This is my third and last Christmas message and, like all past Presidents before me, I hardly know where the time went.
The year has been even busier than usual for the committee members. At long last, we have delivered one of our early promises : to make it possible to join the IJBS, and renew our subscriptions online, with Paypal or credit card. I would especially like to thank our General Secretary, Bob Owens, who has liaised for months with the banks, our treasurers, and an IT developer to secure the website and install the payment buttons. This should make it easier for our membership to grow.
A few months ago, we welcomed our 100th member. It’s a real pleasure to witness the steady growth of our Society, but at the same time this makes it difficult for us to operate along the lines we have known in the past and to make sure all our members are regularly appraised of new developments.
We have therefore taken the opportunity to have the website professionally redesigned, so that you can find information more easily. The front page is now static and the announcements have been moved to a dedicated section, so please don’t forget to check it regularly. We have grouped the ‘Resources and publications’ together, which is where you can now find The Recorder (the most recent issue, edited by Nathalie Collé, is now available also to non-members), as well as Bunyan Studies and the Bunyan bibliography that David Parry updates on a regular basis. We have created a new page for members’ publications. If you have recent books or articles out, related to Bunyan or early modern Nonconformity, please let us know. Our Vice President, David Gay, has also created a Facebook page that you can Like from the website.
On the academic front, we had an excellent study day last April in Bedford, which you can read about here. Bedford is of course an appropriate place to launch what we hope will become a regular series, alternating between Bedford and Newcastle, thanks to Bob Owens and David Walker.
Most of the year has been dedicated to preparing our triennial conference next July in Aix-en-Provence, and we were able to release the prelimary programme a month ago. Registration will open in February or March and all the details will be posted on the conference page on the website. As you know, ten doctoral students and early career researchers will be able to come to Aix to present their work, thanks to an anonymous benefaction that we received last year. The IJBS has also offered them free membership for a year, so we are delighted to welcome them.
Neil Keeble, and the members of the Greaves committee, Ann Hughes and Cynthia Wall, have been very busy, given the many publications in our field, and the shortlist of books selected for the Greaves Prize will be made known in the new year. The winner will be announced in Aix.
Finally, the next Bunyan Studies will be out very soon, and you can expect yet another wonderful issue.
As usual, many thanks to our committee, Nathalie, David G., Galen, Bob and David W., for all their hard work on behalf of our Society, and for their commitment and dedication to our author.
We wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year and hope to see you in the summer in Provence for a beaker full of the warm South!
Anne Page, Aix-Marseille Université