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Research centre

Centre for Modern and Contemporary Writing (CMCW)

Rows of books on shelves in a library

The Centre for Modern and Contemporary Writing supports interdisciplinary research on 20th and 21st-century writing and culture.


The CMCW brings together a diverse cohort of academics, writers, and research students with interests in the relations between writing and contemporary culture in all its forms. 

We take an interdisciplinary approach to writing and culture, 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. 

Recognised by major external grants and published at the highest levels internationally, our research projects are shaping public policy, cultural landscapes, and critical debates. 

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.


CMCW staff are involved in many collaborations at national and international level. We also have links with local arts institutions and organisations, including:

John Hansard Gallery

John Hansard Gallery is an internationally recognised contemporary art gallery based at the University of Southampton. We have worked with the gallery on projects including the Entropics experimental poetry events and the Writers in Conversation reading series.


SO:Write is a multi-strand literature development strategy and delivery programme based in Southampton. It provides a wide range of activities for people from primary age to university graduates and professional writers.

We welcome the contributions of external partners and cultural institutions and are always seeking new connections.


The research group has a wider community through its Twitter page. We are open to collaborating on events and sharing knowledge across disciplines. Our portfolio of work can be found here.

People, projects and publications


Mr Toby Litt

Associate Professor in Creative Writing

Research interests

  • Contemporary Writing as Environmental ActivismAutofiction, experimental memoir, creative non-fictionShort storiesWriting and contemporary philosophy

Accepting applications from PhD students


Address: B65, Avenue Campus, Highfield Road, SO17 1BF (View in Google Maps)

Professor Will May

Professor in Modern & Contemporary Lit

Research interests

  • modern and contemporary literature
  • mentoring and creative practice 
  • literary communities in modern culture 


Address: B65, Avenue Campus, Highfield Road, SO17 1BF (View in Google Maps)

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