Van Dyck Portrait of himself

Biography and Public History

Constructing Historical Narratives through Life-Writing



A one day conference looking at the medium of life writing

Date and time

Wednesday 20 June 2018,


Arts Centre, University Park Campus, University of Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Accommodation is available at the Orchard Hotel and in various halls at the University of Nottingham.

Register here


Keynote speaker

Professor Frances Spalding, CBE, FRSL (University of Cambridge)

Project team

Dr Joanne Cormac (University of Nottingham) 

Provisional programme

Download the programme

This interdisciplinary conference aims to explore the myriad ways in which the medium of life-writing has been and is being used as a means of constructing and understanding history. As a key characteristic of life-writing is its ability to cross disciplinary boundaries, papers from a range of disciplines will be discussed.

From Plutarch’s Parallel Lives to Gordon Brown’s recent My Life, Our Times, life-writing has long dealt not only with individuals, but also with the times in which they lived. The discipline traverses historical, cultural, social, political and literary realms. As such, life-writing is a unique medium enabling authors to construct complex historical narratives through the eyes of a particular person. Memoirs, diaries, and other forms of life-writing can also fill gaps in the documentary record, offering historical information that may not be found elsewhere.

Kindly sponsored by:



The University of Nottingham
University Park

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5151