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Conference marks 70th birthday of Bob Dylan

Press release issued: 24 May 2011

The UK’s foremost Dylan scholars come together for a conference at the University of Bristol today, Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday, to celebrate and reflect on the career of this highly influential singer, composer, poet and performer.

The conference, hosted by the Department of English and supported by the Bristol Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts (BIRTHA), is the only one of its kind in the UK.

It will present a series of fresh, informed academic papers on Bob Dylan’s work from a number of different disciplinary perspectives.

The keynote address will be given by Michael Gray, a leading authority on the work of Bob Dylan who has written extensively about popular music. In 1972, Gray published the first critical study of Dylan's work; he is the author of Song & Dance Man III: The Art Of Bob Dylan (1999) and the Bob Dylan Encyclopedia (2006, 2008).  In a public lecture in the Powell Lecture Theatre, HH Wills Physics Building, Gray will reflect on Dylan’s career and his influence on music and poetry.

The conference will open with an introductory lecture from Professor Daniel Karlin, the recently appointed Winterstoke Professor of English in Bristol’s Department of English.  Professor Karlin reviewed Robert Shelton's No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan for The London Review of Books and has previously nominated Bob Dylan for the Nobel Prize.  He contributed the chapter, 'Bob Dylan's Names', to 'Do You Mr. Jones?': Bob Dylan Among the Poets and Professors (2002).  His forthcoming book, The Figure of the Singer, will include a chapter on Dylan.

The other speakers are: Professor David Boucher (Cardiff), Dr Richard Brown (Leeds), Professor Neil Corcoran (Liverpool), Professor Aidan Day (Dundee), Mark Ford, Lavinia Greenlaw, Professor Philip Horne (UCL), Katherine Peddie (Kent) and Craig Savage (Bristol).

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