Literature, Drama and Creative Writing Research Students Literature, Drama and Creative Writing Research Students

The School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing offers doctoral training across a broad spectrum of research areas and is home to circa 60-80 PhD students. Applicants should also consult the School's Research Degrees web page. Below are some examples of funded research currently undertaken in the School.


Scott Dahlie


Research Project: Creative and Critical Writing PhD

Snapshot of Research Project: A collection of interlinked novellas and a micro-history of murder and execution set in the historic Anglo-French Condominium of the New Hebrides and the modern Republic of Vanuatu, an archipelago in the Pacific. Spanning over a century of history in the islands, my novellas engage with individuals and communities on the margins of colonial history, the War in the Pacific, tourism and modern entertainment. Each novella focuses on specific characters, settings and synchronic contexts; however, by linking the stories through repeating themes, images, and individuals within and across them, the collection alludes to broader, diachronic contexts. Each novella thus acts as a micro-narrative reflecting and inflecting the broader macro-narrative, the sum and parts representing Vanuatu’s colonial and post-colonial multiplicity. My critical project examines the murder and cannibalization of a British settler on the island of Espiritu Santo in 1923, exploring archival sources related to the event in order to reconstruct indigenous and European mentalities at the farthest reach of metropolitan hegemony.

Scholarship Recipient: As a non-UK/EU citizen, my studentship offsets the additional tuition costs and fees I incur as an international student. Additionally, I received a Research Support Grant from HUM in 2014 which enabled fieldwork in the Pacific that has been crucial to my projects.


Sophie Buckingham


Research Project: A Poetics of Exile? Reading, Subreading and Translating Ovid's Tristia in Tudor England 

(PhD in English Literature)

Snapshot of Research Project: From the very start of my English Literature degree at UEA I realised that the medieval and renaissance periods were my forte and wanted to develop my knowledge of the sources that I was using. By staying on at UEA and taking the MA in Medieval and Early Modern Textual Cultures I expanded my skill-set through examination of original archive materials and really broadened my horizons through prolonged, independent close-reading of source texts, girding me for the PhD which I am currently undertaking.

My research focuses upon Ovid's Tristia, which was written in ancient Rome under the reign of Augustus Caesar, and how this work has been re-used and reinterpreted in the context of 16th-century England by three key poets, Spenser, Wyatt and Churchyard.

Scholarship Recipient: The AHRC - CHASE PhD Studentship has provided full fees and living costs for the duration of my PhD. The funding has enabled me to give up my full-time job and transfer from a part-time PhD to full-time study, which will change the course of my career. 


Catherine Woodward


Research Project: The Ghost in the Machine: robot voice and lyric poetics

(PhD in English Literature)

Snapshot of Research Project: The thesis has two interlinked areas of interest; firstly, a study of the robot as cultural icon, which argues for a conception of the robot as an im/material being, that is, a part-fiction and an image, which appears to deify the problematised concepts of consciousness, thought, humanity and the soul, while at the same time contributing to the process of estrange,net from these concepts. I consider the robot as an occult figure, an occultism realised most fully when the robot speaks, exploring in depth the uncanniness of robot voices and what this suggests about the relationship between humans and robots.

Secondly, the thesis draws an explicit relation between the robot and the lyric poem. It intends to position the robot as a kind of subtle image of subjectivity, that is a poetic, particularly lyrical construct and a product of discourse, of social and cultural production.. The thesis explores some specific ways in which poetry is technological, suggesting that the poem exists and functions in the same way as a robot does, thus eliding the robot and the lyric poem through voice. Robot voices and concepts of voice in the context of robots for. 


Scholarship Recipient for CHASE-AHRC


Patrick Preston


Research Project: Dwelling in ruins:  London narratives of decay and regeneration, 1970

(PhD in English Literature. Critical Project). 

Snapshot of Research Project: My AHRC CHASE funded project explores narratives of regeneration and decay in London since 1970. I am interested in how dominant narratives of urban regeneration have cast out human waste, maligning the city’s others and inscribing difference along lines of class, race, gender and sexuality.  I focus on a range of material, including urban planning and political speeches which structured feeling and promoted commercial redevelopment projects.

In examining the film and literature which has variously responded to this context, I turn to under-studied cultural productions that emerged from rapidly changing places such as the Docklands and Soho. Analyzing the function of queer spaces in the time of Thatcher and the emergence of AIDS, I discuss cruising in Derek Jarman's diaries, and Jeremy Reed's poetics of Piccadilly sex-work, as well as writers including Alan Hollinghurst, Philip Hensher, Jonathan Harvey and Zadie Smith.

Prioritizing questions of subjectivity, normativity, value and sexuality, I consider alternative imaginaries of regeneration, and how queer reflections on dwelling in the city in the recent past have located meaning in ruined spaces, ephemeral encounters or lifestyles often deemed unproductive and wasteful. 

My research draws upon critical conversations of space-time, queer theory, landscape and cultural memory, and draws cultural histories and geographies into conversation with literary studies. 


Scholarship Recipient: AHRC CHASE Studentship recipient. Receiving a monthly stipend allows me to devote myself to studying fully. CHASE also funds my regular archival visits to London, and registration and travel fees to attend conferences. There is also funding available to meet with other CHASE students to develop research networks and collaborative between institutions. I hope to take advantage of the CHASE funding to do a research placement at an archive or cultural institution during the course of my PhD.


Emily Rose


Research Project: Translating Trans Identity: To Transgress Norms or Normalise Transgressions

(PhD in Literary Translation)

Snapshot of Research Project: Translation has the ability to make both translators and transgender individuals visible and vociferous. Transgenderism and translation can be put into profitable collaboration with a study focusing on translations into English from French and Spanish and vice-versa of fictional and non-fictional transgender memoirs. In a first-person narrative, French and Spanish mark gender on past participles and adjectives while gender can be entirely concealed in English. With a transdisciplinary methodology (which integrates disciplines and requires creativity and flexibility) I aim to create new connections between translation, queer and transgender studies. Transgender and Queer theories show that there is no ‘single’ body below the surface of a person; and in translation there is no ‘original’ essence, no ultimate meaning to be uncovered and then re-covered in a new language. In order to consider how transgender identity could be translated I appropriate a debate which considers whether transgender persons should be legitimised or celebrate being non-human. This argument has led me to consider how to represent transgender identity as both normative and non-normative; how to create an ambiguous translation that suggests simultaneous contradictions. I explore translation methods which are taken from literary theory which intersect with queer ideas of the body and the text.

Scholarship Recipient: The funding I received will greatly contribute to my trip to research some valuable archives first-hand in Spain.


Alex Valente


Research Project: Myths, Mutants and Superducks: Exporting Italian Comics

(PhD in Literary Translation)

Snapshot of Research Project: The relatively recent field of comics studies has conducted studies and research on comics, strips, graphic novels and related texts in translation (e.g. Zanettin 2008). What has been overlooked so far is a systematic approach to the process of translation itself, which I aim to provide in my thesis. I focus on three macro-categories of issues found in Italian comics, or fumetti, and situate them in the current context of scholarly debates: humour, image-text interaction (signplay), and multilingual and -cultural references. For each section, I then develop a framework of practical strategies for their translation, using examples from Italian comics series not yet published in English. The combination of a theoretical and practical approach aims to provide a critical toolkit to both a translator working in the medium and industry, and the scholar interested in how the texts operate on an inter- and intra-cultural and linguistic level.

Scholarship Recipient: HUM-Faculty Studentship