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Dr Caroline Edwards

Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature
BA, MA (Warwick), PhD (Nottingham)

Dr Caroline Edwards is Lecturer in Modern & Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck, University of London. Her research focuses on the utopian imagination in contemporary literature, science fiction, apocalyptic narratives, and Western Marxism. She is author of Fictions of the Not Yet: Time in the 21st Century British Novel (forthcoming), an academic study examining temporal experience and utopian anticipation in contemporary texts by British writers including Hari Kunzru, Maggie Gee, David Mitchell, Ali Smith, Jim Crace, Marina Warner, Sam Taylor, Joanna Kavenna, Grace McCleen, Jon McGregor, Patrick Ness and Claire Fuller. Her work on contemporary writers has also led to two co-edited books: China Miéville: Critical Essays, co-edited with Tony Venezia (Gylphi, 2015) and Maggie Gee: Critical Essays, co-edited with Sarah Dillon (Gylphi, 2015). Caroline is currently working on her second monograph, Arcadian Revenge: Utopia, Apocalypse and Science Fiction in the Era of Ecocatastrophe, which considers how fictions of extreme environments (such as Mars, Antarctica, the deep sea, and the centre of the Earth) have allowed writers to imagine creative responses to real and perceived disasters about climate change, from the late 19th century to the present day.

Caroline has also written a number of journal articles for publications such as Telos, Modern Fiction Studies, Textual Practice, Contemporary Literature, ASAP: Journal of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present, and the New Statesman. Her book chapter contributions on science and utopian fiction and contemporary literature include chapters for The Cambridge Companion to British Fiction, 1980 to the Present (ed. Peter Boxall), The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction, 2nd edition (ed. Niall Harrison, Farah Mendlesohn and Edward James), Science Fiction: A Literary History (ed. Roger Luckhurst, for the British Library Press), and The Routledge Companion to Contemporary Fiction (ed. Robert Eaglestone). She is regularly involved in public events and has been invited to speak at the Wellcome Trust, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 3, Hillingdon Literary Festival, the Museum of London, BBC One South East, the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, and the LSE Literary Festival.

Caroline is also known for her advocacy in open access publishing. She is Founding and Commissioning Editor of the open access journal of 21st-century literary criticism, Alluvium, and is Founder (with Prof. Martin Eve) and Editorial Director of the Open Library of Humanities (OLH) – a leading open access publishing platform for humanities journals, which is also working with numerous international partners including: Harvard University Press, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Open Book Publishers, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Public Knowledge Project, the Wellcome Trust, the British Library, the Creative Commons, RCUK, Jisc Collections, and the Modern Languages Association. As part of her campaigning for open access and work in publishing, Caroline regularly gives invited keynote talks and lectures at open access conferences and publishing events.

In addition to her public engagement work, Caroline has also been invited to lecture at a number of academic and public institutions, including Harvard University, the European Commission in Brussels, the LSE, King's College London, the National Library of Sweden, the University of Durham, the Academy of the Fine Arts in Vienna, UCL, the University of Cardiff, the Royal Irish Academy, SOAS, the University of Warwick, the Literary London Society, the British Library, Queen Mary, University of London, and the Institute of English Studies. She has given media interviews for the BBC, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Times Higher Education, the Austrian national broadcaster Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF) and the Guardian.

Caroline supervises several PhD research students working on contemporary literature and science fiction, as well as digital humanities, projects. She welcomes PhD applications on the following topics: 21st-century literature, utopian and dystopian narratives, science fiction (particularly feminist SF, ecocatastrophe narratives, the New Weird, and contemporary slipstream), apocalyptic literature and culture, literary and critical theory, Western Marxism and the philosophy of the Frankfurt School.

Caroline is on grant-funded leave from teaching for 2015-2018. Between 2013 and 2015, she taught on the BA EnglishMA Contemporary Literature and CultureMA Modern and Contemporary Literature and MA Cultural and Critical Studies. She was Director of the MA Contemporary Literature and Culture in 2013-2015. Caroline joined the department in September 2013, having previously worked as Lecturer in English at the University of Lincoln (2011-2013), Tutor in English Literature at the University of Surrey (2010-2011) and Visiting Lecturer at the University of Nottingham (2008). She was made a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in 2016 and has recently been elected as Secretary of the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies (BACLS).

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