Postcolonial Writers Make Worlds

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How does literature inform how we think about the world? Can literary structures give us tools for confronting pressing global issues like race, migration and inequality?

Postcolonial Writers Make Worlds asks how literary writing, both novels and poems, shapes readers’ perceptions of the contemporary world. Focusing specifically on current Black and Asian British writing, our primary focus in the project is the experience of reading.

We will think about the ways in which readers respond to writing and writers appeal to readers. How does writing draw us in as readers? What most involves us when we read? Do we as readers read beyond the writer’s terms of address, and do writers have particular readers or readerships in mind when writing?

The broader research project, Postcolonial Text, World Form, is supported by the OUP John Fell Fund and the Oxford English Faculty. Directed by Elleke Boehmer, it investigates British writing as a dynamic cultural and imaginative medium through which new ways of thinking about Britain (and Britain in the world) can be worked out. The research will take several forms, including critical and creative writing, a reading group programme, and an exciting series of workshops in summer 2017.

The workshop series Great Writers Inspire at Home will bring a number of contemporary British writers (such as Bernardine Evaristo, Daljit Nagra and Aminatta Forna) into conversation with their readers. During the workshops, authors will read from and discuss their work, but the emphasis will be placed on readers’ responses to the writing, and generous time will be allocated for audience-writer conversation and engagement.

More information can be found at the project website:


Erica Lombard

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