life-Writing 

Weinrebe Lectures in Life-Writing 2014: 'Voicing the Self'

Weinrebe Lectures in Life-Writing 2013: 'Life-Writing and Portraiture'

Weinrebe Lectures in Life-Writing 2012: 'Fiction and Auto/Biography'

OCLW Lectures


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Our upcoming events

Clubs & Societies
16 - 16
Jan Jan
Amref Termy Meeting
Tuesday 16 January -
12:30pm to 1:30pm

The Wolfson AMREF Group is informal and friendly, and does not require a great commitment. If you are interested, then please come along to one of their meetings. Meetings are held at 1.30pm on Tuesday of Week 1 each term.

Lectures and Seminars
16 - 16
Jan Jan
What counts as evidence in the Social Sciences?
Tuesday 16 January -
5:30pm to 6:30pm

Professor Mark Casson (University of Reading) and Professor Marc Ventresca (Wolfson College, Oxford) Social scientists study phenomena in which people play a fundamental role: the economy, law, the internet, Brexit, and so on. People can generally do whatever they like, and so their behaviour is not governed by rules in the same way as the phenomena studied by physicists and chemists. Given this, what kinds of questions can social scientists answer, and how do they do it?

16 - 16
Jan Jan
Science Table Dinner
Tuesday 16 January -
6:30pm to 7:30pm

Put away your lab coat and safety specs and come to Wolfson for dinner to meet other Wolfson scientists.