woman reading a book at a table

The Lockdown Reading Project explores how reading has been affected during the Coronavirus pandemic

  • 21 April 2021
  • 1 hour watch

The University of Portsmouth's Interdisciplinary Webinar Series, chaired by Leïla Choukroune, Professor of International Law and Director of the University of Portsmouth Thematic Area in Democratic Citizenship continues with a presentation from members of the Lockdown Reading Project from the University of Portsmouth and the University of Copenhagen.

In this webinar Professor Tina Lupton, Dr Ben Davies and Johanne Gormsen Schmidt from the Lockdown Reading Project discussed the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on how and why people read novels in Denmark and the UK. The team explored the tensions between increases in time for reading and the difficulties people have experienced when reading this past year.

Working with quantitative and qualitative data collected as part of this research collaboration between the University of Copenhagen and the University of Portsmouth, this talk will examine, in particular, the ways in which the pandemic has unevenly disrupted people’s time, with some gaining time for reading and others losing it.


Christina Lupton is Professor and Director of the Institute of Modern Languages at the University of Copenhagen. She is author of three monographs: Knowing Books (2012), Reading and the Making of Time (Johns Hopkins, 2018), and Love and the Novel (Profile, 2021).

Johanne Gormsen Schmidt is postdoc at the Institute of Modern Languages at the University of Copenhagen. Her dissertation, The Art of Insignificance: Aesthetics and Practice at the Publishing House Basilisk (2020), is invested in the current efforts to combine sociology and literature. She is editor of the literary journal Passage.

Ben Davies is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Portsmouth, UK. He is the author of Sex, Time, and Space in Contemporary Fiction (2016), editor of John Burnside (2020) and co-editor of Sex, Gender and Time in Fiction and Culture (2011).

Research Futures: Novel Reading During the COVID-19 Pandemic