Digital Vernon Lee: a joint event organised by The Open University’s History of Books & Reading (HOBAR) collaboration & the International Vernon Lee Society (IVLS)

14 October 2019, 12.45-17.00pm

Room 246, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, University of London, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU

12:45-14:15:  general meeting of the International Vernon Lee Society (IVLS), convened by Prof Sophie Geoffroy (University of Reunion, France)

14:15-14:30 Coffee/tea

14:30-15:00: Welcome from The Open University’s History of Books & Reading (HOBAR) collaboration by Dr Shafquat Towheed (The Open University) followed by an Introduction to the International Vernon Lee Society (IVLS) and its planned activities, by Dr Sally Blackburn-Daniels (The Open University)

15:00-17:00: An interactive workshop demonstration of the Vernon Lee Digital Letters database and project by Dr Richard Walter (ITEM-CNRS-ENS, France)

17:00: end of event and the chance to sign up for the International Vernon Lee Society (IVLS)

Please book your FREE place by via the online booking form or by contacting Eleanor Hardy (

Polymath, public intellectual and author of over 40 books, Vernon Lee (1856-1935) was one of the most original pan-European thinkers of her age. Please join us on Vernon Lee’s birthday (14 October) at the IES (Room 246), Senate House, London, for this FREE event, which includes an interactive workshop on the new Vernon Lee Digital Letters, Manuscripts and Notebooks project. You can also learn more about other literature and digital humanities projects at The Open University, such as our participation in the READ-IT (2018-2021) project.

About the event organisers


Dr Sally Blackburn-Daniels is Postdoctoral Research Associate in English at The Open University, where she works on the READ-IT project. She is also Communications Officer for the International Vernon Lee Society (IVLS) and recently helped organise the Vernon Lee 2019: An Anniversary Conference in Florence, Italy (May 2019). Her PhD was entitled ‘The Scholar’s Copy Book’ or the ‘Blotting-Book’ Mind’: Stratographic Approaches to Interdisciplinary Writing and Reading in Vernon Lee’. She is currently editing transcriptions of Lee’s notebooks for the Holograph Lee Project (HoL) project.


Prof Sophie Geoffroy is Senior Professor in English at the University of La Réunion (France). She is the associate director of the LCF research centre. She is the President of the International Vernon Lee Society (IVLS) and currently working (with Dr Amanda Gagel) on the Selected Letters of Vernon Lee, 1856-1935 in 4 vols. for Routledge. A member of ITEM (Institut des Textes et Manuscrits Modernes) at the CNRS, she is the founding director of the database Holographical Lee (HoL) on the EMAN platform, a searchable digital tool gathering facsimiles and offering transcriptions of Vernon Lee’s letters, notebooks and manuscripts.


Dr Shafquat Towheed is Senior Lecturer in English in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), The Open University. He is Director of The Open University’s History of Books and Reading (HOBAR) research collaboration, and is the UK Principal Investigator for the JPICH/AHRC funded consortium, ‘Reading Europe Advanced Data Investigation Tool’ (READ-IT, 2018-2021) which uses digital tools to investigate the cultural heritage of reading in Europe.


Dr Richard Walter is a research engineer and data processing project manager for the creation of digital libraries and heritage corpora at the CNRS laboratory, ITEM. He is the coordinator of the EMAN digital platform for the publication of manuscripts, documents and modern literary archives. He is also the CNRS internal trainer to Omeka. Details at:



For more information about this event, please contact Dr Sally Blackburn-Daniels ( and Dr Shafquat Towheed (



Find out more about research in the history of books and reading at The Open University | Discover over 34,000 records of readers from the past in the UK Reading Experience Database |See some of our public engagement work with the ‘Reading Communities’ project at | watch a short film about one of our previous public engagement events at |

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