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Dr Caroline Edwards

  • Overview



    Caroline is currently Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Literature & Culture. From April 2023 she is also Executive Director of the award-winning publisher Open Library of Humanities (OLH), which she founded with Prof. Martin Eve in 2013.

    Caroline is available for PhD supervisions. Please see the "Supervision and Teaching" tab for further information.


    • Keynote Lecture, "Arboreal Revelation at the World's Beginning," Between Fiction and Society: Imagination and Worldbuilding in the Aftermath of a Global Pandemic, international conference & film festival (sognielettrici / electricdreams), IULM University, Milan, Italy, October 2022 (video recording available to watch on YouTube)

    • Distinguished Faber Lecture and Keynote Address, “Idyll & Utopia in the Era of Ecocatastrophe: Elemental Utopian Becomings,” “Idyll and Utopia” Conference, German Department, Princeton University, United States, October 2021 (video recording available to watch here)

    • Interview with Margaret Atwood (titled “Science, Fiction and the Future”) as part of the New Scientist Live 2017 Festival of Ideas, ExCeL London VIP Area / Main Stage, October 2017 (video recording available to watch here)

    • Co-Founder of the award-winning open access journals publishing platform Open Library of Humanities with Prof. Martin Eve, which officially launched in September 2015 with a $741,000 3-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

    • Curator of "Imagined Futures," a dedicated display about my research into speculative visions of future London in utopian and dystopian literature featured at the Museum of London, October 2017-April 2018 (watch a short film about the display here)

    • Radio documentary, “Science Fiction and Ecological Thinking,” BBC Radio 3, 15th April 2020 (available to listen to here)

    • Founding Member of The British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies (BACLS) and the association's first Secretary from 2017 to 2019

    • Founder of Alluvium Journal, which launched in 2012 as a journal of 21st-century literary studies and became the postgraduate journal of the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies in 2018.


    • PhD Critical Theory, University of Nottingham, 2010
    • BA (Hons) English Literature, University of Warwick, 2004
    • MA Critical Theory, University of Warwick, 2005

    Web profiles

    Administrative responsibilities

    • Executive Director of the Open Library of Humanities
    • Director of the Centre for Contemporary Literature

    Professional memberships

    • Modern Languages Association (MLA)

    • Utopian Studies Society (Europe)

    • Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present (ASAP)

    • British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies (BACLS)

    • Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE)


  • Research


    Research interests

    • contemporary literary studies
    • utopian studies
    • science fiction studies
    • the philosophy of time
    • environmental humanities
    • Marxist aesthetics
    • petrocultures and the energy humanities
    • open access publishing

    Research overview

    Caroline's research focuses on the utopian imagination in contemporary literature, science fiction, apocalyptic narratives, and Western Marxism. She is author of Utopia and the Contemporary British Novel (Cambridge University Press, 2019), which examines temporal experience and utopian anticipation in contemporary texts by British writers including Hari Kunzru, Maggie Gee, David Mitchell, Ali Smith, Jim Crace, Joanna Kavenna, Grace McCleen, Jon McGregor and Claire Fuller. Her work on contemporary writers has also led to two co-edited books of essays: China Miéville: Critical Essays (Gylphi, 2015) and Maggie Gee: Critical Essays (Gylphi, 2015).

    Caroline is currently working on her second monograph, Hopeful Inhumanism: The Elemental Aesthetics of Ecocatastrophe, which examines strangely hopeful moments of inhuman collaboration within the elemental contexts of the lithic, the mycological, the arboreal, and the hydrological. Focusing on novels, films, TV series, artworks, and sculpture primarily produced since 2010, the book explores works such as N. K. Jemisin's "Broken Earth" trilogy, Jeff VanderMeer's weird fiction, Wangechi Mutu's multimedia artworks, J. G. Ballard's ecocatastrophe fictions, Jason de Caires Taylor's underwater sculptures, Lars von Trier's apocalyptic cinema, Sasha Velour's drag performance, Tade Thompson's mycopunk, Elif Shafak's arboreal narration, Joe Acheson’s sonic arrangement of trees, mycorrhizal electrical signals, and birdsong, Nalo Hopkinson's speculative fiction, and Seana Gavin's fungal collages.

    Her other main project at the moment is editing The Cambridge Companion to British Utopian Literature and Culture, 1945-2020 (forthcoming in 2025).

    Caroline has written a number of journal articles for publications such as TelosModern Fiction StudiesTextual PracticeContemporary Literature, Science Fiction Studies, ASAP: Journal of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present, the New Statesman and the Times Higher Education. 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), The Routledge Companion to Twenty-First-Century Fiction (ed. Robert Eaglestone and Daniel O'Gorman) and the Palgrave Handbook of Utopian and Dystopian Literature (ed. Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor, Fátima Vieira and Peter Marks).

    For a full list of publications, please visit Caroline's CV.

    Caroline is on the editorial boards for the Palgrave Studies in Utopianism book series and Gylphi's SF Storyworlds: Critical Studies in Science Fiction book series. She is a member of the Modern Languages Association, the Utopian Studies Society, the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present (ASAP), the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association and the English Association. She is also a founding member of the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies (BACLS) and acted as Secretary of the association from 2016-18.

    Research Centres and Institutes

    Research clusters and groups

  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    Please note - Caroline is not accepting any more applications for the 2023-2024 PhD applications cycle.

    Caroline is an experienced PhD supervisor, having worked with doctoral students on a number of projects investigating subjects such as contemporary experimental fiction, utopian literature, Marxist aesthetics, creative writing and science fiction, feminist science fiction, feminist cyberpunk, human-animal relations in the Anthropocene, and feminist dystopian narratives. To date, she has supervised 10 PhD students to completion and works regularly as an External Examiner for PhD viva voce examinations around the UK.

    Caroline welcomes PhD applications on the following topics: 21st-century literature, utopian and dystopian narratives, science fiction, literary and critical theory, Western Marxism and the philosophy of the Frankfurt School. [N.B. If you are interested in undertaking a PhD on contemporary literature, please ensure that you have thought about the gender balance of your case studies before making an application. Caroline is not interested in supervising projects that have not made every reasonable effort to include women authors and thinkers.]

    If you are considering applying for MPhil/PhD research in any of these areas, please get in touch with Caroline or the Admissions Tutor about your research plan before making an application.

    Current doctoral researchers


    Doctoral alumni since 2013-14



    Caroline runs the MA Contemporary Literature and Culture. She usually teaches the following modules:

    • Reading the Contemporary (MA Contemporary Literature & Culture core module)
    • Time for Revolution (MA optional module)
    • Key Concepts in Cultural and Critical Studies: Part 1 (MA Cultural & Critical Studies core module)
    • The Novel (BA English core module)
    • Writing London (BA English core module)
    • Critical Methods (BA English core module)
  • Publications




    Book Section

    Conference Item

  • Business and community

    Business and community


    I am happy to receive enquiries from the media on the following topics:

    • science fiction
    • the utopian imagination
    • ecocatastrophe


      Caroline has been invited to participate in a number of media events, interviews and programmes, discussing contemporary literature in the 21st century, science fiction, and open access publishing. Here are a few of her recorded interviews and contributions:

      • BBC Radio 3 programme, "The Robots Are Us," broadcast on 10 January 2021 (available to listen to on BBC Sounds)
      • BBC Radio 3 "Free Thinking" programme on "Science Fiction and Ecological Thinking," broadcast on 15 April 2020 (available to listen to on the BBC website)
      • BBC Radio 3 / AHRC podcast on "Science Fiction," part of the "Arts & Ideas" series, published online on 18 March 2020 
      • BBC Radio 4 Documentary, “The Problem of Leisure,” part of the “Archive on 4” series, broadcast on 14 December 2019 (available to listen to here)
      • BBC Radio 4's World at One programme live broadcast (with Mark Mardell and John Lanchester), broadcast on 10 May 2019 
      • "Imagined Futures" short film made with the Museum of London in March 2018 (available to watch on YouTube)
      • Interview with Margaret Atwood, headline event at New Scientist Live festival at London's ExCeL Centre, October 2017 (available to watch on YouTube)
      • BBC Radio 4 "Woman's Hour" live broadcast (discussion about feminist Martian fiction), 7 March 2017 (available to listen to here)
      • BBC Radio 4 Documentary, "A New Red World," broadcast on 7 March 2017 (available to listen to here)
      • BBC Radio 3 "Free Thinking" live broadcast (discussion about the literary Weird), 29 November 2016 
      • BBC One Documentary, "Future Tense: The Story of H. G. Wells," broadcast on 16 September 2016 (available to watch on YouTube here)