MAIN SPEAKERS


The 2005 Book Conference will feature plenary session addresses by some of the world's leading thinkers and innovators in the fields of publishing, libraries, information systems, literacy and learning, as well as numerous parallel presentations by researchers and practitioners.

Garden Conversation Sessions

Main speakers will make formal 30 minute presentations in the plenary sessions. They will also participate in 60 minute Garden Conversation sessions at the same time as the parallel sessions. The setting is a circle of chairs outdoors. These sessions are entirely unstructured - a chance to meet the plenary speaker and talk with them informally about the issues arising from their presentation.



The Speakers


  • David Taylor

  • David Taylor joined Lightning Source UK in June 2003 as Business Development Director and was named as Managing Director in December 2003. He has over 20 years of experience in the UK and international book trades in a wide variety of roles, covering retail bookselling, international library book and journal supply and internet bookselling.

    Before joining Lightning Source, David co founded swotbooks.com Ltd, a niche online company selling paper books and ebooks to the academic community. Swotbooks was shortlisted for a British Book Trade award for innovation in 2002 and was also the subject of a number of best practice case studies. David continues to serve as a non executive director on the swotbooks' Board. David is also a previous director of Blackwell's Book Services, the international library supply company based in Oxford.

    He is actively involved in the UK bookselling trade association and is both a previous Chairman of the College and University Booksellers group and the Internet Booksellers group, the latter of which he helped to found; he also served on the UK and Irish Booksellers' Association Council for nine years. He is a regular speaker at industry conferences and has also published a number of articles on the impact that new technologies have had on the bookselling supply chain.


  • John Feather

  • John Feather has been Professor of Library of Information Studies at Loughborough University since 1988. He was educated at Oxford, was a Research Fellow of Darwin College Cambridge, and worked in publishing and librarianship before moving to Loughborough. He has served as Head of Department (1990-94, and since 2003), Dean of Education and Humanities (1994-6) and Pro-Vice Chancellor (1996-2000).

    His many publications include A history of British publishing (1987), of which a fully revised edition will be published in 2005, and The information society: a study in continuity and change (4th ed., 2004). With his colleague, James Dearnley, he is editing the International Encyclopaedia of Publishing, to be published by Routledge.


  • Juliet Gardiner

  • Juliet Gardiner has been a research fellow, magazine editor, publisher and academic. She was head of Publishing Studies at Oxford Brookes before becoming a full time writer in 2001.

    Juliet has written twelve books, the most recent of which is Wartime Britain, 1939-1945.


  • Antony Beevor

  • Antony Beevor is the author of Stalingrad, which won the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Wolfson Prize for History and the Hawthornden Prize.

    Antony's next book was Berlin - The Downfall 1945, which was also translated into twenty-five foreign languages. This was followed by The Mystery of Olga Chekhova. He is about to publish as joint editor A Writer at War, the wartime papers of the Russian novelist, Vasily Grossman. He is currently chairman of the Society of Authors.

    Author image by Graham Jepson


  • Carole Blake

  • Carole Blake has been a literary agent since 1977, a past President of the Association of Authors' Agents, past Chairman of the Society of Bookmen and currently Chairman of the book trade charity, BTBS.

    Carole's book From Pitch to Publication (Macmillan,1999) is currently in its eighth printing. Carole's clients include Gilbert Adair, Jane Asher, Barbara Erskine, Ann Granger, Maeve Haran, Lawrence Norfolk, Joseph O'Connor, Sheila O'Flanagan and Michael Ridpath.


  • Chris Meade

  • Chris Meade is Executive Director of Booktrust, the national charity promoting books and reading. It runs Bookstart, the books for babies scheme promised major longterm funding in Gordon Brown's three year spending review. He was Director of the Poetry Society for six years where he set up the Poetry Cafe and initiated Poetry Places, the lottery funded scheme which put poets into a wide range of community venues.

    Chris was arts officer for public libraries in Sheffield and Birmingham and in 1989 ran the Opening The Book Festival in Sheffield with Rachel Van Riel, pioneering 'creative reading' and reader development work in libraries.


  • Xin Guangwei

  • Xin Guangwei,B.A., born in October 1963, he is an internationally-known researcher in the area of Chinese publishing. He previously worked as an editor and as a specialist in copyright and intellectual property. Currently, he is Director of the Quality Supervision Division of Department of Book Publication, the General Administration of Press and Publication of P.R. China (GAPP).

    He has written and published several books about publishing, including the first English book about the Chinese publishing industry, Publishing in China: An Essential Guide (English edition published by Thomson Learning; Korean edition published by Book’s Hill Publishers), The Chinese Publishing Industry in the World, Copyright Exchange and Chinese Publishing ( Both published in the Chinese Mainland and Taiwan) and The Publishing History of Taiwan.

    Xin Guangwei also holds positions on several editorial boards. He is Executive Editor-in-Chief for the 'China Book Almanac', Editor-in-Chief for 'Annual Selects of World Chinese Publications', and a member of the editorial board of 'Publication World' magazine. His book, Publishing in China, received acclaim from such publishing professionals as Patricia Schroeder, CEO of the American Association of Publishers, Volker Neuman, Chairman of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Prof. Paul Richardson, Oxford Brookes University, Yu Youxian, Chairman of the Publishers Association of China, and Robert E. Baensch, Director, Center for Publishing, New York University.

    He has initiated and edited several influential books, such as The Complete Works of Zhang Dainian, which received the China National Book Award, and A Practical Guide to Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China, the first comprehensive book about copyright in China.


  • D. J. Taylor

  • D. J. Taylor is the author of five novels, most recently "English Settlement" (1996), winner of a Grinzane Cavour Award, "Trespass" (1998) and "The Comedy Man" (2001). His new novel, "Kept", will be published early in 2006. He has also written two books of criticism, including "After the War: The Novel and England Since 1945" (1993), and a biography of Thackeray. His "Orwell: The Life" won the 2003 Whitbread Biography Prize.


  • Boyd Tonkin

  • Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor of the Independent.


  • David Lynn

  • David Lynn has been the editor of 'The Kenyon Review' since 1994, and is the editor of 'The Best of the Kenyon Review'. A new collection of his short stories, 'Year of Fire', will be published by Harcourt in December 2005. He is also the author of the novel 'Wrestling with Gabriel', 'Fortune Telling', a collection of stories, and 'The Hero's Tale: Narrators in the Early Modern Novel', a critical study. His stories and essays have appeared in magazines and journals in America, England, India, and Australia. David Lynn lives in Gambier, Ohio with his wife, Wendy Singer, and their two children, Aaron and Elizabeth. He is a Professor of English at Kenyon College.


  • Philip Blackwell

  • Philip is the Chairman of Blackwell Limited the international book distribution and retail business.

    He began his career with B. Dalton Booksellers in USA before returning to the UK to work in a number of roles in bookselling and publishing with Harper Collins, HodderHeadline and Blackwell.

    Prior to rejoining Blackwell, Philip was Director of the eBusiness and CRM team at Cap Gemini. He has an MSc from London University and is a Sloan Fellow of the London Business School.




  • David Prosser

  • David Prosser was appointed the first director of SPARC Europe in October 2002. SPARC Europe is an alliance of 110 research-led university libraries from 14 European countries. It is affiliated with SPARC based in Washington, DC, which represents over 200 institutions, mainly in North America. SPARC Europe and SPARC work to develop and promote new models of scholarly communication that increase the access to and utility of the research literature.

    Before joining SPARC Europe, David spent ten years in science, technical, and medical journal publishing for both Oxford University Press and Elsevier Science. During this time he was involved in all aspects of publishing from production through to editorial and financial management of journals. Before becoming a publisher he received a PhD and BSc in Physics from Leeds University, UK.


  • Henry Reece

  • Dr Henry Reece is Secretary to the Delegates and Chief Executive of Oxford University Press, the largest university press in the world and a department of the University of Oxford. OUP publishes a very wide range of scholarly books and journals, educational titles, English Language Teaching titles, and major reference works. It is now a very active on-line publisher, its most recent major initiative being the launch of Oxford Scholarship Online in late 2003.

    Educated at the University of Bristol (BA First Class Honours in Modern History) and St John’s College, Oxford (D Phil in Modern History), Henry taught briefly at the University of Exeter before joining Prentice Hall, the leading US college publisher, in 1979. With Prentice Hall, and then Simon and Schuster, which acquired Prentice Hall in the mid-1980s, he was promoted through a series of sales management positions, culminating in his appointment to head up sales in the UK and Western Europe. He then moved across to the editorial function and was executive editor for business for Allyn & Bacon, another Simon and Schuster company, in Boston, Massachusetts.

    He returned to the UK in 1991 to work for Pearson and was rapidly promoted to managing director of Pitman Publishing, the specialist business book publisher. At the beginning of 1994 he became executive director of Longman Group and a year later transferred to Pearson Professional, the newly created professional and business publishing division within Pearson, as executive director. During the period 1991-1998 he was heavily involved in the development of the Heriot Watt Distance Learning MBA, which rapidly became one of the three largest MBA programmes in the world. He also had responsibility for Pearson’s multimedia training business and sponsored the acquisition of Henley Distance Learning and the Open College. He also has experience of running consultancy, financial magazine, newsletter, reference and legal publishing businesses.

    He joined Oxford University Press as Chief Executive in July 1998, was President of the Publishers Association from 2004/05, and is a Professorial Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford.


  • Peter Mayer

  • Peter Mayer, Overlook Press & Duckworth Publishers.


  • Ronald Milne

  • Acting Director of Oxford University Library Services and Bodley’s Librarian since August 2004. Ronald Milne has had a regular career in university libraries in the UK. He has worked at the University of London (on the staff of the Library Resources Co-ordinating Committee), Glasgow University, Trinity College Cambridge and King’s College London.

    Prior to taking up the post of Deputy Director at Oxford, in November 2002, he was based at the University of Edinburgh, where he was Director of the Research Support Libraries Programme, a £30M initiative for UK university libraries funded by the Higher Education Funding Councils.


  • Henry Chakava

  • Henry Chakava, chairman of Kenyan publishing company, East African Educational Publishers (EAEP) and East African Book Distributors, began his publishing career in 1972 as an apprentice editor at Heinemann Educational Books in Kenya. EAEP's catalogue boasts of titles by some of African's leading authors including Ngugi wa Th'ongo, Francis Imbuga and Taban lo Liyong.

    From editor, Chakava rose through the ranks holding various positions including being publishing manager and managing director at Heinemann before he left to join EAEP in a similar capacity.

    An author in his own right, Chakava has written several books and articles on literary criticism and on the African book industry. He has also given presentations and lectures at various international conferences and institutes. In 1984 Chakava was decorated by Kenya's head of state for outstanding service to Kenya.


  • John Thompson

  • John B. Thompson is Professor of Sociology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge. His many publications include Ideology and Modern Culture (1990), The Media and Modernity (1995) and Political Scandal (2000); he was awarded the European Amalfi Prize for Sociology and the Social Sciences in 2001 for Political Scandal.

    Since 2000 he has been working on the changing structure of the modern book publishing industry. The first phase of this research, which is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council in Britain, was concerned with academic and higher education publishing in Britain and the United States; the results are presented in his new book, Books in the Digital Age (Polity, 2005).

    Professor Thompson is currently working on the second phase of his research which is focused on the world of trade publishing and the making of bestsellers.


  • Monica Seeber

  • Monica Seeber started her publishing career at Ravan Press, the anti-apartheid South African publishing house. She is committed to skills development in African publishing, has been in the forefront of training initiatives and is a Founder Member of the African Publishers Network (APNET). She was also involved with the Zimbabwe International Book Fair as its agent for South Africa. Now a publishing consultant, she specialises in copyright and contracts and has been involved for many years in the collective administration of rights. A co-author of the book 'The Politics of Publishing in South Africa', Monica currently lives partly in the United Kingdom and partly in South Africa.




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