Word Houses: Dictionaries, Archives, Libraries and Beyond

10 June Word Houses

For more information

  • This event has taken place
  • Tel: +44 (0)1937 546546
  • Email: boxoffice@bl.uk
  • Full Price: £20.00 Member: £20.00 Under 18: £16.00 Other concessions available

How do word houses shape our words and our worlds?

Writing both orders and questions the order of things. Words shape our realities yet their definition alters, sometimes unexpectedly, over time; grammars structure our idea of what is possible, through use as much as through creative misuse; collections consolidate and reshuffle memory as they gather their texts. So how do encyclopaedias and archives, grammars and dictionaries, anthologies and libraries shape our words and our worlds? At a time when texts are spawned and stowed in virtually limitless variations, how does the way we house our words matter?

Join us for a half day and evening of talks and discussions to explore these 'Word Houses'.

Confirmed speakers include writer, translator, and librarian Alberto Manguel, John Mullan (Professor of English Literature, UCL), poet and writer Ruth Padel, Richard Price (Head of Contemporary British Collections, the British Library) and Jonnie Robinson (Lead Curator, Spoken English, the British Library)

Please note the revised programme.  We regret that Susie Dent is no longer able to participate in this event due to unforseen circumstances.

In association with UCL European Institute


14.15 – 15.15 Panel 1: Books

From early modern language learning guides to tattooed texts and 20th century artist books.

Alexander Samson Reader in Early Modern Studies, UCL

Richard Price Head of Contemporary British Collections, British Library

Nicholas Royle Author and Reader in Creative Writing, Manchester Metropolitan

Uta Staiger (Chair) Executive Director, UCL European Institute

15.45 – 16.45 Panel 2: Archives & collections

From housing untold stories to finding Henry James and learning matters digital.

Arike Oke Managing Director, Black Cultural Archives

Rachel Foss Head of Contemporary Archives and Manuscripts, British Library

Philip Horne Professor of English, UCL

Joan Winterkorn (Chair) Archivist specialising in leading writers, artists and scientists

17.15 – 18.15 Panel 3: Grammars & Dictionaries

From the peculiarities of words to the particularity of accents and how to write a dictionary

Tony Thorne slang specialist and Visiting Consultant, King’s College London

Maria Rosa Lloret Professor of Catalan Philology, University of Barcelona

Jonnie Robinson Lead Curator, Spoken English, British Library

Geraldine Horan (Chair) Linguist and Germanist, UCL

Bar break

19.00 – 20.30: Libraries and Writing: A Conversation

Alberto Manguel Anthologist, translator, writer; Director, National Library of Argentina

Ruth Padel Poet and writer

John Mullan Lord Northcliffe Chair of Modern English Literature, UCL

Boyd Tonkin (Chair) writer, journalist and critic

The event will be followed by a book signing.

The evening panel is included in the day ticket, but may also be booked separately here.

Image courtesy of UCL European Institute


Name: Word Houses: Dictionaries, Archives, Libraries and Beyond
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £20.00
Member: £20.00
Senior 60+: £18.00
Student: £16.00
Registered Unemployed: £16.00
Under 18: £16.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546