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MA candidate Sara Penn awarded international research grant for BIPOC researchers

January 21, 2022

The Department of English congratulates MA candidate, Sara Penn, who has been awarded one of four international research development grants by the international book history association, the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP). The grant recognizes the work of BIPOC researchers specializing in book history, such as Penn, who outlines her work below:

My project explores England’s first known female chapbook publisher, Ann Lemoine (fl. 1795–1820), and her anonymous chapbooks to interrogate book history’s prioritization of the codex and male authorial genius. Widely disseminated among the late 18th-century’s working class, chapbooks were short, cheaply bound booklets comprising memoirs, stories, songs, and tales. Although a recent subject of scholarly interest, the contents and cultural role of chapbooks have been traditionally overlooked by bibliographers and literary historians. On one hand, they are difficult to locate and study in part because they are often unattributed and rarely associated with known authors, a condition through which most books enter scholarly discussion. And on the other hand, most of these transient print forms did not survive despite the large quantity of them that were produced and therefore have not been collected and preserved to the same degree as their codex counterparts. How, then, does bibliography account for cheap print and non-authorial women’s labour? Using textual analysis and bibliographical metadata that I have created on over 280 of Lemoine’s chapbooks through SFU’s database on 18th-century women’s books, the Women’s Print History Project, this project traces how Lemoine and her chapbooks embody several bibliographical challenges within the larger context of 18th-century British book history.  

I’m grateful to my supervisors, Professors Michelle Levy and Betty A. Schellenberg, for guiding my project in wonderful directions. I look forward to presenting my work on Lemoine, for the first time, at SHARP’s annual conference in July. For more information on the Women's Print History Project, please visit: https://womensprinthistoryproject.com

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