Joe Moran, Professor of English and Cultural History at LJMU, has published his fourth book: Shrinking Violets: A Field Guide to Shyness (Profile Books). It is a literary, cultural and historical reflection on what Charles Darwin called “this odd state of mind”: shyness. Since then, Joe’s latest work has been read, discussed and praised across the media, and across the world. The Guardian review called Shrinking Violets ‘fantastic and involving’, the Daily Mail deemed it ‘nimble’ (!), the Herald loved its ‘illuminating stories gathered from across the world’, and the Spectator its ‘beautiful descriptions of the anguish of the shy’.
At the start of September Shrinking Violets was BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, read by Nigel Planer. Joe himself has been hard at work promoting his book: and all while never missing a lecture or seminar! He appeared on the BBC Radio 4 programme Thinking Allowed, in discussion with Laurie Taylor and the sociologist of shyness Susie Scott. He also appeared on The Forum on the BBC World Service, discussing shyness and introversion with the psychologist Professor Louis Schmidt and the behavioural scientist Dr Sanna Balsari-Palsule.
Joe has also been interviewed about shyness for the BBC World News television channel, the Irish radio station Newstalk, RTÉ Radio 2 and radio stations in Cape Town and Montreal. He has published articles/essays based on the book in the Guardian, the Independent and the Radio Times.
A revised American edition of Shrinking Violets will be published next spring by Yale University Press. Joe is bracing himself for the inevitable publicity!
The BBC / AHRC New Generation Thinkers scheme is an annual nationwide search for the brightest minds with the potential to share their cutting-edge academic ideas via radio and television is over. In 2015, LJMU English’s Dr Nadine Muller was one of the ten academics selected for this prestigious scheme.
Since the selection, Nadine’s work on the literary and cultural history of widowhood has been featured on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking and The Essay, and she also made a film for BBC Arts.
The ten New Generation Thinkers 2015 were selected from over five hundred applications from academics at the start of their careers, who demonstrated their passion to communicate modern scholarship to a wider audience. After a six-month selection process involving a series of day-long workshops at the BBC in Salford and London, the final ten were chosen by a panel of BBC Radio 3 and BBC Arts producers, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
“It was a really enjoyable process, right from the online application through to the workshop at Media City, and of course our launch and first broadcast recording which took place at the Hay Festival. I’m incredibly excited to have been selected as one of the final ten New Generation Thinkers this year, and I think it wasn’t until we were assessed on our 2.5 minute programme pitch and an improvised debate that I realised just how much I would enjoy presenting my research via radio and television. It’s a pleasure to write for a medium other than academic publications, and it’s a privilege to bring my work to such a big, new audience, not only because it’s a fascinating topic from a scholarly perspective but also because my research involves women whose stories have been ignored for a long time and are now at risk of being lost forever. To be able to work with an organisation as prestigious as the BBC and to have recognition of the importance and relevance of my work from the AHRC makes this opportunity particularly wonderful.”
And Alan Davey, Controller, BBC Radio 3, commented:
“BBC Radio 3 is about pushing boundaries. We are dedicated to nurturing emerging talent across culture and music, and encouraging new ways of looking at things and surprising audiences. Our New Generation Thinker Partnership with the AHRC has given us access to fresh thinking and new approaches to ideas by scholars at the start of their careers. This helps us as a broadcaster to present fascinating and complex ideas in new ways, and I hope it will give our New Generation Thinkers a huge canvas to make a big impact with their work.”