This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Tuesday 25 October 2022, 6.30pm to 7.30pm
  • Location: Online only
  • Audience: Open to alumni, staff, students, the public
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

Black History Month Lecture

In 1766, Ignatius Sancho, one of Britain’s leading Black public intellectuals of the eighteenth century, wrote a letter to Laurence Sterne, famed author of the classic novel Tristram Shandy. Sancho praised Tristram Shandy and exclaimed: ‘My chief pleasure has been books!’ This talk will allow us to think more together about the history of Black intellectual life in Britain, giving us the opportunity to put pressure on what we may think we know about the history of Black people in British history—especially British literary history. We’ll learn more about how famed British literary giants such as Laurence Sterne, Jane Austen, and William Makepeace Thackeray represented Black life in Britain in their fiction, and we’ll also shed light on what Black writers in Britain and beyond had to say in return. As we think together about the past, we’ll consider how this Black British literary history leaves a lasting legacy today.

About the speaker

Olivia Carpenter is a lecturer in the department of English and Related Literature at the University of York. Her ongoing book project, Marriage Interruptus: Black Marriage Interrupted in the British Novel, 1791-1853 examines Black characters in British marriage plots in nineteenth-century fiction. Her research focuses on the history of Black representation in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century fiction and the lives and works of Black writers from the period.