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Undergraduate courses

Dr Sebastian Groes

Dr Sebastian Groes

Senior Lecturer (English Literature)

Department of English and Creative Writing


Sebastian is Senior Lecturer in Modern English Literature. His interests focus on twentieth and twenty-first century Literature, Culture and Theory, with particular emphases on Modernism, contemporary fiction, 'postcolonial' work, contemporary women's writing (including Muslim women's fiction), and the representation of cities - London in particular. He is Principal Investigator of the Memory Network, an AHRC and Wellcome Trust-funded Research Network bringing scientists, arts and humanities scholars, writers and artists together to think critically and creatively about memory in the twenty-first century. He is also editor of the oldest literary magazine in the Lowlands, DWB.

Sebastian is currently finishing British Fictions of the Sixties (Bloombury Academic), and editing a collaborative book with Memory Network members, Memory in the Twenty-first Century: Critical Perspectives from the Arts, Humanities and the Sciences (Palgrave, 2014). He is also preparing critical volumes on the work of Haruki Murakami (with Heather Yeung) and on Will Self with M. Hunter Hayes.    

Sebastian has worked on, and with, authors such as Will Self, Kazuo Ishiguro, A. S. Byatt, Ian McEwan, Julian Barnes, Iain Sinclair, Hanif Kureishi, Maureen Duffy, Niall Griffiths, Tom McCarthy, Tiffany Murray, Susanna Jones, Helen Walsh and Kevin Sampson. He has also collaborated with visual artists and creative academics including Christian Nold, Nicoline van Harskamp, Hugo Spiers, Miek Zwamborn, Sam Roberts and Kamala Katbamna.

Sebastian is a Series Editor of Contemporary Critical Perspectives (Bloomsbury Academic), which includes volumes on J. G. Ballard; Ian McEwan; Kazuo Ishiguro, Julian Barnes, Sarah Waters, Andrea Levy, Ali Smith, A. L. Kennedy, Salman Rushdie and John Burnside. His monograph The Making of London (Palgrave) was published in 2011, and British Fiction in the Sixties (Bloomsbury Academic) will be published in 2014. Palgrave published a co-edited volume on Kazuo Ishiguro's work: Kazuo Ishiguro: Critical Visions of the Novels (2011). Sebastian next project is a book exploring the relationship between literature and surveillance, Observing Fiction: Literature and Surveillance from 1984 to 9/11 (2016). In 2014, he will also also work on the distributed consciousness of adolescents in a project called The Prosthetic Gods. Recently he has written journal articles and essays on authors including Virginia Woolf, W. G. Sebald; Iain Sinclair; Nell Dunn; J. G. Ballard; B. S. Johnson; Stella Gibbons; and Monica Ali. Sebastian has also reviewed fiction for The Guardian, and he is an editor of the Journal American, British and Canadian Studies, which has published a Special Edition on the work of Julian Barnes. Sebastian is also a regular contributor to The Literary Encyclopedia. He welcomes research students who are interested in any aspect of twentieth or twenty-first century literature and/or culture, creative writing, and he is particularly interested in supervising work on time, memory and consciousness; place/space; psychogeography; spying, surveillance and carceral theory; subversive and experimental literatures and radical aesthetics; and 'the posthuman'. He also works with, and welcomes new, creative writing students.

Sebastian is psychogeographer as well, and writes and thinks about the spirit of place, taking him to curious places such as the French business park Sophia-Antipolis and Heathrow airport. He once shot a film threading together all embassies in Bratislava, followed the dog catchers of Bucharest and explored pavement rehabilitation in Kuala Lumpur. You can listen to a walk of London's Elephant and Castle area for artist Kamala Katbamna or read a surreal walk through Los Angeles.

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MA (VU University, Amsterdam), MA (East Anglia), PhD (East Anglia)

Research interests


Sebastian is Principal Investigator of the Memory Network, a multi-disciplinary enterprise that brings together researchers, authors and artists, and organisations to provoke and fuel original thinking about memory in the twenty-first century. It is led by the University of Roehampton and Durham University and is funded by the AHRC and Wellcome Trust. You can find more information, and become a member, on the Memory Network website.


Sebastian has written on authors including James Joyce, Proust, and Kafka, and will be presenting new work at the Modernisms Now BAMS international conference in 2014.


I'm delivering a talk at Yale University, 21 February, 2014 on the impact of surveillance on the human mind in the digital age.

I'm a keynote speaker at Amsterdam University College on memory and offloading cognition to the internet.

I'm am keynote speaker at the John Burnside conference held at Southampton University, November 2014.

Consultancy experience

Media: BBC radio and TV; Guardian; Museum of London; Nesta; Cheltenham Literary Festival; Edinburgh Literary Festival; Serpentine Gallery etc.

Peer reviewer for: Edinburgh UP, PalgraveMacmillan, Bloomsbury Academic, Gothic Studies, C21 Literature, European Journal of Cultural Studies, English Studies, Clio: A Journal of Literature, History and teh History of Literature, European Journal of Cultural Studies,  

Taught courses


English Literature


MA/PGDip Modern Literature and Culture






'Residual Traces of Postmodernism in Contemporary English Literature' in Reconsidering the Postmodern: European Literature beyond Relativism. Eds. Thomas Vaessens and Yra van Dijk Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 123-145.

'The Texture of Modernity in J. G. Ballard's Crash, High-rise and Concrete Island, in J. G. Ballard: Critical Visions, ed. Jeannette Baxter and Roland Wymer. Houndmills: Palgrave, 2011.

'Ian McEwan and the Modernist Consciousness of the City, in Contemporary Critical Perspectives: Ian McEwan, ed. Groes, S. New York/London: Continuum, 2009, pp. 99-114.

'From Shanghai to Shepperton: Crises of Representation in J. G. Ballard's Londons', in Contemporary Critical Perspectives:J.G. Ballard, ed. J. Baxter.New York/London: Continuum, 2009, pp. 78-93.

'Ghost Signs: London's Fading Spectacle of History' Literary London: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Representation of London Volume 5, Number 2, September 2007,

'The blown-by forgotten strands of sky between them': Monica Ali's London, ABC Journal, Volume 8, July 2007, p. 99-127. 

'Iain Sinclair's Ships of Fools: The Language of the Mad in Downriver' In: City Visions: The Work of Iain Sinclair. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholar Press, 2007, pp. 174-86.

'McLiterature: The Effects of Globalisation on Literature.' (2003)



The Making of London: Representations of London in Contemporary Fiction. Palgrave, 2011.

British Fiction in the Sixties. Bloomsbury Academic, 2014.

Observing Fictions: Literature and Surveillance from 1984 to 9/11. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

The Prosthetic Gods. OHP, 2015.

(Co-)Edited collections:

Kazuo Ishiguro: Critical Visions of the Novels. Palgrave, 2011.

Julian Barnes: Contemporary Critical Perspectives. Bloomsbury Academic, 2011.

Kazuo Ishiguro: Contemporary Critical Perspectives.Bloomsbury Academic, December 2009.

Ian McEwan: Contemporary Critical Perspectives. Bloomsbury Academic, May 2009. [2ndedition forthcoming 2013]

Women's Writing after 9/11. Amsterdam University Press, 2014. [Forthcoming]

Memory in he Twenty-First Century: Critical Perspectives from teh Arts, Humanities and the Sciences. Palgrave, 2014.

Haruki Murakami: Contemporary Critical Perspectives. Bloomsbury Academic, 2014.

Will Self: Contemporary Critical Perspectives. Bloomsbury Academic, 2015.


'The New Seriousness': Kazuo Ishiguro in Conversation with Sebastian Groes, in Kazuo Ishiguro: Critical Visions of the Novels. Co-Editor with Barry Lewis. Palgrave, 2011, pp. 247-64.

'Journeys without Maps: An Interview with Ian McEwan', by John Cook, Sebastian Groes and Victor Sage, in Ian McEwan: Contemporary Critical Perspectives. Editor and Contributor New Yorkand London: Continuum, May 2009, pp. 123-134.

'Far Away': a review of Kader Abdolah's My Father's Notebook (Canongate) for The Guardian Review, 22 April 2006.

'A Hatred of Reason' - Martin Amis & Sebastian Groes in Conversation. The London Magazine, June/July, 2004, pp. 44-51.

'Truly good writing has a kind of desperation to it' – Iain Sinclair in Conversation with Sebastian Groes, Pretext 11: This Little World, September 2005, Norwich: Pen & Inc, 2005.

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