Dr Millicent Weber

BA (Hons); PhD
Senior Lecturer in English
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: +61 2 6125 8433

Research interests

  • Audiobooks
  • Live and digital literary culture
  • Readerships and reading practices
  • Contemporary publishing
  • Cultural policy and creative industries discourse
  • Book and library history

Biography

Millicent is a Senior Lecturer in English in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics. She researches how people engage with books and literary culture: everything from prizes and book reviews, to audience experience at literary festivals, to social media trolling of authors, to amateur production of audiobooks, podcasts, and fan-fiction. She has a particular interest in the role technology plays in how books are written, published and read. She has also worked as an archivist at the University of Melbourne Archives and the National Library of Australia. Her first book, Literary Festivals and Contemporary Book Culture, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018.

Researcher's projects

Audiobooks and Digital Book Culture: Australian Books and Publishing at a Time of Global Disruption

2024-ongoing

This project is a comprehensive study of Australian audiobooks and the social, cultural, economic and technological contexts in which they are published, circulated, read and discussed. It concentrates on Australian publishing and its relationship tointernational trends, generalising from this to understand major global changes to Anglophone publishing and media industries. It analyses local and international audiobooks’ role in Australian book culture and reading practices. This includes how they fit with established reader habits and tastes, cultural formations, and institutions, such as book clubs, festivals, prizes, reviews, libraries, and school curricula.

 

The Public Value of the Local Book

2022-ongoing

This project investigates the value that books contribute to Australian society beyond strictly economic measurements. It explores and experiments with data that might be collected and used to evidence books' impact across diverse domains, including social, cultural, human, intellectual, manufactured, and natural. In doing so, it aims to generate a resource toolkit that publishers and writers can use to advocate for consideration and support of books in policy, funding and other public contexts.

 

Book Publicists and the Labour of Cultural Intermediation

2019-2023

The role of publicists in book publishing is both important and ill-understood. This has important implications, particularly with publishing professionals in publicity and marketing reporting higher rates of workplace sexual harrassment in industry surveys. This project conducted and anaysed interviews with publicists working for Australian book publishers to better understand the important affective and cultural labour that publicists perform. 

 

Literary Festivals and Contemporary Book Culture

2013-2018

There has been a proliferation of literary festivals in recent decades, with more than 450 now held annually in the UK and Australia alone. These festivals operate as tastemakers shaping cultural consumption; as educational and policy projects; as instantiations, representations, and celebrations of literary communities; and as cultural products in their own right. As such they strongly influence how literary culture is produced, circulates and is experienced by readers in the twenty-first century. This project explored how audiences engage with literary festivals, and analysed these festivals’ relationship to local and digital literary communities, to the creative industries focus of contemporary cultural policy, and to the broader literary field. Combining interviews with festival audiences and staff and a large-scale audience survey, this project investigated these festivals’ social, cultural, commercial, and political operation.

Available student projects

I welcome contact from prospective research students interested in contemporary book culture. I am particularly interested in supervising research that examines the relationship between books and aspects of the social, cultural, economic, technological, or political contexts in which they are produced, circulated, read, or discussed. 

Publications

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Updated:  21 April 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers