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SpokenWeb: How the Audiobook Got Its Groove Back -- Zoom event with Matthew Rubery (Queen Mary University of London)


During COVID-19, individual researchers may book two-hour appointments in the SCRB reading room.

Appointments must be requested at least one week in advance, and priority will be given to SFU students, faculty, and staff. 

For more details, including available days and times, safety requirements, and how to request an appointment, see Booking appointments during COVID in Special Collections and Rare Books.


About the event

What might an audiobook liberated from preconceived notions of the printed book sound like? Whereas most literary recordings seek to imitate print formats as faithfully as possible, this presentation examines a series of performances that take advantage of the audiobook’s affordances in order to go beyond merely replicating print. Drawing on source material ranging from musician memoirs to fiction by Charles Dickens and Stephen King, it considers what’s at stake when audio publishers experiment with soundtracks that go beyond the verbal description of sounds by using actual sounds.

About Matthew Rubery

Matthew Rubery is Professor of Modern Literature at Queen Mary University of London. He is the author of The Untold Story of the Talking Book (2016) and editor of Audiobooks, Literature, and Sound Studies (2011). His most recent publication is Further Reading (2020), a collection of essays for the series Oxford Twenty-First Century Approaches to Literature.

About SpokenWeb

The SSHRC-funded SpokenWeb partnership aims to develop coordinated and collaborative approaches to literary historical study, digital development, and critical and pedagogical engagement with diverse collections of literary sound recordings from across Canada and beyond.


Matthew Rubery


October 22


10 a.m. PST



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