Reader in English Literature and Community Engagement
My first book, Romeo and Juliet in Palestine, was published by Zero Books in June 2015 and has been reviewed in The Observer, the Electronic Intifada and SCTIW Review. It is about a semester I spent teaching at Al-Quds University in 2013. I have been interviewed about the book as part of Bristol Festival of Ideas and for the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper in Brazil.
I was on research leave in 2015/16, funded by the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS). During the year I worked with IDEAL Community Action, a charity that provides education and training to individuals and communities affected by addiction, offending and long-term poverty. I am currently working on a new book based on my work with IDEAL.
I was a Visiting Fellow at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin in April 2014, where I worked on Doris Lessing's typescripts. I have published an article on correspondence held in the archive about The Grass is Singing, which shows that Lessing refused publication by Knopf in part because she was asked to add a rape scene to the novel. An early poem of Lessing's, which I found in the archive, has been published in PN Review. I recently completed two pieces on Lessing which draw on her typescripts: a chapter on 'interruptions' as part of her creative process in Doris Lessing and the Forming of History, which I co-edited with Kevin Brazil and David Sergeant for Edinburgh University Press; and an article on radical pedagogy in Mara and Dann, drawing on the work of Paulo Freire and Idries Shah, in Critique (open access).
I recently contributed a chapter on re-writings of the myth of Abraham by Wilfred Owen, A.B. Yehoshua and Ghassan Kanafani to a book on Reading the Abrahamic Faiths.
There are details of my academic publications on the 'research outputs' tab above. This is a selection of my shorter articles and reviews.
|Trump, Brexit and a crisis of participation in universities||Policy Bristol||2017|
|John Berger, storyteller and friend of Palestine, dies at 90||Electronic Intifada||2017|
|The West Bank's new normal||Electronic Intifada||2016|
|Why we need Jeremy Corbyn's National Education Service||The Independent||2015|
|The "forced geography" of Tel Aviv||Electronic Intifada||2015|
|The right to not read||Irish Times||2015|
|On Owen Jones and being too angry||Open Democracy||2014|
|Is a co-operative university a sustainable alternative?||The Guardian||2014|
|The strange death of liberal adult education||Huffington Post||2014|
|Review: Rachel Shihor, Stalin is Dead||Times Literary Supplement||2014|
|Romeo and Juliet in Palestine||Mondoweiss||2013|
|In praise of Alice Munro||Huffington Post||2013|
|Review: Deryn Rees-Jones, Burying the Wren||Huffington Post||2012|
|A conversation with A.B. Yehoshua||The Reader||2011|
|Why adult education needs Vince Cable||The Guardian||2011|
|Review: Claire Tomalin, Charles Dickens: A Life||Independent on Sunday||2011|
|Great literature will always be relevant||The Guardian||2010|
|Educational opportunities must remain open for those who need them most||Left Foot Forward||2010|
|Doris Lessing's lessons in old age||The Guardian||2010|
|A chilling vision for higher education||The Guardian||2009|
|How is denying people a life-saving second chance in any way fair?||Times Higher||2009|
|An interview with Doris Lessing||The Reader||2005|
Most of my teaching experience is with adult learners or with younger people who have spent time out of the education system. In 2016/17, I am working one day per week with the Widening Participation and Student Recruitment team on the recruitment and participation of adult learners across the university.
I designed the part-time BA in English Literature and Community Engagement (ELCE), which has been running since 2008 and, with Richard Pettigrew, the Foundation Year in Arts and Humanities, which launched in 2013. This film, made by students on the Foundation Year, gives a great introduction to that course. I have a particular interest in developing short courses with community groups and that facilitate progression to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level, including with organisations such as the Black Development Agency and the Single Parent Action Network (SPAN).
I have taught a unit on 19th Century Prose Writing (for the BA ELCE) and I teach a unit on Dangerous Books (for the BA English). I have also contributed to all units on the Foundation Year and given lectures on the BA English on topics including Shakespeare's sonnets, Hamlet and Hannah Arendt, Jane Austen, revisions in poetry, and Virginia Woolf and the 'non-academic' reader.
In 2014, I was awarded a University Award for Education and a Vice Chancellor's Award for my contributions to teaching.
Office: 1.12, 3/5 Woodland Road
Phone: +44 (0)117 954 6969
I am academic lead at Bristol for the British Council HESPAL scheme, which will offer 12 PhD scholarships at Bristol to future Palestinian academics over the next 4 years. I've worked as a mentor for the We Are Not Numbers project with young writers in Gaza, including Nada Hammad who wrote this love letter to Gaza. I am a fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts. I was a co-editor of The Brodie Press from 2002 to 2015; our books included two poetry collections by Julie-ann Rowell, recognised by the Poetry Book Society and shortlisted for the Michael Murphy Prize respectively. I am a member of the advisory board for the Bristol Palestine Film Festival.