Contemporary Writers: Critical Essays

Editorial Team


Sarah Dillon (University of Cambridge)

Editorial Board

Kasia Boddy (University of Cambridge)
Jennifer Cooke (University of Loughborough)
Zinnie Harris (University of St Andrews)
Robert Macfarlane (University of Cambridge)


Sarah Dillon is University Lecturer in Literature and Film in the Faculty of English at the University of Cambridge. She is author of The Palimpsest: Literature, Criticism, Theory (2007), editor of David Mitchell: Critical Essays (2011), and co-editor of Maggie Gee: Critical Essays (forthcoming 2014). As well as being General Editor of this book series, Gylphi Contemporary Writers: Critical Essays, she serves on the editorial board of C21 Literature: Journal of Twenty-First Century Writing. She has published widely on twentieth and twenty-first century literature, film and philosophy. She is currently completing an academic monograph on poststructuralist philosophy and film entitled Deconstructing Film, and a popular book, Why Scientists Should Read, drawn from her work on the Royal Society of Edinburgh funded What Scientists Read collaborative project. Sarah is also actively involved in radio broadcasting and public engagement, and was a 2013 BBC New Generation Thinker.

Kasia Boddy is University Lecturer in American Literature in the Faculty of English at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College. She has published extensively on short fiction, including The American Short Story since 1950 (2010), and has edited or co-edited several anthologies, including The New Penguin Book of American Short Stories (2011). She is currently working on a book on the idea of the Great American Novel. She also explores the imaginative resources offered by activities such as sport and horticulture, which have become ubiquitous to the point of saturation in modern life, but which for the most part enter only obliquely into literature. Boxing: A Cultural History (2008) and Geranium (2013) consider the often incidental representation in literature of events, activities, and objects whose meaning and value is historically contingent.

Jennifer Cooke is Senior Lecturer in English at Loughborough University. She is editor of the book of essays Scenes of Intimacy: Reading, Writing and Theorizing Contemporary Literature (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013), and a special issue of Textual Practice entitled Challenging Intimacies: Legacies of Psychoanalysis (September 2013). She is the author of Legacies of Plague in Literature, Theory, and Film (Palgrave 2009) and has published articles and book chapters on contemporary poetics, modernist female writers, psychoanalysis, affect theory, life-writing and Hélène Cixous. She is also a published poet.

Zinnie Harris is Senior Lecturer in Playwriting at the University of St Andrews and a multi-award winning British playwright and screenwriter. Her plays include: The Wheel (National Theatre of Scotland 2011), joint winner of the 2011 Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award and a Fringe First Award, subsequent production at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago; Midwinter, Solstice and Fall (a trilogy of plays for the Royal Shakespeare Company / Traverse Theatre 2005 / 2006 / 2008); Julie (National Theatre of Scotland 2006); Nightingale and Chase (Royal Court Theatre, London 2001); Further than the Furthest Thing (Royal National Theatre/Tron Theatre, then British Council Tour to South Africa), subsequent production at MTC, New York; and, By Many Wounds (Hampstead Theatre 1999). Her television writing includes ‘Born with Two Mothers’ and ‘Richard is my Boyfriend’, both for Channel 4, and several episodes for the BBC One Drama Series Spooks. She was writer in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company from 2000–2001 and is currently an Associate Artist at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh.

Robert Macfarlane is University Senior Lecturer in Post-WWII Writing in English in the Faculty of English at the University of Cambridge – where he co-convenes the ‘Contemporary Writing’ special paper – and a Fellow of Emmanuel College. He has published widely on contemporary literature, with particular interests in the novel, travel writing, experimental non-fiction, and radical landscape poetry. He is the author of three award-winning books exploring aspects of place and imagination – Mountains of the Mind (2003), The Wild Places (2007) and The Old Ways (2012). He is currently finishing Landmarks, a book about landscape-lexis, and working on a book about subterranea called Under. He was a Booker Prize judge in 2004; and Chair of the Man Booker Prize in 2013.