Speaker Biographies

Professor Michelle O’Callaghan (University of Reading)

Professor Michelle O’Callaghan’s primary research interest is early modern literature and culture, including literature and politics, print and manuscript culture, literature and sociability, pastoral, satire, and travel-writing. She researches and publishes on a range of topics in early modern literature and culture. Her first two books, The Shepheards Nation: Jacobean Spenserians and Early Stuart Political Culture (Oxford, 2000) and The English Wits: Literature and Sociability in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 2007), were interested in how different early modern communities used literature to shape identities and for political ends, and looked in particular at practices of collaboration. Her most recent book, Thomas Middleton, Renaissance Dramatist (Edinburgh, 2007), explores Middleton’s inventive use of stagecraft in relation to early modern forms of wit. She is also part of the Early Modern Women’s Research Network (http://hri.newcastle.edu.au/emwrn/) which brings together academics in Australia, UK, and the States.


Dr Alexander Samson (UCL)

Dr Samson lectures on the literature, culture and history of early modern Spain and Latin America. He has edited The Spanish Match: Prince Charles’s Journey to Madrid, 1623 (Ashgate, 2006) and with Jonathan Thacker A Companion to Lope de Vega (Tamesis, 2008), as well as a special issue of Renaissance Studies on ‘Gardens and Horticulture in the Early Modern Period’. He has published extensively on the marriage of Philip II and Mary Tudor, historiography and royal chroniclers in 16th century Spain, firearms, Cervantes and Anglo-Spanish cultural relations. His book Mary I and the Habsburg Marriage: England and Spain 1553 – 1558 is forthcoming.

His research interests include intercultural relations and translation between Spain and England from 1500 to 1640, European festival texts, the Habsburg empire under Charles V, and early colonial history.

He runs the Golden Age and Renaissance Seminar, as well as being the co-director of UCL’s Centre for Early Modern Exchanges.


Dr Sarah Olive (University of York)

Sarah Olive is lecturer in English in Education at the University of York. She also teaches on pedagogy at The Shakespeare Institute. Her research interests include the teaching of Shakespeare and Early Modern drama and Shakespeare’s popular cultural afterlives. Her monograph, Shakespeare Valued, will be published by Intellect in June.


Nora Williams (Exeter)

Nora is a final-year PhD candidate in drama at the University of Exeter, where she also competed an MA in Staging Shakespeare. Her research concerns the intersections between text and performance with regard to Jacobean drama. More specifically, her thesis uses Middleton and Rowley’s The Changeling as a lens through which to consider the changing cultural currency of Jacobean playwrights in the 20th and 21st centuries. She is also the Events Coordinator for the STR New Researchers’ Network and the Project Facilitator for The International Christopher Marlowe.


Richard Eales (Former Head of History at University of Kent)

Richard Eales is an academic historian, at the University of Kent in Canterbury, from 1976 to his retirement, and is author of Chess: the History of a Game. He is also a chess master of the Federation Internationale des Echecs.


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