The Oxford Centre for Life-Writing (OCLW) at Wolfson College was founded in 2011 by the then President of Wolfson College, the biographer Dame Hermione Lee. In that time we have gained a local, national and international reputation as a unique hub of activities relating to many kinds of life-writing and as a significant, interdisciplinary cultural presence. Oxford is an international hub for biographical activities. Oxford University Press publishes the Dictionary of National Biography, the most famous biographical publication in the world; as well as The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and The Grove Dictionary of Art, containing thousands of biographical entries on musicians and artists. The Ashmolean Museum is committed to biographical interpretations of its works of art. There are biographers at Oxford University working within many different fields and there are some distinguished non-academic biographers living and working in Oxford.
We promote a lively, cross-disciplinary dialogue on all aspects of life-writing through a busy weekly programme of events, including lunch talks, lectures, performances, panel discussions, conferences and seminars and full day workshops. Most of these are free of charge and open to all across the academic community and the general public, and attract a wide audience, from established academics to schoolchildren, who enjoy access to top level scholarly debate within an Oxford College. We are committed to outreach, collaboration, and fostering research into life-writing through postdoctoral Research Fellowships, Postgraduate Scholarships, Visiting Scholarships and Visiting Doctoral Studentships. We support young academics at the start of their careers, and provide a central point for established practitioners for discussion and international collaboration, as well as allowing the general public open access to all our events, and offering opportunities for mentoring and outreach in the community. To support our work, click here.
Life-writing involves, and goes beyond, biography. It encompasses everything from the complete life to the day-in-the-life, from the fictional to the factional.
At the heart of what we do is supporting and nurturing exceptionally talented young writers and scholars, and offering them opportunities to help establish their career.
We record many of our events, which you can listen to as podcasts via the website or blog.
Blog posts about OCLW events written by students and members can be accessed via the OCLW blog.
OCLW is committed to fostering research into life-writing through the establishment of postdoctoral Research Fellowships, Postgraduate Scholarships, Visiting Scholarships and Visiting Doctoral Studentships attached to OCLW.
11 March 2019Wolfson College makes its annual donation to eight individual charities
Each year the College's Social Committee shortlist eight national and local charities to receive a donation of £400.7 March 2019Alumnus Phil Hewitt publishes book on recovery after trauma
In February 2016, marathon runner and journalist Phil Hewitt were attacked in Cape Town. Deeply traumatised by the attack, he turned to running -...6 March 2019New works of art in the Haldane Room and Upper Common Room
The College is delighted to announce that new artworks are on display in the Haldane Room and the Upper Common Room by contemporary African...
Clubs & Societies31 - 31Mar MarRomulus Call for ContributionsSunday 31 March - 11:59pm
Looking to express your creative side? Romulus, Wolfson College's literary magazine, welcomes submissions in the form of poems, short stories, essays, papers, photos, illustrations, or anything else that can be printed. This year's theme is Ritual. Written pieces should generally be no longer than 2,500 words. Academic papers are welcome, but should be accessible to a general audience.Lectures and Seminars15 - 16Apr AprOxford Symposium in Silicon Solar Cell TechnologyMonday 15 April - 9:00am to Tuesday 16 April - 6:00pmLectures and Seminars02 - 02May MayWolfson Lecture Series 2018-19: Diplomacy for the 21st Century: Twenty-first cen...Thursday 2 May - 6:15pm to 7:15pm
After 35 years in diplomacy, Sir Tim Hitchens considers how 21st century will be different from 20th century diplomacy. He will consider the evolution of diplomatic tradecraft, and the different cultures of diplomacy around the world.