Monday, August 27, 2007

SHARP 2007 Minneapolis

The natural place to begin would have been not just with, but at, the annual conference of SHARP (the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing), the leading international organization for the study of the history and art of the book. Full disclosure: You will be hearing regularly about that organization in these posts. I am the Treasurer and also a member of the Executive Council.

We met at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis from 10-14 July.

Alas, this blog was not up and running them. Suffice it to say that the week was meticulously organized and immensely enjoyable, fully satisfying the very high standard set by our most recent conferences in The Hague (2006) and Halifax (2005).

Highlights (in addition to the papers) included:

• a roundtable on the nature and art of the book at the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts (MCBA), one of the pioneering such establishments in the nation, in an elegantly renovated downtown historic building;
•the keynote address by Adrian Johns (University of Chicago);
•a lecture by novelist Louise Erdrich;

Fortunately,there are several ways to learn more about the conference and its proceedings even if you were unable to attend:

(1) The conference program is still on the web.

(2) In addition, thanks to the indefatigable efforts of our colleague Jim Kelly (Humanities Bibliographer at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst), SHARP is in the process of digitizing records of all conference sessions and, whenever possible, noting or linking to publications that arose from the papers.

(3) Several reports will also appear in the coming issue of SHARPNews--now distributed by Johns Hopkins University Press.

The tireless SHARP webmaster Patrick Leary has also posted photos online (to accompany some from earlier years).

In the meantime, although conference organizer Michael Hancher did not "live-blog" during the conference week itself (it is not clear that he found time to sleep, though it can be proven that he ate at least once, because he was kind enough to take a few of us to an excellent restaurant down the street from MCBA), he has created a new blog to highlight the current and future book-related exhibitions in Minnesota.

And of course it is never too early to start thinking about next year's conference, which will take place at Oxford Brookes University. The call for papers (deadline: 30 November) is already posted.