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Executive Committee Nominations, 2018

Nominations have now been received for the following positions on the BACLS Executive Committee:

  • Secretary (3 year term)
  • Vice Chair (3 year term)
  • 3 Graduate Student Representatives (2 year term)
  • Membership Secretary (3 year term)
  • 4 Ordinary Members (3 year term)

The committee is elected by BACLS members. Voting will take place during our Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the BACLS What Happens Now conference in Loughborough. The AGM is scheduled for 10-11.30am on Tuesday 10th July 2018 in the Robert Martin Theatre. Details of nominees below.



Dr Rose Harris-Birtill (University of St Andrews)

Supporting Statement: I am a post-doctoral researcher at the University of St Andrews, where I also lecture and teach, and I would be delighted to serve as Secretary for BACLS. My research interests include contemporary literature and critical theory, speculative and science fiction, literature in performance, globalisation, feminisms, time, and the post-secular. My monograph, David Mitchell’s Post-Secular World: Buddhism, Belief and the Urgency of Compassion, is due out with Bloomsbury Academic in 2019, and I am also guest editing a Special Edition of C21 Literature on Mitchell’s writing. I am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and I hold the International Society for the Study of Time’s New Scholar Prize, the Frank Muir Prize for Writing, and a McCall MacBain Teaching Excellence Award.

As Secretary, I would seek to build on the solid foundations established by our former Secretary and existing BACLS team to benefit current and future members alike, working closely with the committee to help this field-defining organisation to reach its full potential. I would also seek to keep the association well-organised and running smoothly, ensuring open communication between the committee and members.

I am friendly, dedicated, and highly organised, with experience of convening meetings and minute keeping; as the lead organiser of the David Mitchell Conference 2017 at the University of St Andrews, I also have experience managing budgets, co-ordinating teams and responding quickly to enquiries from both internal and external bodies. Before returning to academia I previously worked for five years as a professional writer in London, and as a former journalist, I can bring the ability to work to deadlines to ensure the job gets done. Most importantly, I believe in the vital importance of this vibrant, dynamic and diverse organisation, and would be honoured to play this part in ensuring its ongoing success.


Vice Chair

Prof Katy Shaw (Northumbria University)

Supporting Statement: I was part of the original team that helped to establish BACLs three years ago and am also editor of the BACLs affiliated journal C21 Literature. I am Professor of Contemporary Writings and internationally recognised for my work in the field of twenty first century literature by several international organisations including the Man Booker, British Council and Granta. I am committed to the teaching of C21 literature and have edited the first collection on the subject. I have enjoyed being part of the embryonic years of BACLs but would now like to help develop the association to it next stages as an international body of resources and activities in the field. My extensive experience on the exec committee of the national subject association UniEnglish has given me direct exposure to the impact BACLs could have in the next three years. The biggest challenge will be proving to our members what we can do for them and for the discipline area in the lead up to the REF and in a post-Brexit context of shifting academic expectations, jobs, and an ever-changing field of contemporary writings. As an ordinary member with continued service to C21 Literature and UniEnglish I feel that I would bring the right approach and energy to the role  and ensure continuity as well as dynamic contributions to the executive going forwards. I am very happy to take on more administrative roles also should these arise.


Graduate Student Representatives (3 positions available)

Caroline Wintersgill (University of Winchester)

Supporting Statement: I am a lapsed publisher, turned mid-life PhD student at the University of Winchester. My research is on endings in the contemporary novel, combining literary theory and close readings with less traditional methodologies for English, including qualitative research with reading groups, authors, publishers, agents and literary prize judges. Perhaps as a result of my publishing background I am intrigued by the institutional context of contemporary fiction as well as, and in relation to, its aesthetic and intellectual contribution.

The foundation of BACLS was hugely important to me in providing a supportive community in this emerging and distinctive corner of a large discipline. BACLS provides intellectual camaraderie that can be hard to access in atomised departments with only a handful of colleagues in related fields.

I would be honoured to serve as a Graduate Student Representative. I am particularly interested in working to ensure that the diverse community of researchers on contemporary literature – including part-time PhD students and scholars in adjacent disciplines such as publishing studies or creative writing – find a supportive network and a voice in BACLS. I would also hope to contribute to links between BACLS, contemporary writers and the literary industry.

Alongside research and teaching at Winchester, I am a consulting editor for three publishers (one trade, two academic). I give workshops at UK and European universities for PhD students and ECRs on how to pitch and publish a first book, and I spend far too much time on publishers’ stands at academic conferences. I would be happy to share any helpful publishing experience with BACLS. I have diverse committee experience, e.g. as a member of Newcastle University School of English’s Employability Advisory Board (2011 – date), as Director of the After-School Club at my children’s primary school (2009-17) and as a member of an ESRC funding panel (1997).


Chloe Ashbridge (University of Nottingham)

Supporting Statement: Given the rapid development of BACLS’ academic community since its official launch in 2017, and in the run up to the second What Happens Now conference, I believe it is an exciting time to focus on the needs of the association’s PG members. I have greatly benefitted from being part of a larger academic community of like-minded scholars as a BACLS member both prior to and during my doctoral studies, however, I believe it can do more to reach out to its substantial PG body. If elected, I propose to do so through the following:

  1. Launch a BACLS PG conference in addition to the biannual What Happens Now event. This conference can be hosted at any institution with one or more PG members, who will also decide its scope and theme.
  2. Take forward Alluvium as BACLS’ official PG journal to recognise excellent postgraduate scholarship as well as providing editorial experience.

3: Utilise the expertise of existing PG members through organising BACLS ‘new scholars’ events and writing retreats where researchers can meet and share their professional skills and experience. The focus of these sessions will be attuned to structural issues in HE and how the PG community can best prepare for them by working together. Sessions may include: preparing for publication, writing a book proposal, placements, and research impact.

Due to the ‘rolling’ nature of ‘the contemporary’, I have personally experienced that it can sometimes feel like you are researching in isolation, particularly when compared to other literary periods. As a BACLS Graduate Student Representative, I would therefore love to develop initiatives which encompass both professional development but which similarly create a supportive academic network.

I welcome any questions on twitter, and can be found at @chloeashbridge


Zoe Hope Bulaitis (University of Exeter)

Supporting Statement: Attending the launch of the BACLS in Newcastle 2017 and listening to several panels specifically designated to the conversation of ‘What Happens Now?” at the associated conference inspired me to stand for Graduate Student Representative. I want to support this intellectual network and I look forward to presenting at this year’s inaugural conference.

As a Graduate Student Representative, I would explore (through feedback from members) how BACLS might better foster the talent of PhDs and early career researchers. I already have a number of ideas about how to accomplish this:

  1. I would establish a BACLS blog, providing the opportunity for ECRs to take part in the timely conversation around contemporary studies without having to wait for the publication of articles and/or book chapters. Let’s have a conversation all year round, in-between (excellent) conferences and symposia! Short-form essays, comment pieces, and the sharing of personal research/teaching experiences online would allow early career voices to be heard and connect researchers across the UK.
  2. Having taken part in the ECR job application workshop at the English Shared Futures Conference, I have directly benefited from activities focused on employment opportunities. I would ensure that such sessions would be offered on a regular basis at BACLS events, drawing upon the expertise of senior members, in order to pass on relevant help for the academic job search.

Finally, I have extensive administrative experience that makes me a great candidate for this role. I’m the editorial assistant for the Journal of American Studies. I am social media savvy and have built several academic websites. I have also represented graduate voices as postgraduate teaching representative in English at the University of Exeter and am the ECR representative on the advisory board for the European Consortium for Humanities Institutes and Centres.

Thank you for considering my nomination.


Sophia Noll (University of Cambridge)

Supporting Statement: Hello, my name is Sophia Noll and I am putting myself forward for the position of Graduate Student Representative. I am currently in the second year of my PhD at the University of Cambridge, researching the aesthetics of failure on the Internet and its interrelation with bodies and affects. Interweaving classical and more unconventional (online) texts, but in a method very much anchored in the humanities, I have come to appreciate and understand the value of less traditional areas such as the world wide web. My work on this, as of yet, underexplored medium has made me realise the importance an association such as BACLS has in trying to encourage conversation, exploration, and collaboration in contemporary literary studies. 

Given my area of research, I believe I will be able to better represent the interests of those working on the more ‘cutting edge” aspects of literary studies, while supporting the significance of these approaches in the wider field of the humanities. I wish to give a voice to students working on original and innovative ideas, help nurture fresh perspectives, and I see the role of Graduate Student Representative as an excellent opportunity to promote BACLS in this progressive context.

As I am sure we all are, I am passionate about the literary and am excited at the prospect of being able to help develop interest for this important domain, in academia and beyond.


Bret Johnson (Loughborough University)

Supporting Statement: Bret Johnson is a fully-funded third-year PhD student at Loughborough University. His research details the relationship between literary prizes, independent publishers, celebrity, and the legacy of modernism in contemporary literature. He has been in the New Statesman, on the Modernist Podcast, and reviewed for the Journal of Wyndham Lewis Studies. He works with the charity The Brilliant Club teaching university-style courses at inner-city schools and reviews for its journal, The Scholar.

The establishment of BACLS was a watershed moment for contemporary literary studies. As the academic community grows, it is important that postgraduates feel included in its growth. My aim as a PGR rep is to ensure that BACLS offers PGRs professional development and support to assist them during their studies and after.

I would set up a BACLS PGR training day. I’ve found that training days bespoke to specific studies better address the concerns of PGRs. This would include talks on the REF/TEF, CV workshops, publishing in journals, as well as routes outside academia. I would also create a ‘Help Sheet’ in the BACLS website’s Members’ area for PGRs to share advice and resources.

This leads me to my second point, which is to foster the growth of a PGR community. I would want to use BACLS-PGR social media to connect students across the country, as well as host a blog covering contemporary literary studies and the PGR experience. I would hold a one-day PG conference to run on alternate years to the BACLS conference. Here PGRs would exhibit their work and participate in a general meeting where members help steer the direction of the PGR reps. I would offer support to the development of regional contemporary literary studies groups for PGRs by providing advice and ideas on how to run these, which are excellent resources for pastoral support.


Oliver Paynel (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Supporting Statement: I hope to represent graduate students as they approach the end of their studies and look to secure their first academic positions. I feel well placed to do so at a time when I am embarking on this journey myself, as I now prepare to submit my thesis on ‘dwelling’ in contemporary Anglophone fiction.

Recent PhD graduates in contemporary literature need specific support for their professional development as they increasingly seek to engage with the media, cultural institutions, charities and living writers. I hope to help the Association offer related guidance and training that will reflect the dynamism and potential of contemporary literary studies, whilst also furthering the Association’s work in standing up to the casualization of PGRs and ECRs teaching contemporary literature.

If elected I will also aim to develop the Association’s offering in supporting alternative academic careers. BACLS can build on the work of the MLA and other scholarly associations in this area by creating a repository of “”Alt-Ac”” career resources, and establishing platforms – both at events and online – for closer exchange on sectors where recent PhDs in our field might excel.

Thank you for your support.


Membership Secretary

Mike Witcombe (Bath Spa University)

Supporting Statement: I have been impressed by the community I’ve found working on contemporary literature in the UK, and would relish the opportunity to play a role in its continuing development. I’ve worked on contemporary literature for the majority of my career, mostly on Jewish-American writing, and would be keen to help support the community that has been so welcoming to me.

I offer substantial experience working within academic societies, combined with the administrative expertise necessary for a role like this. If I was successful in attaining this position, I would ensure that the association continued to function in as smooth a way as possible, communicating efficiently with current and potential members as well as the committee itself. From my own experience, organisational basics say a lot about how an academic society sees itself. BACLS has been impressive on this note, and I would like to maintain the quality of those all-important first impressions.

I’ve been excited to see how the Association has grown since its inception, and by the clarity and fairness of its constitution. If elected, I would uphold the values of the Association and do my utmost to assist in expanding its membership with these in mind.


Ordinary Members (4 positions available)

Rachel Sykes (University of Birmingham)

Supporting Statement: As a regular attendee of the biennial conference, I would be delighted to become an Ordinary Member of BACLS. I currently work as a Lecturer in Contemporary American Literature at the University of Birmingham and specialise in ‘quiet’ novels, women’s life-writing, and the ‘noise’ of contemporary digital cultures. As an active ECR, the What Happens Now/BACLS conference has always provided a uniquely generous and welcoming atmosphere. I would love to now contribute to this environment, one which is very much needed in contemporary literary studies, through a role in the association. If elected, I would not only bring expertise in researching and teaching contemporary literatures but years of administrative experience as a former administrator for Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. Three years’ ago, I also co-founded the Contemporary Studies Network, a series of reading groups and public engagement activities through which, like BACLS, my co-founders and I hoped to provide a space to discuss emerging theory, practice, and pedagogy. I am particularly interested in increasing outreach, accessibility, and diversity in our subject area and would look to support similarly intersectional motions, initiatives, and emerging strategies. I would also hope to use a position on the committee to support BACLS’ development of teaching resources, materials, and support, particularly with a view to helping postgraduate students and ECRs who face increasingly precarious conditions of employment.”


Timothy Baker (University of Aberdeen)

Supporting Statement: I am currently a Senior Lecturer in Scottish and Contemporary Literature at the University of Aberdeen, where I’ve worked since 2009, and have been an Ordinary Member of the BACLS Executive Committee for the past two years. As well as Scottish literature, my research and teaching includes Irish, British, and other Anglophone literatures, critical animal studies, and feminist, queer, and disability theories; my current monograph project is called Writing Animals: Language, Suffering, and Animality in Twenty-First-Century Fiction. I have ample experience of committee work at university, national, and international levels, most relevantly with the Association for Scottish Literary Studies. As a re-elected ordinary member, I will continue to argue for the inclusion of Scottish (and Irish) literatures in our ongoing discussions, and – perhaps more importantly – represent scholars working in Scotland and other far-flung locations in any area of contemporary literature. I currently coordinate the monograph prize, and am excited to continue to work with the committee to create an inclusive organisation that reflects the diversity of British literature, and works for the benefit of all of its members, including PGRs and ECRs.


Nick Bentley (Keele University)

Supporting Statement: I would like to stand for re-election to the position of Ordinary Member as I am keen to continue to promote research, teaching and public engagement in contemporary literary studies. I consider BALCS to be the ideal environment in which to gather together like-minded scholars, researchers and teachers.

I have been teaching in HE for over twenty years and postwar and contemporary literature has always been my main area of research and teaching. I have written and co-edited a number of books in this field including Contemporary British Fiction: A Reader’s Guide to the Essential Criticism (Palgrave, 2018); Martin Amis (Northcote House, 2015); Contemporary British Fiction (Edinburgh UP, 2008); The 2000s: A Decade of Contemporary British Fiction (Bloomsbury, 2015) (edited with Nick Hubble and Leigh Wilson), and Teenage Dreams: Youth Subcultures in Fiction, Film and Other Media (Palgrave, 2018) (edited with Beth Johnson and Andrzej Zieleniec. My journal articles and book chapters include research on on a range of contemporary writers and topics including Monica Ali, Martin Amis, Kazuo Ishiguro, Doris Lessing, Ian McEwan, David Mitchell, Zadie Smith, Sam Selvon, the city in postmodern fiction, fictional representations of youth subcultures, and working-class writing. I am currently working on a monograph: Making a Scene: Youth Subcultures in Postwar and Contemporary Fiction (Palgrave).

I recently hosted the AHRC Metamodernism Network’s Symposium at Keele University which included several BACLS members (May 2018). I am also a member of a number of other subject associations at which I am keen to promote BACLS including MLA, British Association of Modernist Studies, and the Literary London Society (for which I am currently the Journal Editor). I am also the Programme Director for the MA Contemporary Literature and Film at Keele University.


Harriet Earle (Sheffield Hallam University)

Supporting Statement: I would like to be considered for a position as Ordinary Member of the BACLS committee. I am an Early Career Academic with a growing research profile in Comics and Popular Culture Studies; I teach literary studies and publish in this field too. In addition to being an active researcher and holding a permanent lectureship with strong teaching focus, I am the Editor of Comics Forum. We seek to further the reach of UK comics scholarship and provide a hub for international research in the field through both our website, online journal and annual international conference.

Comics and Pop Culture Studies are fast-growing, dynamic fields that have links with strong and committed non-academic interest groups, while also clearly demonstrating the enduring importance of narrative forms in the modern world. The study of popular culture broadens the academic literary scope and allows us to consider the interactions and conversations between distinct forms. I am committed to bringing pop culture and comics into the academic conversation on literature. I am keen to increase the academic focus in these areas and to actively promote my field within the academy as essential to the healthy development of contemporary literary studies.

I would relish the opportunity to represent the growing comics/pop culture studies community on the BACLS committee, to engage with scholars from the full range of literary fields and to be a part of the discussions and shaping of the future of literary studies – in all its forms – in the 21st century. It is my hope that my research interests would be a positive addition to the committee, to continue to foster links between all forms of literature and to develop the scope of the society in new areas.

I’m sorry that I’m not able to attend the Loughborough conference – I’m conference double-booked!


Alex Beaumont (York St John University)

Supporting Statement: I have worked within the field of contemporary literary studies since beginning my PhD at the University of York in 2007. Since then, I have developed research specialisms in spatiality and literary geography within British fiction of the Thatcher and post-Thatcher periods. I have published widely in these areas, in some cases co-editing special issues (Literary Geographies 2.1; C21 Literature 5.1; Open Library of Humanities special collection, forthcoming) in a role that has allowed me to shape specific discussions taking place within the field.

Contemporary literary studies was beginning to develop rapidly when I began my postgraduate work; since then, it has grown into a significant realm of scholarly enquiry that asks crucial social, political and aesthetic questions of the current moment. I am keen to play a role in nurturing the field, in particular by supporting students to make their work known within and beyond the academy. I currently teach contemporary world literature to undergraduate students and contemporary British literature to postgraduate students at York St John University, where my pedagogical practice seeks to equip students with a rigorous and politically-engaged understanding of contemporary culture. Working at a small post-92 university has made clear to me the importance of our field in encouraging students to critique the social structures in which we live; it has also led to my belief in the ongoing need to widen participation within both the field and the academy more broadly. I hope to further these objectives as an Ordinary Member of BACLS, increasing the visibility of contemporary literary studies and nurturing the fabulous work being produced within the field at the moment.


Kristian Shaw (University of Lincoln)

Supporting Statement: I am applying for an Ordinary Member role because I believe I possess the experience and enthusiasm to help BACLS to grow as the leading association for contemporary literature. As an ECR I have worked with external organisations (including the BBC) and developed the Bolton Live Author series enabling students to engage with established authors and profile their work to the public. Outside of academia, I have worked as a national executive manager and recognise the necessity for strategic planning in recruiting new members and cultivating networks. I am also a Fellow of the HEA and would be interested in developing online pedagogical resources for postgraduates within the association.

I am currently Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Lincoln. My research has always maintained a strong focus on the contemporary and I have been an attendee at What Happens Now conferences for several years. My first monograph, Cosmopolitanism in Twenty-First Century Fiction (Palgrave 2016), examined globalization, transnationalism and digital connectivity in post-millennial literature. I am currently writing my second monograph, BrexLit (Bloomsbury), evaluating the consequences of the 2016 EU Referendum. I am acutely concerned about the future of higher education institutions in the UK and want to ensure contemporary literary studies as a discipline continues to play a key role in addressing urgent social and political concerns.

I have also served as a reader and editor for the C21 Literature Journal and contributor to the English Association’s Year in English Studies (‘Fiction After 2000’). It would be a privilege to use this experience to support the committee in an administrative and secretarial capacity and I look forward to helping BACLS reach its potential.


Huw Marsh (Queen Mary University of London)

Supporting Statement: I’m currently Lecturer in English at Queen Mary University of London and have been a member of BACLS since its formation. I’ve seen it develop into an important hub for the previously diffuse field of contemporary literary studies, and hope I can contribute to its future development as a member of the Executive Committee.

My PhD and first book were on the novelist Beryl Bainbridge, and were concerned with situating Bainbridge as a major writer and thinking beyond the generalisations about eccentricity or slightness that have tended to overshadow her work. My current project is a study of comedy in contemporary British fiction. It draws on work on comedy, humour and laughter to explore comedy *as* comedy rather than as an adjunct to the ‘serious’ work of fiction; I’m interested in what contemporary comedy is, formally and tonally, and in what it does, affectively and politically. I’ve also published on writers including Penelope Lively, Nicola Barker and Angela Carter, and taken excursions into areas such as adaptation studies, narrative theory and stand-up (writing about, not performing).

I teach widely across the curriculum at Queen Mary and am committed to research-led teaching as well as teaching-led research. I’m the convenor of a first-year introduction to narrative, and a module called ‘Laughing Matters: Comedy and Contemporary Culture’, which engages with my current research to explore stand-up, television and film comedy as well as fiction and theory.

Alongside my research and teaching, I’m also research manager for English and Drama at QM. This combination of academic and administrative roles means I’m well-placed to speak to the circuitous routes that careers in HE can take. I hope I can bring my experience in these areas, as well as my commitment to the values and aspirations of BACLS, to this position on the Executive Committee.


Christopher Vardy (University of Manchester)

Supporting Statement: I recently completed my PhD at the University of Manchester – ‘Historicising neoliberal Britain: Remembering the End of History’ – and I’m teaching at both Manchester and the University of Salford next year. My association with BACLS has been really generative so far and I’m excited to present at the inaugural conference.

I’m running to join the BACLS Executive Committee to represent the perspectives of a recent postgraduate and current precariously employed ECR as the organisation develops. I’ll focus on advocating practical measures to make BACLS as inclusive as possible for those without the security of a full-time position. I’m particularly keen to explore concrete ways in which BACLS can support researchers with their crucial early publications and pedagogy. BACLS can’t transform the structures of academia, but it represents a great opportunity to help support diverse voices to produce the best possible contemporary literary and cultural criticism.

I’m also very keen to develop links between BACLS and contemporary history studies. My own work combines history and literary studies and I’ve been struck by the lack of sustained interaction between the disciplines. Too often, historians are shocked by the rigour and theoretical ambition of our engagements with the past, and vice versa! If elected, I’ll use my links with organisations including the Modern British Studies conference to ensure BACLS members are aware of and have the opportunity to speak at, learn from and inform cutting-edge contemporary historical debates. From my experience, the interest is there for this kind of collaboration, and BACLS is the ideal means for promoting it and raising the profile of contemporary literary criticism at the same time.


Daniel O’Gorman (Oxford Brookes University)

Supporting Statement: I am currently Lecturer in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature at Oxford Brookes University, specialising in contemporary global literatures and theory. I have recently begun work on my second monograph project, Global Terror | Global Text, which analyses the ways in which contemporary texts from around the world reflect the impact of terror, counterterror, and their surrounding discourses on perceptions of local and global space. My first monograph, Fictions of the War on Terror, offered a theorised reading of transnational novels that engage with 9/11 and its aftermath. Recent work has been published in Critique, Textual Practice, and The Journal of Commonwealth Literature. I am currently co-editing The Routledge Companion to Twenty-First Century Literary Fiction with Robert Eaglestone., and have taught at a total of four universities: Oxford Brookes, London South Bank, Bucks New University, and Royal Holloway, University of London, where I gained my PhD. This teaching has included multiple modules on contemporary literature and theory at all four universities, including the module ‘Contemporary Literature’ at Oxford Brookes, for which I was the module leader last year, and have contributed to convening.

I have been a member of BACLS since 2017, having attended the ‘English: Shared Futures’ conference in Newcastle that year, where the association was launched. I have also regularly attended the BACLS conference in its earlier form as ‘What Happens Now’ at the University of Lincoln since that event’s inception in 2010. I am also a member of the MLA and the Postcolonial Studies Association, as well as an Associate Editor at the Journal of Postcolonial Writing. In addition, I have experience with event organisation, having co-organised four conferences, as well as a seminar series for three years.


Diletta De Cristofaro (University of Birmingham)

Supporting Statement: I am an early career academic in post as Teaching Fellow in English Literature at the University of Birmingham. I am completing my first monograph (Bloomsbury 2019), The Contemporary Post-Apocalyptic Novel: Critical Temporalities and the End Times, and, broadly speaking, my research takes place at the intersection of literary studies and philosophy to interrogate the way in which contemporary narratives construct time and history. I am Co-Founder and Vice-Chair of the Contemporary Studies Network, which holds reading groups and supports publication and public engagement opportunities for scholars in the Midlands and North UK. I would draw on this experience, which has given me substantial working knowledge of the context in which BACLS operates, to continue to foster contemporary literary studies and networking in my role as BACLS’s Ordinary Member. I am particularly interested in developing the early career side of BACLS and in fostering a sense of community and solidarity with the casualised members of the association. I would work to:

  1. Establish a mentoring scheme for ECRs within the association.
  2. Organise professional development and networking events specifically geared towards ECRs.
  3. Establish conference bursaries to support precariously employed ERCs who have no access to institutional support.
  4. Set up a blog on the BACLS website to showcase the expertise and enhance the profile of ECRs working in contemporary literary studies.


Nonia Williams (University of East Anglia)

Supporting Statement: I am passionate about contemporary literary studies and keen to actively participate in and contribute to the BACLS community as an ordinary member of the executive committee. I believe we have a flourishing scholarly community, and that the association has a key role to play in terms of connecting and supporting this. It would be a pleasure to find out more about, and to contribute more to the association. There have been some great initiatives and events so far, and I would welcome the chance to contribute actively to the association as it grows and develops over the next few years. Although I have not served on an executive committee before, I have worked in similar roles on panels and in other capacities, and I believe I have the skills and enthusiasm to be a positive and valuable committee member.

I have a research background in 1960s and 1970s British avant-garde and experimental fiction and I am interested in how the literary and historical contexts of that era connect with and influence our own moment. My teaching ranges from early twentieth-century modernism through to modernist contemporary fiction, as well as critical theory, where I particularly enjoy discussing queer theory, affect, aestheticism and post-critique with my students.


Irralie Doel (University of Brighton)

Supporting Statement: I have been Senior Lecturer at the University of Brighton since 2011 where I manage the English Literature programme at the Hastings Campus. Before that I taught at the University of Liverpool (from 2002). I research twentieth century and contemporary literature, especially poetry and women’s writing. My work is often interdisciplinary, involving music, visual art, gallery and heritage collections and practices of curating. I teach creative writing and research creative process and practice, the recycling of stories, poetic translation and performance. I work with arts and health and medical humanities and am leading an experimental drama project in collaboration with the European Reminiscence Network for Brighton’s Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories.

I am Commissioning Editor for Post 1945 British Poetry for The Literary Encyclopedia and a member of the Editorial Board for the Palgrave Studies in Contemporary Women’s Writing Series. I am on the 2018 judging panels for the FWSA Book Prize and the FWSA Essay Prize which will also involve co-editing a special issue of the Journal of International Women’s Studies. I am currently completing articles on Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze’s The Fifth Figure and Jo Shapcott and Helen Chadwick’s Of Mutability and working on a book on contemporary poetry and politics. I am organising a conference on contemporary women’s poetry for CWWA (Easter 2019) and have organised and hosted events for the Hastings Storytelling Festival since it began in 2011. I was a member of the Steering Group for the Centre for Research in Twenty-first Century Writings at Brighton from 2012 until its closure in 2017.

I have been a member of BACLS since its inception and would welcome the opportunity to become more involved as an Ordinary Member, to serve the aims of the Association and work for the benefit of the membership and the field.


Samuel Solnick (University of Liverpool)

Supporting Statement: As a member of the BACLS executive committee I’d be able to offer dual expertise in both contemporary poetry and the environmental humanities. I would also be able to support BACLS activities by drawing on my links with The White Review and my roles with University of Liverpool’s Literature and Science Hub and Centre for New and International Writing. I’m keen on exploring ways of developing interdisciplinary research and public engagement, particularly in terms of literature and science.  I’m also committed to improving opportunities and support for Early Career Researchers in an increasingly challenging employment climate.