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Principal Investigator

Shaf TowheedDr Shafquat Towheed is Senior Lecturer in the English department, The Open University. He directs the UK Reading Experience Database, 1450-1945, and the Book History Research Group. He is the author, editor or co-editor of nine books and has researched and written extensively on the history of reading practices, and with Professor Jonathan Rose, he is co-editor of Palgrave Macmillan’s ‘New Directions in Book History’ series. His most recent publications are (co-edited with Edmund King) Reading and the First World War: Readers, Texts, Archives (Palgrave, 2015) and Austen and Romantic Writing (Open University, 2016). In terms of teaching, he has contributed to a range of print and online teaching material for the Open University, and has produced and chaired a number of English modules, most recently A334: English Literature from Shakespeare to Austen.


Edmund King Dr Edmund King is a Research Associate in the English department, The Open University, where he works on the UK Reading Experience Database, 1450-1945. He has just co-edited (with Shafquat Towheed) an essay collection, Reading and the First World War: Readers, Texts, Archives (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) and has written a number of scholarly articles in the field of book history. His main area of research interest at the moment is British military readerships during the First World War and he is currently working on a book project about the reading habits of British prisoners of war, 1914–1918. He is a member of the module team in presentation for A334: English Literature from Shakespeare to Austen and he also teaches on the 'Historical Reader' section of the Institute of English Studies History of the Book MA.

Research Associate

Maya Parmar Dr Maya Parmar joined the English department, The Open University, in September 2013. Maya works across two English department projects Reading Communities and Beyond the Frame: Indian British Connections. She is a member of the Postcolonial Literatures Research Group. Maya's intellectual interest in diaspora, memory and migration has resulted in several journal article publications. Her primary research explores the ways in which the twice-displaced Gujarati East African diaspora in Britain represent cultural identity. Maya is also interested in the ways in which research can be shared with public audiences. In 2012, she conceptualized and delivered public engagement activities, which were supported by Arts Council England and the University of Leeds. Expulsion: 40 Years On sought to mark the 40th anniversary of the expulsion of the South Asian community from Uganda. 

Reading Communities: Connecting the Past and the Present, an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project

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