Our research group comprises academics and writers interested in all aspects of the relation between critical and creative practice. Interests range from the history of literary criticism conceived as a genre of writing, to the nature of creative writing itself considered as a form of knowledge and research; and from the theory, practice and ethics of invention and experiment in critical writing, to the relation between literary criticism and parallel work on the other arts.
Dr Stephen Benson (research group lead) works on modern and contemporary literature, with a particular interest in relations between literature and music, and between literature and the visual arts. His publications include Cycles of Influence: Fiction, Folktale, Theory (Wayne State UP, 2003) and Literary Music (Ashgate, 2006), and as co-editor, Writing the Field Recording: Sound, Word, Environment (EUP, 2018). He is also the co-editor, with UEA colleague Clare Connors, of Creative Criticism: an Anthology and Guide (EUP, 2014), a volume devoted to forms of invention in contemporary critical practice. Most recently, and prompted by the anthology, he has been working on the theory and practice of description in contemporary literature.
Professor Tiffany Atkinson is a poet and critic. She is the author of So Many Moving Parts (2014,) Catulla et al (2011) and Kink and Particle (2006), and the editor of The Body: A Reader (2003)
Robert Carson is a theatre and opera director. He has worked extensively in theatre and opera both here and abroad. He is a graduate of the University Of Stirling, spent two years working in experimental theatre in San Francisco, studied Noh drama in Tokyo and directing at The Drama Centre, London. He continues to be the Artistic Director of NOISE, New Opera In Scotland Events. This forms the basis of his research. Through the company he commissions new opera, composed for specific communities.
Dr Clare Connors is interested in literature, deconstruction and creative criticism - and in the interrelations between these. She is the author of Force from Nietzsche to Derrida (Legenda, 2010) and Literary Theory: A Beginner’s Guide (Oneworld, 2010) and the co-editor, with Dr Stephen Benson, of Creative Criticism: An Anthology and Guide (EUP, 2014). She is interested in the kinds of thinking literature performs, and permits, and in the kinds of critical writing such fictive thinking solicits. On all of these subjects she finds the work of Jacques Derrida the most extraordinary resource (along with that of Freud, Heidegger, Cixous, Rancière and Sedgwick, amongst others). She has written essays on rhythm, on rhyme and on grace, and on Elizabeth Bowen, J. M. Coetzee and Ali Smith.
Professor Jon Cook is a critic and biographer who has recently published a series of essays that draw on ideas from the philosophy of language to analyse linguistic creativity. His work in progress includes a collection of essays on the work of W.G. Sebald and a book on poetics.
Professor Andrew Cowan is a novelist. He is the author of Pig, Common Ground, Crustaceans, What I Know and most recently Worthless Men and a book on creative writing practice, The Art of Fiction. He is currently working on a new novel and a collection of essays on creative writing pedagogy and practice.
Dr Thomas Karshan writes about modernist and post-1945 writers in Britain, Europe and America, with a focus on nonsense, play, ambiguity, and theoretical questions arising from modernism. His recent publications include Vladimir Nabokov and the Art of Play (2011), as well as his edition of Nabokov's Collected Poems and his co-translation of Nabokov's Tragedy of Mister Morn (both 2012). He is currently working on two books entitled Undelivered Letters and A Dictionary of Modern Life, and is co-editing a history of the literary essay from Montaigne to the present.
Dr Sophie Robinson is a poet who is currently working on queer poetics.
Dr Karen Schaller works critically and creative-creatively on theories and discourses of emotion, disciplinarity and radical pedagogy.
Dr Jos Smith works on contemporary literature, ecocriticism, literary geographies and archives. He is the author of The New Nature Writing: Rethinking the Literature of Place and is a co-editor of the volume of essays Coastal Works: Cultures of the Atlantic Edge. More recently, he has been working on a cultural history of the arts and environmental charity Common Ground whose championing of diverse cultures of local distinctiveness across the UK, and further afield, has had a far reaching influence on the way we understand regional cultures today. He has a longstanding interest in archipelagic criticism and is on the advisory board of the Atlantic Archipelagos Research Consortium. He also published a first collection of poetry, Subterranea, in 2016 with Arc.
Dr Kirstin Smith researched the emergence of stunts in the public life of New York at the turn of twentieth century for her doctoral dissertation. Her essay on a durational walking contest won The Drama Review student essay contest, and her article about bridge-jumpers was shortlisted for the British Association for Modernist Studies essay prize for early career scholars. She has also published on cycling, electricity and high-wire stunts in Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film. Kirstin is now working on a history of the practice and ethics of casting, with a particular focus on women in casting. Alongside scholarly research, Kirstin writes fiction and her philosophical novel, Confidence, co-written with Rowland Manthorpe, was published by Bloomsbury in 2016.