Biography Conference



Welcome to the official website of the conference

Different Lives. Global Perspectives on Biography in Public Cultures and Societies


September 19-21, 2018, hosted by the Biography Institute, University of Groningen. Please download the conference brochure here.

About the conference

“Different Lives: Global Perspectives on Biography in Public Cultures and Societies” is an international conference organized by the Biography Institute, the Biography Society and Biographer’s International Organization. It will take place from September 19 to 21, 2018, in Groningen, the Netherlands. Over the course of three days, biographers and other experts are going to take a look beyond their own borders and delve deeper into the question of how the art of biography is practiced in other parts of the world. The focus will be on themes such as the political impact of the biography, censorship, the history of the book, and the critical reception of biography. The goal is to learn more about how biography can contribute to a better understanding of differences between societies and cultures. How can biographers from different parts of the world learn from each other? Speakers from all over the world will inform us about the history and the state of the art concerning biography in their own country. They will demonstrate how biography functions as a truly public genre, featuring specific societal issues and the way biography shapes public opinion in specific cultural backgrounds.

All featured speakers will present from a wealth of different perspectives, contributing to the discussion in a mix of panels, roundtables, and public discussions. Richard Holmes (UK) will provide the keynote lecture for this conference. We will also hear from Evgeniya Petrova (Russia), Joanny Moulin (France), Elsbeth Etty (the Netherlands), Phuong Ngoc Nguyen (Vietnam), Lindie Koorts (South Africa), Daniel Meister (Canada), Doug Munro (New Zealand), María Jesús González (Spain), Sahar Vahdati Hosseinian (Iran), Yannick Gouchan (Italy), and Étienne Naveau (Indonesia). Carl Rollyson (US) will provide a lecture and Nigel Hamilton will host a masterclass for young biographers working on their first books. Additionally, he has agreed to open the conference with a lecture titled “Truth, Lies, and Fake Truth: The Future of Biography.” The conference will open with a reception on Wednesday, and close with a conference dinner on Friday.