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The University of Southampton
Centre for Modern and Contemporary Writing

About us

The Department of English at Southampton offers a dynamic research environment for all who are drawn to the study of modern and contemporary literature.

Our particular strengths lie in our interdisciplinary approaches to writing and culture, with staff at the Centre forging new ways of thinking about the connections between contemporary literature and the sciences, law, aesthetics, space, maritime studies, ethics, medicine, finance, Jewishness, visual culture, popular culture, gender, music, postcolonialism, critical theory, politics and philosophy. Recognized by major external grants and published at the highest levels internationally, our research projects are shaping public policy, cultural landscapes, and critical debates.

In parallel with our critical work, we also produce creatively across multiple media, with staff members and creative fellows writing for the stage and screen as well publishing novels, short stories, poetry and narrative non-fiction. In 2017 alone, Devorah Baum’s creative documentary The New Man (co-directed with Josh Appiganesi) went on theatrical release in UK cinemas, Philip Hoare’s latest non-fiction book, RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR, was published by Harper Collins, to wide acclaim and Rebecca Smith’s Jane Austen's Guide to Modern Life's Dilemmas appeared from Bloomsbury. Evan Placey’s new adaptation of Jekyll & Hyde will premiere in the West End this autumn, produced by the National Youth Theatre, with Keepy Uppy and new international productions of Girls Like That in Australia, Germany (in a hearing/non-hearing production), and at the Tarragon Theatre in Canada also in the works. 

We are committed to engaging academics, researchers and public audiences in the literary production of our time. Coming from many different perspectives, and bringing diverse critical attitudes to bear on a vast array of topics, we work together to foster engagement and stimulate interest in the writing and critical reading of contemporary literature.

Visiting writers

Many writers have visited the Centre in the past few years, including John Agard, Mirza Waheed, Charles Bernstein, Amitav Ghosh, Bruce Andrews, Rachel Blau Du Plessis, Rae Armantrout, Carla Harryman, Michael Davidson, Rana DasGupta, and Tsitisi Dangeramba. Visit the News, Events and Seminars pages for further information.


Research students play an important part in the life of the Centre. Graduate papers from our 2006 conference, Pressure to Experiment, were published jointly with students in both Jacket and How2, and we run regular research days and workshops where students and staff can share and develop their work. We welcome applications in any area of our work.

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