News and events

Beckett Research Centre inaugural themes



Beckett International Foundation Research Seminar 2017

Saturday 20 May, 2017 (10am - 4pm)
MERL, Redlands Road, London Road Campus

*** Please register by email to by Friday 12 May ***

The Beckett International Foundation is pleased to announce the 2017 Beckett Research Seminar on Saturday 20 May, 10am-4pm. The event will be held in the Conference Room of Special Collections, University of Reading, the Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands Road, Reading.

As in previous years, our speakers represent a mixture of research students as well as established local and international scholars, reflecting current research into Beckett's work.

The charge for the day is £20 waged / £10 unwaged, to include lunch and refreshments throughout the day. Please note that parking facilities are available at the venue.

Tickets can be purchased on the door on the morning of the seminar, but please email Prof. Anna McMullan ( to register by Friday May 12th. We look forward to seeing you there.



10.00-10.30: Tea / Coffee

10.30-11.00: Professor Anthony Roche (University College Dublin), 'Beckett's Embers and the Death of the Father'.

11.00-11.20: Discussion

11.20-11.50: Professor Everett Frost (Emeritus, New York University), 'Darkness (In)Visible: Acoustic Scenography in Beckett's Radio Plays and Other Drama'

11.50-12.10: Discussion

12.10-12.30: Tea / Coffee

12.30-1.00: Matthew McFrederick (University of Reading), '"I spoke to Sam Last Night, He says it's OK": Pinter and Krapp's Last Tape'

1.00-1.20. Discussion

1.20-2.20 Lunch

2.20-2.50: Dr Emilie Morin (University of York) 'Beckett's Political Imagination'

2.50-3.10: Discussion

3.10-3.40: Professor Jean-Michel Gouvard (Université de Bordeaux), 'The Jouer Beckett / Performing Beckett project': see

3.40-4.00: Discussion and closing remarks.



Launch of the Beckett Research Centre

Wednesday 3 May, 2017 (7pm)
University of Reading, London Road Campus

G01 Lecture Theatre (L022 Building)

*** Please register at by Thursday 20 April ***

The University of Reading is delighted to announce the launch of the Samuel Beckett Research Centre on Wednesday 3 May, 2017 (from 7pm). The new interdisciplinary Centre will act as a hub for international research on Beckett's work, focussed on the world-leading archive of Beckett materials held in Special Collections at the University.

The Centre will also host a series of Creative Fellowships, enabling leading writers, performers, artists, and musicians to develop new projects and insights through unique engagement with the archival materials.

James Kelman © Kirsty Anderson / Herald & Times, ScotlandAs part of our emphasis on Beckett's living legacies within the creative arts, we are thrilled to be welcoming to the launch event award-winning Scots writer, James Kelman, who will talk about the importance of Samuel Beckett's work for him.

Kelman's novel, A Disaffection (Secker and Warburg, 1989), was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction in 1989. He later went on to win the 1994 Booker Prize for How Late It Was, How Late (Vintage, 1994), and several of his subsequent novels, including Kieron Smith, Boy (Penguin, 2008), have also been nominated for the Prize. Author of several collections of stories and a volume of essays entitled, And the Judges Said (Vintage, 2002), James Kelman's most recent work is Dirt Road (Canongate, 2016), a novel that explores 'the brevity of life, the agonising demands of love, [...] the lure of the open road', and 'the power of music and all that it can offer'.

This special launch evening (to be followed by a wine reception) is the first in a new programme of public events presented by the Beckett Research Centre. These will focus on an annual theme or topic that foregrounds Beckett's importance in contemporary debates. The first of these will be:

  • Beckett and the Environment
  • Beckett and Europe

Please note that the launch event is by invitation and registration only, so if you would like to attend, please contact Aleiah Potter at or on 0118 378 8438.



Beckett Week 2016

2 - 5 November 2016
University of Reading

Registration is now available for the following events, which will take place during the University of Reading's Beckett Week 2016.

  • The Billie Whitelaw Lecture
    Wednesday 2 November, 6pm
    Minghella Building

    Registration and details: The Billie Whitelaw Lecture 2016: Lisa Dwan

    Acclaimed Beckett actor, Lisa Dwan, who has performed in Beckett's plays across the globe, will speak about performing in Beckett and about her mentor Billie Whitelaw, Beckett's favourite actor. Lisa met Billie when she was preparing for a production of Beckett's challenging play, Not I, and Billie passed her notes from Beckett on to Lisa. We are delighted to welcome Lisa Dwan back to Reading, following her virtuoso performance of a selection of Beckett's prose for performance entitled No's Knife at London's Old Vic Theatre.

    The lecture will be followed by a Wine Reception and the Launch of the Billie Whitelaw Exhibition, which will for the first time show items from Billie Whitelaw's Beckett Theatrical Collection, acquired by the Beckett International Foundation last year.

Beckett and Politics Poster

  • Beckett & Politics Conference 2016
    Thursday 3 - Friday 5 November
    Minghella Building

    Registration and details: Beckett and Politics Conference 2016

    Organised by the Beckett at Reading Postgraduate and Early Careers Group (BARP), the exciting theme of 'Beckett and Politics' will be discussed through panel topics ranging from capitalism and postcolonial Ireland to the politics of gender, sex and violence, and keynotes by Matthew Feldman, Elizabeth Barry and Daniela Caselli. All scholars, students, and enthusiasts are welcome.

  • The Gerald Finzi Memorial Lecture
    Friday 4 November, 6.30pm 
    L022 Lecture Theatre, London Road Campus

    Registration and details: The Gerald Finzi Memorial Lecture 2016: Alice Oswald

    As part of the Reading Literature Festival 2016, critically acclaimed poet Alice Oswald will deliver the Gerald Finzi Memorial Lecture and give a reading of her poetry. After the lecture there will be a drinks reception in the Museum of English and Rural Life

    This annual lecture was established in memory of the composer Gerald Finzi (1911-56), who lived in Newbury and had a close connection with Reading. His extensive collection of English literature is now held in the University's archive.

Mary Bryden

  • Mary Bryden Tribute Day
    Saturday 5 November, 12 - 7pm
    Minghella Building

    Registration and details: Mary Bryden Tribute Day 2016

    A tribute day for the late, much loved Mary Bryden, Professor of French Studies at the University of Reading, and Co-Director of the Beckett International Foundation, who died a year ago.

    The day will start with a lecture by Emeritus Professor Jim Knowlson on Beckett and Billie Whitelaw. In the afternoon, there will be an academic panel which will reflect on aspects of Mary's research in French Studies and Beckett Studies. This will be followed by personal and musical tributes from Mary's colleagues and friends, and readings from Mary's own creative writing.

    The event is free and will include lunch and a drinks reception at the end of the day.





Beckett Research Centre Launch Event

3 May 2017 (7pm) 

(G01 Lecture Theatre, L022 Building, London Road Campus, University of Reading, UK). Followed by wine reception.
***Register by 20 April*** 

Beckett International Foundation Research Seminar 2017

20 May 2017 (10am - 4pm): 
(MERL, Redlands Road, University of Reading, UK).
***Register by 12 May***

Watch this space for details of further CFPs, conferences and events.

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