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School of Arts and Humanities

Books in the Making: literary production explored, and Lee Child in conversation

Bestselling crime writer Lee Child, creator of the Jack Reacher series, will be in conversation with Andy Martin of the University of Cambridge this Thursday, followed by a one-day symposium on contemporary literary production, “Books in the Making”.

In conjunction with the Cambridge Literary Festival, bestselling thriller writer Lee Child, creator of the phenomenally successful Jack Reacher series of novels, will be in conversation with Dr Andy Martin, lecturer in French literature at the University of Cambridge, who observed Child for a year during the creation of his latest book, Make Me, the 20th in the Reacher series.

The event will be held on Thursday 14th April at the Lady Mitchell Hall, from 6:00-7:00. Tickets are available online from:

The following day, Cambridge’s Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) will hold a one-day symposium called “Books in the Making” exploring the world of book-making, publication and contemporary literary production. The symposium seeks to move beyond the traditional triumvirate of author, reader and text, and situate today’s fiction within a wider field, encompassing literary agents, editors, book reviewers, writing teachers, prize judges, festival organizers, and more.

“Books in the Making” brings some of the key players in the book trade (publishers, agents, reviewers, festival organisers) into dialogue with academics from a range of disciplines, including literary and cultural studies, sociology, and the digital humanities. By creating new conversations between these too-often separate spheres, we consider the various ways in which books are made today. The symposium also explores the extent to which the book as a medium is now being ‘remade’ by new formats and technologies.

The symposium will conclude with a keynote address by James English of the University of Pennsylvania, whose study of prizes, awards and cultural value, The Economy of Prestige was named Best Academic Book of 2005 by New York Magazine.

Dr Kasia Boddy of the Faculty of English, who is co-organising the symposium with David Winters, said:

“In bringing together academics and industry professionals, our symposium aims to expand an understanding of how books are ‘made’ —where a book’s ‘making’ consists not just of its writing or even its reading, but also its physical production, and its diffusion through cultural institutions such as reviewing and prize-giving. Importantly, the symposium will also attend to the ways in which books are now being ‘remade’ by new formats and technologies. Through an interdisciplinary exploration of these processes of making and remaking, we will also consider the consequences for contemporary writing of ongoing changes in its production and dissemination”.

“Books in the Making” will be held on Friday 15th April at CRASSH.

Image credit: Typewriter by “nicoleleec” on Flickr (CC 2.0)