ECCLES CENTER for American Studies

The group photo contains (l-r): Viscount and Viscountess Eccles, Baroness Williams, Professor Tony Badger, British Library Chairman Baroness Blackstone, Catherine Eccles and Professor Philip Davies (Director of the Eccles Centre)  © Alexander McIntyre 

The group photo contains (l-r): Viscount and Viscountess Eccles, Baroness Williams, Professor Tony Badger, British Library Chairman Baroness Blackstone, Catherine Eccles and Professor Philip Davies (Director of the Eccles Centre)  © Alexander McIntyre

The Centre continued to host an extensive range of events and activities, engaging with audiences of scholars, students, teachers and the interested public.
Cooperation with the Kennedy Memorial Trust to mark the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’ death was especially notable. A one-day conference brought a world class group of speakers to the Library. The evening talk by David Miliband was delivered to a notable audience, received press coverage, and was published in the New Statesman. Another great event was the launch, to excellent reviews, of the first book to come out of the Eccles British Library Writer in Residence program, Naomi Wood’s Mrs Hemingway. A less predictable, but exhilarating success was the screening of Forward Ever: The Killing of a Revolution, which packed out the auditorium with an audience of Caribbean Studies scholars, members of the Grenadian community in London and was attended by the High Commissioner
for Grenada.
Two more Writers in Residence joined the Center in 2014: Olivia Laing and Erica Wagner.  Both spoke at Eccles Centre events, and moved steadily towards the completion of their books, respectively on loneliness in the city, and on the building of the Brooklyn Bridge.  Meanwhile one of the Center’s first Writers in Residence, Naomi Wood, published Mrs Hemingway to considerable acclaim.  Naomi’s novel, written while she was an Eccles Center Writer in Residence, won a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize, was a finalist for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, a Harper’s Bazaar book of 2014 and listed as one of the Daily Telegraph’s best novels of 2014.
The Eccles Center helped with two new acquisitions for the Library:  The Mike Rose Baseball collection; and a set of maps published by newspapers in the United States to show the contemporary development of the Second World War on various fronts.
In May the 19th Douglas Bryant Lecture was delivered by Professor Tony Badger, Mellon Professor of American History at the University of Cambridge, and Master of Clare College.  Professor Badger has been a key figure in American Studies scholarship.  He is internationally renowned, his work on the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt reportedly even becoming essential reading in today’s White House.  He has consistently provided personal and institutional support for the UK American Studies community. Tony stepped down from his Cambridge roles this year, providing his British Library audience with an exposition both thoughtful and entertaining on ‘How Dismal is the Future of American Politics?’

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