Department of English and Creative Writing

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Professor Fiona Sampson has published a renowned new biography of Mary Shelley's life, In Search of Mary Shelley: the girl who wrote Frankenstein, two hundred years after the creation of the literary masterpiece.

Professor Sampson used diaries and letters written by Shelley, as well as newspaper articles and meteorological reports from the time to create an intimate narrative of the writer's life, which was published in 2018.

The Before Shakespeare research project, led by Roehampton’s Dr Andy Kesson, has been exploring the origins of London’s commercial theatre, which dates back to the mid-sixteenth century.

In partnership with leading organisations such as Shakespeare’s Globe, and taking advantage of the archaeological remains of the original playhouse, the £250,000 project is helping change people’s understanding of the beginnings of theatre and playhouses in the UK.

Professor David Harsent, winner of the world-renowned TS Eliot Prize, writes extensively and collaborates with leading musical composers. His work has been performed at the Royal Opera House, Carnegie Hall, BBC Proms and on Channel 4.

His most recent work includes a libretto for the Judas Passion, a passion play which focuses on the role of Judas Iscariot, which was performed by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Philharmonia Baroque of San Francisco.

In 2017, Dr Ian Kinane launched the first academic journal dedicated to James Bond studies, which explores Ian Fleming’s creation in its various forms: novels, films, games and merchandise.

The International Journal of James Bond Studies publishes innovative and original research on the franchise, and popular fiction more broadly. It engages scholars, academics, and cultural critics, and fans of the James Bond franchise.

Professor Zachary Leader, from the Department of English and Creative Writing, produced a high profile biography of Saul Bellow, one of the greatest 20th century American writers.

The Life of Saul Bellow was published to mark 100 years since Bellow was born and was the first biography produced since the author’s death. It was the first book to discuss his life and work in its entirety. It was named as 'Literature Book of the Year' by the Sunday Times.

Dr Shelley Trower, supported by PhD research student Sarah Pyke, has led Memories of Fiction, a project that has been uncovering how reading shapes our lives and has been awarded £100,000 by the AHRC to fund for a follow up project, Living Libraries.

Memories of Fiction includes an oral history archive of interviews with members of local reading groups and has also interviewed self-identified LGBTQ adult readers. The research, which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, has challenged assumptions that reading is merely a private matter and has identified how reading and storying are related

Dr Rachele Dini’s new book examines the depiction of domestic appliances (refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, blenders, standing mixers, washing machines & dryers, etc) in American literature published between 1920 and today.

Appliances didn't just change the nature of housework-it changed the way people thought about the home, its objects, and technology more broadly, and Dr Dini’s research draws on how the notion of electrically-generated convenience have been to American culture over the last century, and how much these ideas have influenced everything from slang and lingo to the notion of home, family, nationhood, and happiness.