Tuesday 9 March 2021

Online | 18:00-19:15

As museums, archives, and libraries adapt to a series of lockdowns, we have a stronger sense than ever of the challenges involved in providing access to the objects that carry our collective memories. While one-way routes and Perspex shields may be new, the complexities around acquiring, preserving, finding, and using collections are not. How can the hidden histories of collections be shown? What tools are emerging for recording and sharing cultural heritage? How can writers and researchers engage with, and make innovative use of, collections?

The Institute of English Studies and The Warburg Institute are delighted to announce this special event, held in connection with the School of Advanced Study 'Open for Discussion' series, to explore the relationship between poets and archives.

Featuring Linda Anderson, John Challis, and Theresa Muñoz, Poets & Archives, chaired by Clare Lees, Institute of English Studies, and Bill Sherman, Warburg Institute, explores how writers engage with, and make creative use of, archives and collections. Canadian Scottish poet, Theresa Muñoz, is currently writing a poetry sequence on “mixed race”, dual heritage couples. John Challis’s first collection, The Resurrectionists comes out this year. Like Muñoz he is interested in how archives speak to and through poets. They are joined by poet and critic, Linda Anderson, founding Director of the Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts, who established the influential Bloodaxe Books archive at Newcastle. Professor Anderson received the OBE in January for her outstanding contribution to Creative Writing over a career of some forty years. It is a pleasure to be able to celebrate her achievements as a poet and scholar at the University of London, where women were first able to gain access to a university education. We are also delighted to raise awareness about the creative potential of archives and collections in London, the heart of Europe’s greatest concentration of books.

Register here


Linda Anderson is professor emerita of English at Newcastle University, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours. She was the founding Director of the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts. She has published widely on autobiography and the poet Elizabeth Bishop, is one of the editors of The Contemporary Poetry Archive: Essays and Interventions (Edinburgh UP, 2019), and established the Bloodaxe Archive at Newcastle University (http://bloodaxe.ncl.ac.uk) alongside the personal archives of several contemporary poets including Sean O'Brien, Moniza Alvi and Selima Hill. In 2020 she published her first poetry collection, The Station Before (Pavillion Poetry)

John Challis is the author of the pamphlet, The Black Cab (Poetry Salzburg, 2017), a 2019 New Writing North Read Regional title, and the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a Northern Writers’ Award. In 2015 he was a poet-in-residence with the Northern Poetry Library and chosen as one of the Poetry Trust’s Aldeburgh Eight. His poems have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and published in journals including Magma, The North, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry London, The Rialto, Stand, and elsewhere. John also writes reviews and essays, most recently for Wild CourtPN Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and The Poetry School. He holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Newcastle University, where he currently works as a Research Associate. His first book-length collection, The Resurrectionists, is due from Bloodaxe in 2021. He lives in Whitley Bay. 

Theresa Muñoz is a Canadian-born poet now living in Edinburgh. She holds a PhD in Scottish Literature from Glasgow University. She is a Research Associate at the Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts at Newcastle University, where she teaches Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in several journals, including Poetry Review, Canadian Literature and Arc magazine.  She has one collection, Settle and has been nominated/shortlisted for a number of prizes. In 2018 she won a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship and a Muriel Spark Centenary Award, and in 2020 she received a Creative Scotland Award to write one of the first poetry sequences on inter-racial couples, entitled ‘Mixed Feelings’.