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Twentieth-century and contemporary literatures

Dublin statue of James Joyce, Flicker license

English and Creative Writing at The Open University supports research in a wide range of different aspects of 20th-century and contemporary writing. These include individual author studies, critical and cultural theory, biography, world literature and debates around globalisation, and range across genres. Several staff have specific interests in creative writing, supported by the Contemporary Cultures of Writing Research Group and involvement in the editorial board of Wasafiri, the Arts Council-funded magazine of international contemporary writing. Further subjects are covered by research strengths in the history of the book, material cultures, and colonial and postcolonial literatures.

We welcome applications that correspond with current staff research interests. We expect detailed and well-structured proposals which set out specific research questions and clearly outline their originality and critical approach. If you would like to discuss your ideas informally before submitting an application, please contact us (details below).

Qualifications available:



For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) and an MA (or equivalent)

Potential research projects

We welcome applications to study topics that complement our current research.

Current/recent research projects

  • Popular genre fiction in Indian writing in English: recent trends in the Indian literary marketplace
  • Margiad Evans: body and book. An analysis of the novels, journals and illness narratives
  • The last survivors of Hiroshima - a study in memory and trauma
  • Twentieth-century poets of the First War
  • Freethinkers, a novel and inventing history: how do research, imagination and memory fuse creatively in the writing of an historical novel?
  • Virginia Woolf: nineteenth-century legacies

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Dr Siobhan Campbell
+44 (0)1908 652092

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.