31 May, “Parchment, Pixels, and Identity: the Place of Ink in the Digital Age,” Plenary Address, Canadian Bibliographic Society, Calgary

24 May, “On Killing Fluffy Kittens, and Other Delights,” for The Gateway, University of Alberta newspaper

22 May, “From Gall Nuts to Ball Points, The Social Life of Ink,” Word on the Lake Writer’s Festival, Salmon Arm B.C.

29 February, “Ink in Arabic and Persian Manuscripts,” workshop, Aga Khan Centre, Toronto

27 February, “From Tashkent to Toronto, from Parchment to Screens: Writing the Self in the Digital Age,” Ismaili Centre and University of Toronto’s Pontifical Institute, Toronto

27 January, “On Being a Writer,” talk to grade 4 class, Meadowlark School

4 January, “The Social Life of Ink,” reading, University of Calgary


Finalist: 2015 Governor-General’s Award in Nonfiction

Winner: Wilfred Eggleston Award for Nonfiction

Finalist: Readers’ Choice Award, Edmonton Public Library

Reviews, Interviews, and Excerpts:

CBC’s The Current, with Piya Chattopadhyay, featuring a clip from Kids in the Hall, a Bic Banana ad, and a Reynold’s Rocket hockey commercial:                                                                                                        

The National Post:

“The Intimacy of Ink”:

“Bit Rot and Cultural Memory”:

“Canadian Ink”:

“On the Trail of Ink”:

He will startle and enchant you. The Social Life of Ink is a great read, even a brilliant one for some of us…technology and spirituality unite in this intriguing concoction. — Wayson Choy, “The Moving Finger Writes,” in The Literary Review of Canada  

Bishop is endearingly obsessed… [His] writing is clear, researched, unpretentious, and moves along with a gentle humour.                 – Iain Reid in The Globe and Mail                                                                                  

Bishop demonstrates impressive reporting skills throughout the narrative, as well as wit and an ability to describe scenic details…The social life of ink clearly has a bright future. – Philip Marchand in The National Post      

Bishop may be an academic …  but he’s also an engaging and witty storyteller…The Social Life of Ink is both highly personal and exceedingly relatable.  – Marcia Kaye in The Toronto Star

The Social Life of Ink is “lively and quick… due in no small part to the cast of characters Bishop has assembled” Michael Hingston in the Edmonton Journal

The Walrus magazine for December 2014 has an excerpt and a longer review by Mike Hingston:                  

CBC Edmonton AM with Mark Connolly, 21 October, on ballpoints in -30 and other inky topics:         

CBC Alberta @Noon with Donna McElligott, 29 October: a phone -in show that ends with Xander, age 6 1/2, who makes his own ink out of blueberries; my segment starts at 29.30, Xander comes in at 50.30

Screens With Spines – a new digital storytelling platform from the Banff Centre Press has launched with a revised excerpt from The Social Life of Ink

CITY TV Breakfast show – 4 minutes at 6:00 a.m., 22 October 2014                    

Events 2015:

13, 15 November, “The Cultural Life of Ink,” invited talks to staff at the Harry Ransom Center, Austin TX

21 October, Amanda Schutz Book Club 15 October, Edmonton’s LitFest, MC at the Mercury Room for Jenna Butler, Ivan Coyote, and the Elevator Cabaret

30 September, “My (Rocky) Road to (Comparative) Success,” Spruce Grove Public Library

28 September, “Bombers and Ballpoints,” Royal Military College, Kingston

27 September, Word On The Street, reading, Toronto Harbourfront

20 September, Word On The Street, reading, Saskatoon

28 August, Wayzgoose, Turtle Press, guest at fabulous dinner, Royal Yacht Club, Vancouver

13 July, Finalists’ Panel, Edmonton Public Library, Readers’ Choice Awards

26 June, “Kill the Fluffy Kittens, Kill! Kill!” talk to JustWrite, Edmonton

24 June, “Ink and the Archive,” Alberta Archives

16 June, Bloomsday Reading, CKUA radio

1- 30 May, teaching Travel Writing, Cortona, Italy

23 April 2015, Marg’s book club

30 March, McNally Robinson Bookstore, Saskatoon, reading

28 March, McNally Robinson Bookstore, Winnipeg, Community Classroom: Making Ink

26 March, Upper Crust Café, reading with Kevin Chong and Connie Gault

20 March, Creative Mornings, Edmonton: “Ink Binds Us”

19 March, Woodcroft Library, reading

19 February, Chapters on Robson St., Vancouver, reading

17 February, University of Victoria, reading

30 January, Canadian Authors’ Association, “Dreaming in Ink,”

31 January, CAA, Travel Writing Workshop

8 January, Cliff’s Book Club

13 December, A Night of Ink at Edmonton’s Artist Book and Zine Fair, SNAP Gallery, Edmonton

10 December, Larry Judge’s Book Club

Creative Nonfiction Collective Cabaret, Loft 112, Calgary, 22 November

Launch Party, Iconoclast Café, Edmonton (with $2 drinks!),  13 November

“Sex and the Semicolon,” a lecture for the Canada-wide Long Night Against Procrastination, U of A, 7 November, 5:00 a.m.

“A Lot of Gall: Ink from the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Digital Age,” Scholarly and Creative Expo, Okanagan College, Kelowna, 5 November

THE SOCIAL LIFE OF INK, Edmonton’s LitFest

Wednesday, 22 October 7:00 pm, downstairs theatre, Stanley Milner Library

A galling lecture on ink to the Legal Forum, Mayfair Club, Edmonton, 16 October

THE SOCIAL LIFE OF INK, Calgary’s WordFest

Tuesday, 14 October

2:00 – workshop on writing narrative nonfiction
5:00 – reading from The Social Life of Ink

Word on the Square: reading and conversation with Michael Hingston, novelist and Edmonton Journal books editor, 7 October, Sir Winston Churchill Square.

Moderator for “E versus Paper: The Turning Points,” a fascinating panel with Gerald Beasley, Marry Bennett, and Janice Sundar at the PAGESIV conference, Edmonton Public Library, 3 October

Jil McIntosh, freelance writer, pen enthusiast, and hot rodder (she drives a ’47 Cadillac named ‘Lucille’) wrote about my project for the sumptuous Pen World International (August 2012).

“8 Things You Didn’t Know About Ink,” Avenue magazine, September 2012:

Photographer Darren Wolf put me in an ink-stained shirt, writer Cailynn Klingbeil took notes in pen:

“Ink fascinates me because it’s so common that it’s invisible. As an English professor and writer, I’ve spent my whole life immersed in ink, but I never actually think about it. Today there’s something a little bit secret about ink and writing by hand — a kind of intimacy. We connect with things differently when we actually write them down instead of typing.”


Ted Bishop wanted to read the history of ink, but found no one had written it yet. From the Dead Sea scrolls to frozen prairie ink wells, meet the Edmonton professor writing the book on ink in tonight’s Around Alberta (original air date: Monday, May 14, 2012).

“Is Ink Becoming Obsolete?”

CBC radio, Alberta at Noon, host Donna McElligott.


July 19, Banff: reading, hosted by CBC / Globe writer Ian Brown, with award-winning nonfictionista Charlotte Gill (Eating Dirt, a brilliant year in the life of a tree planter), for the Banff Centre’s Literary Journalism program, at Communitea in Canmore.

July 5-7, Munich: plenary lecture, “Tempo Giusto: the Art of Slow” at “Cultures of Mobility: A Trans­atlantic Perspective,” the international conference of the Bavarian American Academy in Munich.

June 26, Austin TX: “Tracking the Ballpoint,” at the Harry Ransom Research Center.

May 24, 25, Ottawa: “Canadian Middlebrow Goes Motorcycling: Narrative Nonfiction From Magazine to Book,” lecture for the Advance Research Seminar, “Magazines, Travel & Middlebrow Culture in Canada 1925-1960.”

April 26: back-up guitar for pianist Jerome Martin at the University of Alberta Press’s annual Literary Cocktails event.

April 11: talk on travel writing, with Lindsay Ingram’s creative writing class, grades 10 – 12, Victoria School

March 1:  featured reader at “Back Over the Mountains,” Jane Marshall’s fundraiser for the Shree Mangal Dvip Boarding School in Nepal.

The Social Life of InkTed Bishop’s “The Social Life of Ink” lectures meditate on our present moment of change – from ink to the digital realm – by going back to the pivotal moment of invention in the development of ink. He’ll look at the inksticks of Ming dynasty China, the gall nut ink that wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls and the world’s oldest Qur’an, as well as the ballpoint pen itself. Read More >

March 13, 15, 16:  the Broadus Lectures in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, on “The Social Life of Ink.”
Pens still have the Write Stuff.

March 13th – “From Bomber Crews to the Bourne Identity, the Ballpoint Pen as Instrument of War”

March 15th – ” Power, Passion, and Smoke: Ming Dynasty Inksticks”

March 16th – “Samarkand, Islam, and the Erotics of Ink”

Edmonton Journal:

Ted Bishop - Edmonton Journal

Is the inkwell about to run dry? Ted Bishop says no….
“More and more as our interactions become digital there’s this longing for the tactile, the actual.”

Hungarian review: by Zipernovszky, Kornél

A tinta története mint ürügy a világcsavargásra …