Reading, Writing, and Collecting: Books and Manuscripts in Wales, 1450-1850

Event Date: 
24 Apr 2019 to 25 Apr 2019

Brecon Cathedral


Wales lacks the long and fruitful scholarly tradition of book history that, in England, has revealed much about the preoccupations and interests of the reading and writing public. This is not due to a dearth of sources or interesting topics: there is much to be done, and much to work with.


This two-day conference builds on the work of the contributors to Philip Jones and Eiluned Rees’s A Nation and its Books (1998), particularly although not exclusively, “the history of reading and authorship” which Jones and Rees were compelled to omit. The organisers will bring into conversation librarians, archivists, heritage professionals and researchers from a range of disciplines to


  • uncover the practices and processes by which people read, heard, performed and preserved texts of any genre, in Welsh, English or other languages
  • share the often scattered or ephemeral sources relating to the circulation and reception of books and manuscripts
  • explore new methodologies addressing the difficulties of proving knowledge, rather than simply ownership, of print and scribal material.


Suggested themes for proposals include, but are by no means limited to:


  • Celtic interactionsLanguage
  • Buying and selling Library design and decoration
  • Private and public libraries Collecting, networks, and circulation
  • Storing, preserving, damaging or destroying texts
  • Intersections between gender, class, race, age and/or sexuality and experiences of acquiring and using texts
  • Multifarious forms of evidence available to reconstruct a history of reading including approaches which draw on material culture

We invite abstracts of approximately 250 words for

  • 20 minute papers
  • pre-formed 90 minute panels (please send an abstract of 250 words for each paper)
  • 10 minute lightning presentations
  • poster presentations which will be displayed for the duration of the conference

Please send abstracts, accompanied by a short biographical note, to by 7th January 2019. Please note that the organisers will not accept proposals for all male panels.


The website for the conference is

Submission date for papers: 
07 Jan 2019