Jos Smith
  • 2.37 Arts

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Personal profile

Academic Background

I am a lecturer in contemporary literature with a particular interest in the environmental humanities. I have published critical work on the history of nature writing, literary geographies of Britain and Ireland, and the relationship between the arts and the environmental movement. I also publish creative work with an interest in landscape, ecology and conservation and I am currently leading the AHRC-funded 'Speculative Nature Writing: Feeling for the Future'. This is a creative-critical project exploring responses to the provocation - 'what might nature writing sound like at the end of this century?'

I studied literature at the University of Nottingham where I became interested in the relationship between literary studies, cultural geography and environmental criticism. I completed a PhD at the University of Exeter looking at the emergence of the New Nature Writing as a cultural phenomenon with roots in the environmental movement of the 1970s. This work led to my first academic book The New Nature Writing: Rethinking the Literature of Place. I then undertook a British Academy postdoctoral research fellowship concerned with the network of authors, artists and activists associated with the arts and environmental charity Common Ground drawing on their extensive archive now held by Special Collections in Exeter.

My interests remain at the intersection of literary studies, cultural geography and environmental criticism but they also now take in contemporary literature, post-war British and Irish poetry, critical heritage studies, land art, the Anthropocene, literary geographies and archipelagic criticism. With respect to the latter of these, I am on the advisory board of the Atlantic Archipelagos Research Consortium and have co-edited with Nicholas Allen and Nick Groom the volume of essays Coastal Works: Cultures of the Atlantic Edge.

I also write poetry and a first collection, Subterranea, was published by Arc Publications in 2016. This was followed in 2017 by the pamphlet Sun with Guillemot Press.