Celebrating Female Authors: Jane Austen

As part of our International Women’s Day celebrations, the trainees have decided to highlight female authors with a connection to Oxford. We’re starting things off with Jane Austen, but watch this space for more posts to come!

An illustrated portrait of Jane Austen. She is sitting in a chair looking to her right with a neutral expression on her face. Her signature is below the portrait
Portrait of Jane Austen

Jane Austen, the seventh child of the Reverend George and Cassandra Austen, (née Leigh) was born in Hampshire in 1775. Her family, a large and lively community, shared a love of learning that encouraged Jane’s creativity, and she began writing at an early age. Her life amongst the landed gentry and a wide network of friends and family no doubt provided ample inspiration for her writing. The family lived in Steventon, Hampshire until Jane’s father retired, after which they moved on to various locations including Bath, London and Southampton. Jane died at the age of 41 from Addison’s disease, and was buried in Winchester Cathedral. [1]

Connection to Oxford 

Jane had a variety of connections to Oxford. Her older brother James attended St John’s, as did their father, and their paternal grandfather was rector of All Souls College.  When Jane was eight, she was sent to Oxford with her cousin (another Jane) and her sister Cassandra to be educated by Mrs Cawley, the widow of Ralph Cawley, a former Principal of Brasenose. [2]

In 2022, the Friends of the National Libraries led a campaign to save the Honresfield Library, a huge collection of manuscripts and books by a range of British authors, including Austen. The campaign to raise over £15 million was a success, which has ensured continued public access to the collection. [3] The Jane Austen collection from the Honresfield Library has been donated to the Bodleian Libraries and Jane Austen’s House. It features first editions of Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Northanger Abbey, as well as two letters from Jane to her sister in 1796. Letters from Austen are incredibly rare, as Cassandra destroyed or censored many of them. [4]

A red brick building with a white sign in the foreground that reads 'Jane Austen's House Museum'
Jane Austen House

Literary Career

Jane Austen wrote many short stories in her teenage years. Three surviving notebooks are held in the British Library and the Bodleian Libraries. These stories were often lively and action-packed, and not entirely dissimilar from what teenage girls might write about now – typically getting into trouble, romantic or otherwise. [5]. In the somewhat tumultuous years after her father’s death, Jane did not have as much time for writing. It was only once settled in Chawton on her brother’s estate that she began to edit Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice for publication. The former was published anonymously in 1811, and the later in 1813. Mansfield Park and Emma were published in 1814 and 1815 respectively. Following Jane’s death in 1817, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were published later the same year, and were the first of her books to identify her as the author.

After publication, her books were generally received favourably (although it’s interesting to consider if this would have been the case if it was known from the beginning that they were penned by a woman), and commended for their portrayal of everyday life. Alfred Tennyson wrote that “Miss Austen understood the smallness of life to perfection,” highlighting her skill for social observation. [6] Now, 200 years after her death, Jane Austen is celebrated as one of the most beloved British writers, whose works have been translated into multiple languages and adapted for the stage and screen.

Most Iconic Character  

Sometimes, the most obvious answer is, in fact, the right one. Elizabeth Bennet is a British icon in her own right, with her quick-witted nature and sharp tongue (perfectly encapsulated in one of the most savage insults in literary history: “I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world on whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.”) Lizzie’s misjudgement of poor Mr Darcy is something I’m sure many of us relate to, and the changing nature of her opinion of him throughout the novel is what makes me return to it (and the iconic masterpiece that is the 2005 film version) time and time again.

Favourite Book  

My favourite Jane Austen novel is (unsurprisingly) Pride and Prejudice. The themes of the novel – love, social hierarchies and dealing with irritating family members offering “delicate little compliments” remain incredibly relatable to this day- the language may have changed, but our lives are not that dissimilar to the characters in Pride and Prejudice.


  1. Jane Austen | Biography, Books, Movies, & Facts | Britannica
  2. Mrs. Cawley and Jane Austen – Brasenose College, Oxford
  3. Contents of the library | Friends of the National Libraries (fnl.org.uk)
  4. Treasured Jane Austen letters donated to the Bodleian Libraries and Jane Austen’s House | University of Oxford
  5. Teenage Writings | Jane Austen’s House (janeaustens.house)
  6. Jane Austen | Jane Austen’s House (janeaustens.house)


A Day in the Life at the Sackler Library



Although my day doesn’t officially start until 8.45, I’m usually at the Sackler a bit earlier to give me time to lock my bike and change out of my cycle gear. There’s usually time for a quick cup of tea, and today I drink it while doing the latest Sackler jigsaw, which is, of course, book themed.


I’m working on the desk from 9.00 today, so I spend the first fifteen minutes logging on to the computers (which involves battling with my nemesis Microsoft Authenticator), turning on the self-issue machine, and double checking the rota so I can plan my tasks for the day.


During term time, there’s usually a steady stream of queries from readers while I’m on desk, but at the moment it’s fairly quiet so I can get on with some other tasks. Today, I spend some time preparing for upcoming blog posts and then continue with some bibliographic checking. This involves checking SOLO (our online catalogue) to see if we hold certain items in our collections. We have to make a note of which libraries house the items and if there are any online or electronic legal deposit copies. This helps subject librarians know which books to prioritise when it comes to acquisitions. Bibliographic checking requires a fair bit of concentration, so it’s nice to take breaks to help the occasional reader.


Once my desk shift is over, I take my morning break. As I’ve spent most of the morning sitting down, I go for a quick walk and have just enough time to listen to a podcast episode (I’m currently relistening to the Magnus Archives because apparently cycling home in the pitch dark isn’t scary enough already).


My next task for the day is the trolley sweep. This is another daily task that helps us keep the library organised. Because the Sackler has five floors and houses books for multiple subjects, shelving can build up quite quickly. I start the sweep by taking a trolley up to the third floor and working my way round, picking up books from the reshelving points and desks. We also have a reservation point on every floor, where readers can leave up to 10 Sackler books so they can keep consulting them at a later date. I check the slips that the readers fill out to make sure none of the books have been left there for too long. I also make sure that the books are from the same floor as the reservation point they’re on. If books need to be reshelved on the current floor, I add them to the reshelving trolleys; if they are from elsewhere, I add them to my trolley and drop them off on the correct floor as I repeat this task on my way down to the basement. Today, the sweep doesn’t take too long, so I head back to the second floor to do some of the shelving that has built up.


A closeup of a BookEye Scanner. There is a blank screen. Underneath, there is a book cradle in a V-shape. There is a book resting on it.
The BookEye Scanner

I don’t have any tasks assigned until the delivery later this afternoon so I head back to the workroom. One of my ongoing tasks is to write some instructions for the BookEye scanner, which we can use to scan books or articles that people request. Although we can use the PCAS machines for this, the BookEye is better because it allows the book to rest in a V-shaped cradle, which helps to prevent books being damaged. It’s also easier to see what you’re doing as you go along, so you reduce the risk of doing a 50-page scan where half of each page has been cut off (as a completely hypothetical example, of course). I also keep an eye on our Microsoft Teams chat, to see if whoever is on desk needs any help, for example with fetching books for a reader. Once I’ve finished my first draft and inserted some images, I send it over to my supervisor.


Lunch time! I normally make my own sandwiches with my supplies in the staff fridge, but today I’m in the mood for some hot food. I head over to Italiamo Café for a calzone and a cannoli. Once I’ve eaten, I go for a stroll around the city centre, stopping off at Blackwell’s Art and Poster shop to stare longingly at The Wes Anderson Collection before heading back to the Sackler.


The delivery from the BSF has arrived! I wheel the crates into the workroom so I can start scanning the books, listening to music as I do so. When each book is scanned, an email is automatically sent to the person who requested it. I place a red flag inside that informs the reader that the book is confined to the library, and stack the books on the trolley in alphabetical order to save some time later. Because it takes a little while to go through the delivery, sometimes, especially if the reader is already in the library, they will head to the self-collect shelf before I’ve had a chance to put their books out, so occasionally I will get a message from whoever is on desk duty asking me to bring a specific book out! Once I’ve loaded up the trolley, I take the books out to the self-collect shelves.

A close up of books inside a blue crate.
All sorts of interesting books get delivered to the Sackler

We also received two crates of new books, so I head back to the workroom to do some processing. Although this isn’t difficult, it does require a lot of concentration, so I put some instrumental music on (I find that the soundtrack to The Grand Budapest Hotel is the perfect accompaniment to processing). I begin by dividing the books from the journals and periodicals and piling them up based on which floor they go on. We keep track of how many items arrive for each floor so I add a new row in our statistics spreadsheet. The majority of our stickering and stamping is done by the Cataloguing Team at Osney, so most of the time it’s just a case of double checking that everything matches the online record and adding ‘library use only’ stickers to confined items on the lower three floors and changing the statuses to ‘new book display.’ Books go on some shelves in the workroom to wait for the next update of the book display, and I take the journals out to the reshelving trolleys.

A close up of a pile of journals. There are strips of stickers on top. One strip has small, red, circular stickers reading 'library use only' and the others are slightly larger, pink, circular stickers with the number 3 on them. There is also a stamp resting on top of the pile that reads 'SACKLER LIBRARY OXFORD.'
Processing supplies


After finishing the delivery, I tidy up the workroom a bit and check the scanning dashboard. We’ve had quite a few requests pushed through, so I make a note of the floors and shelfmarks and go and collect the books so I can do multiple requests in one go. It’s easy for me to get swept up in scanning, so by the time I have transferred files, double checked that the correct pages have been scanned and uploaded them, it’s time for me to head over to the Nizami Ganjavi Library to cover my colleague’s afternoon break.


The NGL is only a few minutes away, which is useful when it’s raining or cold. Because I’m only on the desk for 20 minutes, I don’t really have time to start a more complicated project, so I look through the feedback on my BookEye instructions and make some edits, helping with the occasional reader query.


I decide to take my break as well, and head back to the staff room at the Sackler. There’s just time for a quick cup of tea and whatever snack I left in the cupboard and forgot about (Jaffa Cakes today).


I head back to the workroom and finish up any small tasks like replying to emails and editing a blog post. I had to email a reader for clarification about a scan request, and they’ve now replied so I do one last scan before shutting the machine off. I then have about 20 minutes left, so I head up to the second floor to do a bit more shelving.


Home time! I head back downstairs and get changed into my cycling gear. I say my goodbyes and pass on any relevant information to the evening team before heading out to the bike shed and making my way home.

[NB the Sackler Library has now been renamed to the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library]

The Twelve Days of Libmas

Arguably one of the best known example of a cumulative song, The Twelve Days Of Christmas has been in existence as far back as 1780, when it was published in Mirth Without Mischief and has featured in many a carol concert (who doesn’t love belting out ‘five gold rings,’ after all?). As a means of counting down to the Christmas closure period, the trainees collaborated with colleagues across the Bodleian and College libraries to bring you our own adaptation of The Twelve Days of Christmas – naturally with a library twist!

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas my library sent me…

Twelve Music Boxes

Karlheinz Stockhausen was an influential German composer of the 20th and early 21st centuries. One of his most well-known compositions is Tierkreis, or Zodiac, which included 12 movements, each representing one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac. This was later adapted as part of Musik im Bauch (translated as ‘music in the stomach/belly’), where each movement was transferred to a music box. In performances, three boxes would be selected and inserted into the stomach of a “bird-man” puppet called Miron, who would be suspended above the stage and accompanied by six percussionists.  

An album cover with a bright red background. In the centre there is an image of a bird-man puppet facing the camera, with an opening in its stomach that someone is placing a music box in. There is blue text above reading 'MUSIK IM BAUCH' and text below reading 'Stockhausen.'
The album cover for Musik im Bauch by Stockhausen


Stockhausen, Karlheinz, & Stockhausen, Christel. (1985). Tierkreis = Zodiac = Zodiaque : Version für Klarinette und Klavier : 1975/81, Werk Nr. 41 8/9 (1st ed.). Kürten: Stockhausen-Verlag.


Eleven Kickstools Dancing (written by Abby Evans)

A gif showing a short stop motion animation. Blue, yellow and red footstools, some with plastic ducks on top, move from the right to the left. In the background there are rows of tables and chairs, with bookshelves at the back of the room.
Eleven kickstools dancing through the EFL

We have lots of kickstools available at the library, so you can reach high shelves without injuring yourself – or the books! Once a year we test the kickstools to make sure they’re still fit and healthy, and not wobbly or unsafe. This year the EFL’s ducks decided to help too! 




Ten Lords A-Leaping (written by Charlie Ough)

Burke’s Peerage

Lords would ‘leap’ into the ranks of nobility by virtue of the “Commoners at Westminster”, according to the publisher of the first 21st century editions of that illustrious series, Burke’s Peerage and Landed Gentry. Housed in the oldest reading room of the Old Bodleian, Duke Humfrey’s Library, Burke’s seems to represent perfectly some of the most uncomfortable views held in Oxford in taking aim at parvenu aristocrats who, by talent, hard work, or just celebrity, have taken the place of lords and ladies hitherto upholding the “values of this Kingdom and of its many Dominions and Territories across the seas.


Nine Books for Binding 

Given just how old some of our books are, its understandable that signs of wear and tear begin to appear. Depending on the age and importance of the books, they can either be sent to the Conservation Team (housed in the Weston) or to the bindery for a bit of TLC.

A closeup of a bookshelf with 9 books, some with visible damage. A white label is stuck to the bottom of the shelf with black text that reads 'Please leave for: REBINDING.'
Nine books for binding


Eight Maids in Writing (written by Grace Exley)

Eight books which highlighting working class women in literature sit in front of a panelled wall, a potted plant sits to the left.
A display on working class women at Jesus College Library

Not very Christmassy, perhaps, but delving into literature about maids frequently reveals discontent about tendencies towards the abuse of working-class women and the way that economic structures echo and reinforce these tendencies. This display at Jesus College Library has examples of fiction and nonfiction books that examine the treatment of working-class women. 



Several Singers Singing

The Bodleian Choir (made up of members from across Oxford’s GLAM – Gardens Libraries and Museums – sector ), after rehearsing throughout October, November and December, got the chance to perform at the Weston Library and the Divinity School in early December. Just one of a huge range of festive activities on offer in Oxford as we approach Christmas.

Five people stand in front of wood panelling each with a songbook held open in front of them. They are smiling with their mouths open in song.
Several singers singing


Six All Souls Mallards

All Souls College has a long association with mallards. Dating back to at least 1632, All Souls College mark a custom known as ‘Hunting the Mallard’ every hundred years on January 14th that involves a procession with lit torches. (Hole, 1950). As the last such ceremony took place in 2001, these wooden mallards will have to tide us over for the next 79 years! 

Hole, C. (1950). English custom & usage (3rd ed.). London: Batsford.

Five wooden mallards sit atop a row of blue and red books on a bookshelf. One is significantly larger than the others and has a loop of blue tinsel around his green neck. Three little brown mallards sit beside him to the right and a brown red and yellow mallard appears to peer down at the floor to his left. Above them all is a painting of a mallard in a golden frame.
Six Mallards of All Souls College.

Five Old Keys (written by Caitlín Kane)

Lots of our collections are housed in very old buildings, so we’re used to some old fashioned security measures. This particularly archaic set of old keys unlock Muniment Tower at New College. The tower was built in the late 14th Century, and it houses New College’s archives.

Four Festive Ducks (written by Abby Evans)

Exit, pursued by a duck? If you’ve visited the EFL recently, you might have caught a glimpse of their four festive ones! There’s Santa Duck, Frosty the Snow Duck, Rein-Duck (with a charming reindeer hat), and Han(duck)kah. They can often be found hanging around the returns trolley, welcoming all the books back to the library. But they like to move around too. When I asked them, they said it was because they wanted to get to know everything about how the library works – just like a Trainee!

If you are popping into the EFL, don’t forget to say hello to Bill too. He’s our full-time duck and usually sits on the main enquiry desk, just in front of the PC, greeting readers and helping library staff scan all the loans and returns.



Three French Gems

Making recommendations is a particularly enjoyable part of working in libraries, especially when we can get creative with our displays (see if you can spot the tiny KeepCup)! . French books are – unsurprisingly – found in abundance at the Taylor Library, but can also be found elsewhere, including on display at Jesus College Library.


Two Belligerent Busts (written by Ruth Holliday)

At the bottom of the stairs to the Upper Library (which houses some of Christ Church’s special collections) an array of somewhat imposing busts hover, as if waiting to test your knowledge on cataloguing systems. Among them are Richard Busby [1], a headmaster of Westminster school in the 17thcentury [2] and Richard Frewen, who actually studied at Westminster under Busby and later studied and taught at Christ Church where he became a physician, amongst other things [3].

[1] The British Museum hold a selection of portraits of Busby – see them here! 

[2] A not very generous description of whom can be found in Pope’s Dunciadfor those willing to put up with its infamously relentless referents. 

[3] An interesting and varied character was Richard Frewen! Read more about him here.

And a Pigeon with a Pear Tree

Perhaps taking the ‘opening doors’ concept a little too far, this guest reader at the Taylor Institution Library ruled the roost of the research collection for a few hours back in August.

It seemed only fitting to pair our pigeon with this gorgeous woodcut illustration of a pear tree from John Parkinson’s Theatrum Botanicum, published in 1640.


Now that the tune is definitely stuck in all of your heads, nothing remains but for me to say thank you to all of the people who contributed to this post; specifically the trainees and the Music Faculty Library. The Twelve Days of Libmas has also been shared on our twitter. On behalf of all of the 2022-23 trainees, I would also like to thank the readers of this blog- we hope you enjoyed reading the posts as much as we did writing them! We’ll be back with more content from across the Bodleian and College Libraries in January, but until then we wish you all an enjoyable and relaxing festive period and a fantastic start to 2023!

Pharaoh-d to Discovery: Tutankhamun 100 Years On

‘Never give up, you might be closer than you think’ seems like the kind of statement you would find on a fridge magnet, but also has surprising relevance when it comes to one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in modern history.

After several fruitless dig attempts, Howard Carter and his team were almost at the point of downing tools and leaving the Valley of Kings for good when, one hundred years ago exactly, the steps to the tomb of Tutankhamun were suddenly unearthed, and the field of Egyptology changed forever (Carter, 1972).

Although Carter seemingly adopted an air of nonchalance, simply recording ‘first steps of tomb found’ in his diary (The Griffith Institute, 2022a), the excitement at such a significant discovery must have been palpable. 100 years on, Tutankhamun remains somewhat of a figurehead of Egyptology, and our fascination with the Boy King shows no signs of slowing. In Oxford alone, there are talks and exhibitions celebrating the anniversary of the discovery, and I was lucky enough to assist the Egyptology subject librarian, Susanne Woodhouse, with a book display in the Sackler.

As the Sackler houses a large collection of Egyptology books, there is naturally a plethora of resources related to Tutankhamun. Fortunately for me, Susanne had already decided which books should be featured in the display, focusing on four clear categories: the excavation of the tomb; Tutankhamun and the British Museum; Tutankhamun and Oxford (Howard Carter’s excavation archive was moved to the Griffith Institute, housed within the Sackler by his niece, Phyllis Walker after his death (The Griffith Institute, 2022b)); and Tutankhamun’s place in history. All that was left for me to do was track down the required titles (with a little help from the incredible interactive floorplan of the Sackler) and create a mock-up of the display to make sure it was aesthetically pleasing but with enough structural integrity to prevent collapse if readers wanted a closer look at some of the items, before setting up the final display on the ground floor. As well as the books and journals, we also added some flyers for the exhibition on Tutankhamun at the Weston Library and used a reproduction of one of the painted sides of a box found in the tomb to create a visually striking display (Davis and Gardiner, 1962).

As someone working in the library sector, I particularly enjoyed learning how objects from the tomb were handled- Carter had no formal archaeology training, but working with a small team, managed to carefully catalogue, transport and protect over 5000 items (López and Healy, 2022).

Tutankhamun has captivated people around the world for one hundred years- from cigarette cards and hieroglyphic wallpaper in the 1920s (Masters, 2014/ Riggs, 2019) to today’s increase in Egyptian-led excavations in and around the Valley of the Kings. And with the new 889-million-pound home for the objects found in Tutankhamun’s tomb (The Grand Egyptian Museum) hopefully opening in 2023 (Mueller, 2022), Tutankhamun’s popularity shows no sign of waning.

Although we may never know the full truth about Tutankhamun’s short life and unexpected death, the tomb and its contents still have secrets to share. Professor Yehia Gad, a geneticist and expert in the field of DNA analysis of ancient mummies, is currently studying samples from Tutankhamun with the hope of shedding some light on his family history and potential hereditary conditions (Mueller, 2022).

It’s clear that although Tutankhamun may be long gone, his legacy continues to inspire- who knows what the next 100 years will uncover?


Tutankhamun: Excavating the Archive is a free exhibition at the Weston Library (in collaboration with The Griffith Institute) running until the 5th of February 2023. More information can be found here.

[NB the Sackler Library has now been renamed to the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library]


A table with books on Tutankhamun
The finished book display at the Sackler Library




Carter, H. (1972) The tomb of Tutankhamen. [Abridged]. London: Sphere. CHAPTER 5, p.31

Davies, N.M. and Gardiner, A.H. (1962) Tutankhamun’s painted box : reproduced in colour from the original in the Cairo Museum. Oxford: Griffith Institute.

López, A.L. and Healy, P. (2022) Filled with riches- and meaning. Washington: National Geographic. November 2022, pp.74-75

Masters, T. (2014) ‘Tutankhamun: How ‘Tut-mania’ gripped the world’, BBC News, 24 July. Available at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-28403598 (Accessed 31 October 2022)

Matḥaf al-Miṣrī (1926) A short description of the objects from the tomb of Tutankhamun now exhibited in the Cairo Museum. [Cairo: Egyptian Museum].

Mueller, T. (2022) ‘Egypt’s new £889 million museum is fit for a pharaoh’ , National Geographic, 19 October. Available at https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/history-and-civilisation/2022/10/egypts-new-ps889-million-museum-is-fit-for-a-pharaoh (Accessed 31 October 2022)

Riggs, C. (2019) Photographing Tutankhamun : archaeology, ancient Egypt, and the archive. London: Bloomsbury Visual Arts (Photography, history: history, photography).

The Griffith Institute (2022a) Excavation journals and diaries made by Howard Carter and Arthur Mace. Available at: http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/discoveringTut/journals-and-diaries/season-1/diary.html (Accessed 31 October 2022)

The Griffith Institute (2022b) Tutankhamun: Anatomy of an excavation. Available at: http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/discoveringTut/journals-and-diaries/season-1/diary.html (Accessed 31 October 2022)


Black History Month: Events in Oxford

Working at the University of Oxford gives the trainees access to a huge range of events, exhibitions and talks. While not directly related to library work, we wanted to take the time to highlight some of the events celebrating Black History Month that are taking place in Oxford and are open to the general public. There are a variety of lectures, talks and exhibitions designed to recognise the work of people of African and Caribbean descent, both globally and locally here in Oxford. For a full calendar, please visit this site.


[googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=1FLLN4EXim5jveOIF5DIUFxU36bwBWMc&ehbc=2E312F&w=640&h=480]


Annan Affotey: Art Exhibition 

Date: October 1st – October 31st

Time: 10:00 – 18:00 daily

Location: St Hugh’s College (Hamlin Gallery)

Annan Affotey is an Oxford-based artist. He graduated from the Ghanatta College of Art and Design in 2007 with a degree in Drawing and Painting, and has had exhibitions in London, Los Angeles and New York City. His exhibition ‘My Complexion’ features his portraits of people of colour.

The exhibition is free and no booking is required. More details can be found here. On Thursday 20th October at 16.30, Annan will be giving a talk and providing a walk-through of the exhibition. Tickets are free and available here.


Black Women at Oxford: Exhibition

Date: October 3rd – October 31st

Location: The Hub (Kellogg College)

The University of Oxford began admitting Black female students in the 1930s. Kofoworola Ademola, the first Black African Women to graduate with a degree from Oxford University, is one amongst many Black women who feature in this exhibition curated by Urvi Khaitan. The exhibition features a variety of sources including photographs, biographies and other pieces of writing to explore the experiences of some of the first Black women at Oxford. For more information, please visit this site.


Paolo Scott: Reading and Q&A

Date: 19th October

Time: 14.00

Location: Colin Matthews Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building

In collaboration with the English Faculty, Brazilian author Paulo Scott will be giving a talk and answering questions on his work. After teaching law for ten years, he moved to Rio de Janeiro to focus on his writing. Scott has published four fiction books and four poetry anthologies. His latest book, Phenotypes, was longlisted for the 2022 International Booker Prize.

For more information, please contact the English Faculty.


Professor Kehinde Andrews: Sam Sharpe Lecture: ‘Bringing Down the House’

Date: 19th October

Time: 19:00 – 21:00

Location: The Mathematics Institute (or online)

The Sam Sharpe Project was founded to raise awareness of Sam Sharpe, an enslaved man who helped to instigate the 1831 Slave Rebellion. For the past 10 years, the University of Oxford has partnered with the Sam Sharpe Partners to offer an annual lecture. The 2022 lecture is being given by Dr Kehinde Andrews, Professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University. After the lecture, there will be a Q&A session facilitated by Dr Patricia Daley, Professor of the Human Geography of Africa at the University of Oxford.

Attendance is free, but due to limited places, registration is required- you can do so here.


Dr Victoria Showunmi, UCL: Sophisticated Racism: Navigating the Terrain:

Date: 20th October 2022

Time: 17.30 – 19.00

Location: Worcester College (or online)

Dr Victoria Showunmi is an Associate Professor at University College London’s Institute of Education. Her work revolves around education, identity, gender, empowerment and leadership. This year the Equality and Diversity Unit and the BME Staff Network at the University of Oxford, have invited Showunmi to give her lecture ‘Sophisticated Racism: Navigating the Terrain’ at Worcester College. Dr Victoria Showunmi’s talk will reference her co-edited book ‘Understanding and Managing Sophisticated and Everyday Racism: Implications for Education and Work’, which can be found at Mansfield College Library (shelfmark: 1055 SHO) or electronically via Bodleian Libraries reading room PCs.

This event is free, but you will need to register if would like to attend either in-person or virtually.


Black History Month Lecture – Decolonising EU Law: Purpose, Principles & Practice:

Date: 26th October 2022

Time: 17.30 – 18.45

Location: Kellogg College, 60-62 Banbury Road Kellogg Hub Oxford OX2 6PN

Professor Iyiola Solanke is the Jacques Delors Chair of EU Law at the University of Oxford. Her lecture ‘Decolonising EU Law: Purpose, Principles & Practice’ will be introduced by Shreya Atrey (the Racial Justice Fellow at Kellogg College who researches feminist theory, disability, poverty, and discrimination law) and the Decolonising the Law Discussion Group will co-host the talk.

This event is free, but you will need to register if you would like to attend – you can do so here.


Dr Machilu Zimba and Dr. José Lingna Nafafé: AfOx Insaka

Date: 28th October 2022

Time: 17.30 – 19.00

Location: Blavatnik School of Government (or online)

The Africa Oxford Initiative is a collaborative platform designed to promote connections between the University of Oxford and African universities through various means, including developing academic networks and increasing the number of scholarships for African students to study at the University of Oxford, as well as offering talks. This event features two speakers. Dr Machilu Zimba will discuss barriers to progression for international graduate students, and how they can be overcome. Dr. José Lingna Nafafé will present a paper on the Black Atlantic Abolishonist Movement.

This event is free. For more information, and to register, please visit this site. There will be a drinks reception after the event.

Jenna Ilett, Sackler Library


Image showing the exterior of the Sackler Library, Oxford
Outside view of the entrance to the Sackler


My name is Jenna, and I’m the new graduate trainee at the Sackler Library, which houses several collections including archaeology, art and architecture, and Egyptology. Opening in 2001, it has a more contemporary design in comparison to many of the other libraries in Oxford, but many of its features are inspired by the Classical origins of some of the collections housed there.

After graduating with a BSc in Psychology in 2021, I worked in Switzerland for 6 months in order to improve my German and consider my next steps career-wise. A visit to the stunning Stiftsbibliothek in St. Gallen inspired me to consider a career in libraries, and I began my application for the graduate scheme not long afterwards.


I did gain some experience working in a school library after I returned from Switzerland, and although a little familiarity with library management systems was helpful when starting my current role, a lot of the skills required can be gained through other experience such as retail or office work. I didn’t have any library experience when I submitted my application, so it is definitely not a requirement when applying to the scheme.

I am really enjoying getting involved in all of the different tasks that go on behind the scenes at the Sackler, from unpacking the daily deliveries from the BSF to tracking down obscure journals in some of our special collections. I’m excited to build on my knowledge of academic libraries and see where this year takes me!

[NB the Sackler Library has now been renamed to the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library]