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Toby Litt

  • Overview



    Toby Litt joined Birkbeck in 2008. He is the author of four collections of stories, eleven novels, a collection of essays, Mutants, and a memoir, Wrestliana.

    His most recent novel, Patience, published by Galley Beggar Press, was shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize 2020.

    His book of stories, Life-Like, published by Seagull Press, was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize. His story ‘John & John’ won the Manchester Fiction Prize, and his story ‘Call it “The Bug” Because I Have No Time To Think of a Better Title’ was shortlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award.

    With Emily Hall, he has collaborated on a trilogy of song cycles ‘Love Songs’, ‘Life Cycle,’ and ‘Rest’ on the themes of love, birth and death.

    In 2014, Vastation, an opera with a libretto by Toby and music by Samy Moussa was premiered at the Munich Biennale. Also in 2014, Toby collaborated with Mark Buckingham on Dead Boy Detectives, a monthly comic published by Vertigo DC. Toby’s completion of Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel, Free Country: A Tale of the Children’s Crusade, was published in September 2015.

    Toby is the editor of the Writers Rebel website, and the Fiction Editor of MIR Online.







    Web profiles

    Administrative responsibilities

    • Convenor of the MFA in Creative Writing

    Professional activities

    Core Management Team of the SMaRteN (Student Mental Health Research Network).

    Professional memberships

    • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2011


  • Research


    Research interests

    • Short Stories
    • Satire
    • Soto Zen Buddhism
    • Science Fiction
  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    I welcome Creative Writing PhD applications.


    • Christos Callow, 'Etherotopia, an Ideal State and a State of Mind: Utopian Philosophy as Literature and Practice' (2014)

    Current doctoral researchers



    I teach on the MFA in Creative Writing.

    I am also a Tutor on the MA in Creative Writing.

    Teaching modules

    • Reading and Writing the Contemporary (AREN223S7)
    • Advanced Writing Workshop (AREN224S7)
    • Creative Writing Summer Term Lecture Series (AREN227Z7)
    • Writing Workshop (ENHU039S7)
    • Contemporary Writing 2: Genre (ENHU041S7)
  • Publications



    • Litt, Toby (2016) Sourcedness. Critical Quarterly 58 (1), pp. 96-101. ISSN 0011-1562.


    • Litt, Toby (2019) Patience. Galley Beggar Press.
    • Litt, Toby (2018) Wrestliana. Norwich, UK: Galley Beggar Press.
    • Litt, Toby (2018) Notes for a young gentleman. Kolkata, India: Seagull Books. ISBN 9780857424853.
    • Litt, Toby (2016) Mutants. Calcutta, India: Seagull Books. ISBN 9780857423337.
    • Litt, Toby (2014) Life-like. Chicago, USA: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780857422071.
    • Litt, Toby (2010) King Death. London, UK: Penguin. ISBN 9780141902920.
    • Litt, Toby (2009) I play the drums in a band called okay. London, UK: Penguin. ISBN 9780141017921.
    • Litt, Toby (2009) Journey into Space. London, UK: Penguin. ISBN 9780141902906.
    • Litt, Toby (2008) Hospital: a dream vision. London, UK: Penguin. ISBN 9780141901244.
    • Litt, Toby (2007) Hospital. London, UK: Hamish Hamilton. ISBN 9780241142806.
    • Litt, Toby (2005) Ghost story. London, UK: Penguin Books. ISBN 9780141017907.
    • Litt, Toby (2004) Beatniks. London, UK: Penguin Books. ISBN 9780141017938.
    • Litt, Toby (2004) Finding myself. London, UK: Penguin Books. ISBN 9780141006543.
    • Litt, Toby (2003) Adventures in capitalism. London, UK: Penguin Books. ISBN 9780141007953.
    • Litt, Toby (2003) Exhibitionism. London, UK: Penguin Books. ISBN 9780141006536.
    • Litt, Toby (2001) Deadkidsongs. London, UK: Penguin Books. ISBN 9780140285789.
    • Litt, Toby (2000) Corpsing. Penguin Books. ISBN 9780140285772.

    Book Section

  • Business and community

    Business and community

    I have media training.


    I blog at - recent blogs have included two free writing manuals, intended to help writers without access to teaching or peer support.

    I make regular appearances on Radio 3’s literary programme, The Verb, and have also been interviewed on The Today Programme, Free Thinking and Front Row. I wrote and presented three radio documentaries for Radio 3 on Osip Mandelstam, Komitas and Paul Celan.

    I have written for a wide variety of websites, newspapers and magazines, including, Libération, The Guardian, The Literary Review, The Financial Times, The Times, The Telegraph, Modern Painters, Esquire, New Statesman and Cosmopolitan. I have interviewed Gilbert & George, Howard Hodgkin, Muriel Spark, Jennifer Egan, James Frey, Junot Diaz and J.G.Ballard.

    I have travelled with the British Council on cultural exchange tours to many countries including Armenia, Slovenia, Croatia and China.