Alison Donnell
  • 1.07a Arts and Humanities Building

Accepting PhD Students

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Personal profile



Alison Donnell is Professor of Modern Literatures in English. She joined UEA as Head of School of Literature, Drama, and Creative Writing in September 2017 and completed her term in this role in December 2022. She was previously Head of the School of Literature and Languages at the University of Reading (2013-17) and earlier worked at Nottingham Trent University and the University of Leeds.

She has an established international reputation for her work in Caribbean literary studies and her research has been funded by the AHRC, British Academy, and the Leverhulme Trust. Her most recent research project on ‘Caribbean Literary Heritage’ (2017-2022) was funded by the Leverhulme Trust and focuses on the recovery of lesser-known mid-century writers and raising awareness around authors' papers and neglected literary histories more generally. She has acted as a judge for academic prizes, and held a number of fellowships. In 2022 she was was invited to deliver the Edward Baugh Distinguished Lecture by the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, and gave the 2016 National Library of Jamaica’s Annual Distinguished Lecture.

Professor Donnell's research and teaching interests include:

  • Anglophone Caribbean literature
  • Black British literature
  • the intersections between feminism and postcolonialism
  • literature and social/global justice 
  • postcolonial literary histories

She would welcome applications from students wishing to work on these topics.

Key Research Interests

Professor Donnell’s research focuses on the relationships between literature and global justice agendas, in particular the injuries and legacies of colonialism. Her work is animated by the trandsdisciplinary fields of gender, queer and postcolonial studies.

She is currently working on a monograph project recovering Caribbean women writers from the mid-century alongside an edited collection of their writings.

Her primary research interest is postcolonial writings, in particular Anglophone Caribbean and Black British literatures. She also has a strong interest in women's writing, sexuality studies and archival work. Her inclinations have always been towards collaborative work, as her research projects listed below indicate.

She is General Editor of Caribbean Literature in Transition, 1800-2015, a three-volume publication for Cambridge University Press (2020). Her monograph Creolized Sexualities:Undoing Heteronormativity in the Literary Imagination of the Anglo-Caribbean was published in Rutgers' UP Critical Caribbean Series in 2021.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality