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Personal profile

Key Research Interests

Confessional and experimental literary forms; Creative criticism; Women's writing; Motherhood; Feminism; Critical Theory...


Thesis title (provisional): Towards a Poetics of Motherhood

Through figures of 'interruption', 'effacement'... the critical thesis is an affirmative reading of contemporary maternal writing (Andrea Brady, Maggie Nelson, Jenny Offill, Sarah Manguso, Sara Ruhl…).  It seeks to think about formal elements of maternal writing or, motherhood as form.  Critical and creative elements of the PhD are directly related, folding one into the other.  The latter occupies a maternal first person in a fragmented essay on motherhood.


Professional Activities

Olivia is the Postgraduate Representative of the Contemporary Women's Writing Association (CWWA).  She is currently co-organising a series of workshops and events geared at postgraduate and early career researchers working in the field of contemporary women's writing for the CWWA Postgraduate Network (formerly PG CWWN).

She co-organised the Postgraduate Contemporary Women's Writing Network (PG CWWN)'s 7th biennial conference, New Configurations of Contemporary Women's Writing, which took place at the University of Hull on 9 September 2019.  

She was one of the organisers of Love Takes Risks: The Poetics of Contemporary Small-Press Fiction, a symposium that took place at UEA on 2 March 2019.


Conference Papers:

'Effacement: A Maternal Reading', CWWA Conference, Northumbria University, 20th-21st September 2018.

'Interruption: A Maternal Reading', Critical Reinventions, University of East Anglia, 12th May 2018.

'One Speaks as a Mother...', Matricentric Feminism Conference, Syracuse University, Florence, May 2nd-4th 2018.

'An Assemblage of Exploded Bits that Cohere Anyway: A Poetics of Interruption', MIRCI International Conference, Galway, July 6th-9th 2017.




Olivia Heal is a Creative-Critical (Prose) PhD Candidate at the University of East Anglia.  Her work engages with contemporary maternal writing, with an emphasis on how maternal praxis and experience informs the literature.  Her short fiction has been published in a number of literary journals including The White Reviewgorse, and The Stinging Fly.  Her translation of an extract of Marius Daniel Popescu's La Symphonie du loup, appeared in Best European Fiction 2016 (Dalkey Archive Press).

Academic Background

2007 - 2008     UNIVERSITE PARIS VIII  Masters 2 Recherche - Lettres, Genre(s), Pensées de la Différence (MRes- Literature, Philosophy and Gender Studies)

2002 - 2006     TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN  BA Spanish and French

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