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Who Cares? Writing about Your Research for the Non-Specialist

Date & Time:

October 23, 2018 (Tue) | 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. 


Room 1104, The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus


Mr Malcolm Litchfield
Publisher and Director, Hong Kong University Press


Workshop Format:

Participants are invited to submit a summary of no more than 250 words describing a current research project. We will discuss as many of them as possible during the workshop. All academic colleagues are invited, even if they do not submit something to be critiqued; hopefully they will profit simply from thinking about how the work of others is analyzed. All paragraphs will be presented and discussed without revealing the identity of the author. The goal is to help, not embarrass. Please submit your summary to by October 15, 2018.

About the Speaker:

While doing a PhD in music history at Princeton University, I took a 2-week temporary job at Princeton University Press and suddenly discovered the academic world beyond music. Before long, I abandoned my academic aspirations and began working full time in academic publishing, soon putting authors under contract in earth sciences. Most of my acquisitions career was spent working with authors in political science and law. I've also worked in medieval studies, literary theory, and music history. I had to learn how to talk with scholars about work in which I had no background or education. I quickly realized that academics were largely unable to get out of their head and communicate with anyone outside their discipline. I've spent decades helping authors think about how to present their ideas in ways that get attention from the non-specialist. This applies to everything from writing grant proposals and submitting book publishing proposals to discussing your work at cocktail parties. I've been the Director of Hong Kong University Press since 2014; before that I was the Director at The Ohio State University Press for 15 years. I've also worked at Princeton University Press and the University of Michigan Press.

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