Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on the Future of the Book

Book Building: Being A Treatise on Building, Canvassing, Sailing, and the General Management of Books and Other Artistic Craft in Storms and Heavy Weather

Dr Deborah Middleton, David Praties.

A 30 minute ‘performed lecture’, written and presented by Dr Deborah Middleton, ‘Book Building’ uses the analogy of boat-building to talk about creative writing. The performance arose out of Middleton’s innovative work at the postgraduate Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University (U.K.) and the sailing of her sixteen foot classic wooden sloop, Ida-Rose. ‘Book Building’ is a playful characterisation of Middleton’s approach to teaching creative writing practice. The piece speaks poetically of the importance of books and of creative practices, such as writing, in our lives. It makes reference to a number of poems and poets, such as Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney.
The ‘lecture’ is delivered by a character which has been described as ‘an endearingly timid genius’. She is accompanied by a musician playing an accordion. The performance is both amusing and touching.
‘Sometimes in this life you will find yourself becalmed, and sometimes turned upside down in a tempest. You will be glad, then, of a book, well-built; glad of the cosy little cabin and the big sails to catch the breath of life…’


Dr Deborah Middleton  (United Kingdom)
Senior Lecturer in Drama
Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance
University of Huddersfield

Deborah Middleton is a Senior Lecturer in Drama at the University of Huddersfield, and an Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing at the postgraduate Writing School, Manchester Metropolitan University. She is a published writer and an experienced performer, and is currently engaged in academic research into the principles of creative practice.

David Praties  (United Kingdom)

  • Creative Writing
  • Writing Practice
  • Performance

(Plenary Speaker, English)