Only SHARP members with a reasonable history of engagement with the Society will recall the printed versions of SHARP News that turned up regularly in the post. The publication went virtual in 2014 and focused exclusively on reviews, covering an impressively wide array of new scholarship relevant to book history. Unfortunately, it also ended up virtually disappearing from the radars of many SHARP members.
So this is an exciting moment, as the Society relaunches SHARP News under the editorship of Andie Silva and a team of reviewers and contributors. In addition to reviews of publications, SHARP News will also cover exhibitions and events, and supply a quarterly list of upcoming conferences, workshops, calls for papers, and other items of note for book historians.
I think what was lost in the move to a focus on reviews was not the content, but the sense of community that SHARP News helped foster. SHARP members strongly value the Society’s emphasis on collegiality and enthusiasm for welcoming new members. SHARP News plays a crucial role in facilitating those contacts and interests. At a time when most of us are, at best, confined within our own national borders, the need for our community to be able to share is more important than ever. Obviously SHARP-L provides a good forum for notifications about immediate matters and for queries and responses on particular topics, while SHARP News will offer a distilled context for the daily work we all do, updates about opportunities to develop our knowledge or share our ideas, and informed reflections on the latest work emerging in our multifaceted discipline.
So think of SHARP News as a sustaining quarterly dose of the riches that we all enjoy at conferences—hearing about what people are working on, scheming about how we might collaborate, learning about new approaches and emerging work.
Obviously, in order for such a newsletter to work, Andie will require news and contributions. She has a call for participants on the website (https://www.sharpweb.org/sharpnews/), but you are also welcome to contact her about a particular idea or submission without necessarily committing yourself to becoming a regular correspondent. A community can only work if all of us join in and contribute to the diverse array of voices that makes SHARP so intellectually exciting.
With best wishes to Andie and all of her associates for such a timely relaunch of a much-missed publication.