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Bodley Lecture: A Don’s Life and Award of Bodley Medal

Tuesday 5 April 2016

1 Hour


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£12 - £25

Ticket price

Britain’s best known classicist Professor Mary Beard talks to Bodley’s Librarian Richard Ovenden about her life and work and the public statements that have often seen her at the centre of controversy. Following the event she will receive the Bodley Medal given for outstanding contribution to the worlds of literature, arts, science and communication.

Beard holds a chair of classics at the University of Cambridge and is classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement. She is author of the Wolfson Award-winning Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town, and many other works about the classical period. Her latest is SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, a new look at Roman history that evaluates how the Romans thought of themselves and why they still matter to us. Her television work includes a BBC documentary on Pompeii and a three-part BBC series Meet the Romans with Mary Beard. She writes a widely read blog for The Times, A Don’s Life.

Beard has been a powerful advocate for the public voice of women, from her now famous televised lecture ‘Oh do shut up, Dear’  to regular appearances on the BBC’s Question Time. In the process, she has faced abuse for some of her public statements on such things as welcoming immigrant workers, the role of western foreign policy in destabilising the world order and providing a breeding ground for the very terrorism that the West so fears, and occasionally cycling the wrong way down a one-way street. She has spoken about the obligation of academics in particular to express opinions that may be unpopular.

Following this event, Beard will be presented with the Bodley Medal, which is awarded to those who have made a major contribution to the worlds of literature, arts, science and communication. Previous recipients include Peter Carey, Alan Bennett, Oliver Sacks, Hilary Mantel, Nicholas Hytner and Ian McEwan.

Presented by the Bodleian Libraries.