CFP: ‘Books on Screen’ Virtual Symposium

Call for Papers: Books on Screen
University of Leeds and Anglia Ruskin University
Wednesday, 3 November 2021

The codex has long asserted itself as an indication of its owner’s sophistication and status. Codex display under pandemic conditions has highlighted the complexities of presenting books on screen; we have become increasingly aware of the importance of book materiality through online discussions centred on #BookshelfCredibility and #PandemicBookshelves, which draw attention to the shelves lurking in our Zoom backgrounds. Such backdrops, like bookish tableaus on BookTube, Bookstagram, and other social media spaces, have invited scholarly examination of curated book displays. But this study of books on social media – books as a component of self-presentation – can be complemented by a broader study of books on screen: representations of the book in films, television, photography, game and other screen worlds. Indeed, books have long been featured on screen: the comic book in a-ha’s iconic ‘Take On Me’ music video (1985) blends into reality; the magical tome in Myst (1993) transports gamers to a mysterious island; rare books are the stars of the recent film American Animals (2018). No matter the electronic medium, the physical form of the codex continues to assert itself as prop, metaphor, and plot device.

This virtual symposium (via Zoom), hosted by the University of Leeds and Anglia Ruskin University, will explore the ways in which books are and have been represented on the screen. Presentations will take the form of 15-minute papers, allocated to relevant panels. Applications for 45-minute panel discussions (maximum four panellists) will also be considered. Both ‘book’ and ‘screen’ are defined loosely, and presentations may focus on broad concepts of bookishness or particular examples of books on screen.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Books in video games
  • Books in film and television
  • Books in photography
  • Books in social and digital media
  • Methodologies for the study of books on screen
  • The physical and metaphorical meanings of books
  • Books as characters and/or plot points
  • Social perceptions of books and bookishness
  • The histories and futures of book presentation

Papers from postgraduate students, early career scholars, and independent scholars are especially welcome.

For a paper presentation, please send a 250-word abstract and 50-word biography to by 31 March 2021. For a panel discussion, please send a 400-word abstract and 50-word biographies of all panellists.

Anticipating technical difficulties, we will request that presentation visuals and scripts for paper presentations be sent to the organisers by 27 October 2021.

The symposium is endorsed by SHARP (

This symposium will be free for all who wish to present and participate.