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Research and Impact

The department of English Studies is one of Europe’s leading centres for research in literary studies. It fosters important and influential research by staff, post-doctoral fellows and postgraduates across historical, cultural, generic and thematic ranges.
Research groups and centres
Photograph of a castle with words in white projected onto it. The words read: 'Autumnal evenings are a second spring'

Research Culture 

We work collaboratively along particular themes and periods, while we are also involved in a number of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research centres and institutes. A number of visiting academics and other external partners contribute to the research environment of the Department, sometimes as Fellows of the Institute of Advanced Study. 

Our department regularly hosts international conferences, workshops, and public lecture series. Typically, in any one year we organise or co-organise around 80 different events. 

Recent conferences have ranged from Humour and Satire in British Romanticism to Consent: Histories, Representations, and Frameworks for the Future to Thatcher and Thatcherism. We organise research seminars for all staff and postgraduates to engage with visiting speakers, as well as a variety of regular reading groups. Our Late Summer Lectures Series brings the best of postgraduate research to a public audience each year. 

Our department hosts one of the longest-running online postgraduate journals in literary studies, Postgraduate English, which is edited by two PhD students each year. 


Upcoming events

Wordsworth’s The Borderers: Early and Late

Wednesday 1 February 2023 - Wednesday 1 February 2023
5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Online (Zoom)
Inventions of the Text

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Recognition for the Department’s Research Excellence

Our outstanding research environment and our impact on public life, community, and culture have been recognised in the Research Excellence Framework 2021.
Photograph of a castle standing above a river. The text REF20201 Research Excellence Framework is on the front of the image.

Lumiere 2021 – In conversation with Kayo Chingonyi

For this year’s biennial Lumiere light festival Durham University have brought together the producers, Artichoke, and regional writing development agency New Writing North, on an exciting collaboration that will see new works from some of the UK’s leading poets light up Durham Castle. Among them is prize winning writer Kayo Chingonyi, an Assistant Professor in our Department. Here Kayo talks about his involvement and how poetry has been a central part of his life.
Image of Kayo Chingonyi

‘Something that speaks to you in the quiet of the night’: Horror writing with Naomi Booth

This Halloween, Dr Naomi Booth, Associate Professor in the Department of English Studies and award-winning fiction writer tells us about horror writing and the Boggart, a forgotten folklore monster.
Farmhouse on open moorland

Professor David Lawton awarded the British Academy's Sir Israel Gollancz Prize

We are delighted that Professor David Lawton from our Department of English Studies has been awarded the British Academy's Sir Israel Gollancz Prize for 2022.
David Lawton