Alison Donnell
  • 2.19 Arts

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Personal profile



Alison Donnell was appointed Head of School of Literature, Drama, and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia from September 2017. She was Head of the School of Literature and Languages at the University of Reading (2013-17) and previously worked at Nottingham Trent University and the University of Leeds. Her research has been funded by grants from the AHRC, British Academy, and Leverhulme Trust, and she has an established international profile in Caribbean literary studies. Her latest research project on ‘Caribbean Literary Heritage’ (2017-2020) is funded by the Leverhulme Trust and brings her critical interest in recovering neglected writers together with her commitment to safeguarding the future of the literary past. She has acted as a judge for academic prizes, held a number of fellowships, and was invited to deliver the National Library of Jamaica’s 2016 Annual Distinguished Lecture.

Professor Donnell's research and teaching interests include:

  • Anglophone Caribbean literature
  • Black British literature
  • the intersections between feminism and postcolonialism
  • writing justice from the global south
  • postcolonial literary histories

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

Key Research Interests and Expertise

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.

Her primary research interest is postcolonial writings, in particular Anglophone Caribbean literature and black British literature. 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.

Her recent publications include a special double issue of Caribbean Quarterly on ‘Caribbean Literary Archives’ and Caribbean Irish Connections: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (co-edited with Evelyn O’Callaghan and Maria McGarrity).

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 will be published in Rutgers' UP Critical Caribbean Series in 2021.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment 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