Barrie Sheppard, the newly -elected President of the Johnson Society of Australia, has been one of our most active members since he joined the JSA in 1994. He has been a committee member since 1999, and Treasurer since 2005, a position he still retains in addition to the presidency.
Barrie, a former lecturer in English at Deakin University, previously had no special interest in Samuel Johnson, but a chance meeting with Bryan Reid, and his existing friendships with the late Rusi Khan and Clive and Meg Probyn, attracted him to the idea of joining the JSA.
He soon became a confirmed Johnsonian, and in 1996 gave his first seminar paper, a satirical treatment of Johnson’s view about the proper use of the cucumber, and several subsequent papers, the latest was on Johnson and the Problem of Evil.
Barrie’s Johnsonian interest extended overseas in 2007 when he attended the Pembroke College Conference on Johnson and the Theatre, and again this year, when he took part in the Tercentenary celebrations at both Pembroke and Lichfield.
Barrie’s expressed hopes as President are to continue the good work of previous presidents, to forge links with the Jane Austen and Shakespeare Societies , and to develop the Annual Seminar to include regular readings, short ‘stub’ papers, and a short lexicographical ‘spotlight’, as well as the usual solid academic fare.
Barrie is also half of the celebrated duo, with Bryan Reid, of “Baz and Bry” who by popular demand entertain the guests at the JSA Christmas party.