November 2008

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Darwin Festival 2009

Booking for the Darwin Festival in Cambridge, 5-10 July 2009, is now open. Among events that may be of interest to BSLS members:

Wednesday July 8th
A.S. Byatt in conversation with Professor Gillian Beer
Ian McEwan in conversation with Professor David Amigoni

Wednesday July 8th and Thursday July 9th
Sessions on Darwin on stage, in poetry, in the visual arts, and in music

The British Society for Literature and Science is pleased to invite nominations for the annual BSLS Book Prize.

The prize of £150 will be awarded to the best book published in 2008 in the field of literature and science. We therefore invite nominations, including self-nominations, for books to be considered. Monographs, edited volumes, editions, and books of creative writing are all eligible for consideration. The book must be in English and must have ‘2008’ as its publication date.

Please send nominations, including author, title and publisher to Dr Michael Whitworth (book-prize convenor) at, with ‘BSLS Book Prize’ as the subject heading. The deadline for receipt of nominations is 16 January 2009.

• The book prize was launched in 2007; the winner of the first prize was Ralph O’Connor, for The Earth on Show: Fossils and the Poetics of Popular Science, 1802-1856 (U of Chicago P, 2007)

• Nominations are invited from society members and from publishers. The authors or editors of the nominated books need not be members of the society.

• The winner of this year’s prize will be announced at the BSLS’s 2009 conference in Reading

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Monday 19 January 7.00pm–8.30pm

‘The age of wonder’ a lecture by Prof Richard Holmes

In this lecture Richard Holmes tells the story of three remarkable scientific friendships during the Romantic Age in Britain. The astronomers William and Caroline Herschel, the chemists Humphry Davy and Michael Faraday and the medical scientists, John Abernethy and William Lawrence all challenged traditional ideas about human identity, morality and religious belief. They were pioneers in a time where distinctions between poetry, art and science were yet to take hold.

Holmes presents an age on the cusp of modernity, when science and faith in God were mutually incompatible, and shows through the vivid dramas of his central relationships how ideas are nurtured, scientific discoveries made, and how religious faith and scientific truth collide.

This lecture seeks to answer questions that are as relevant to us as they were to Coleridge's generation: What are the sources of creativity? In what sense is there a human soul? Is it a fundamental mistake to regard science as a purely rational pursuit, or must we also recognise it as an imaginative and emotional one?

Admission: Tickets cost £8, £6 concessions, £4 Ri members. You can book tickets online at or by calling the Events Team on 020 7409 2992 9.00am-5.00pm Monday to Friday.

Venue: The Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS

For more information please visit

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