Dr Anne Whitehead
Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature

  • Email: anne.whitehead@ncl.ac.uk
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 3531
  • Fax: +44 (0) 191 208 8708
  • Address: School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK.


I am Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics. I am currently Director of Postgraduate Research for the School and, in semester 1 of 2015-16, I served as Newcastle's Acting Academic Director of the Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership.


I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2006, after being appointed as Lecturer in 1999. Prior to this, I held a two year post-doctoral research position as Earl Grey Memorial Fellow at Newcastle University. 


My research to date has been underpinned by a commitment to the critical thinking in literary studies as itself performing a critical, as in vital, function. In the field of trauma studies, my work has addressed literature's critical potential in the contexts of war and genocide, with particular interests in the writing of Pat Barker and W. G. Sebald. In memory studies, I have traced a critical history of the term 'memory' in Western discourse, mapping out its key continuities and transformations. More recently, I have turned to the concepts of 'care' and 'empathy', asking how contemporary literary fiction might strategically mobilise these terms as a form of critical intervention. My current research is also situated in the medical humanities and I have been working in collaboration with colleagues at Newcastle and Durham Universities to  conceptualise a critical medical humanities.      


I have extensive experience of doctoral supervision. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in pursuing a research Masters (MLitt), a PhD, or postdoctoral research on topics related to the research areas noted above.  I also welcome opportunities to supervise the critical component of Creative Writing PhDs.




Current Work

I am currently working on two contracted book projects:

Anne Whitehead, Angela Woods, Sarah Atkinson, Jane Macnaughton and Jennifer Richards (eds) The Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016).

Anne Whitehead, Medicine and Empathy in Contemporary British Fiction (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017).


External Funding

AHRC Knowledge Transfer Partnership (PI) - Michael Morpurgo and Children's Literature Exhibition, with Seven Stories: The National Centre for the Children's Book (2015-2016).

Wellcome Trust Small Grant (CI) - The Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities: An International Workshop (2014). 

AHRC Research Leave Award (PI) - Memory: New Critical Idiom (2006-2007)

AHRC Research Leave Award (PI) - Trauma Fiction (2002-2003)

British Academy Small Research Grant (PI)- The Charlotte Salomon Archive (2001).


Doctoral Supervision

Current students include:

Maria Chatzianastani, 'Female Experience and War Trauma in Cypriot Children's Literature Since 1974'

Marie Stern-Peltz, 'Coming of Age and the First World War in Contemporary Fiction After 1989' (AHRC)

Bonny Brooks, 'Story, empathy and trauma: "Red in the Half Light of Winter"' (AHRC)

Emily Anderson, 'Humour in British Writing of the First World War' (AHRC)

Stephanie Butler, 'Trauma and Women's Letters of the Second World War'.


Completed students include:

Leen Maes, 'Imagined Witness: Representing the Holocaust in American Women's Fiction (AHRC)

Franklyn Hyde, 'Towards Decolonisation in the Fiction of J.M.Coetzee' (AHRC)

Katie Harland, 'The Roots of Traumatic Memory: Wordsworth and the Origins of Trauma in Literature' (AHRC)

Lucy Gallagher, 'The Contemporary Women's Middlebrow Novel' (AHRC)

Ivan Stacy, 'Narrative as Complicity: Atrocity, Culpability and Failures of Witnessing in W. G. Sebald and Kazuo Ishiguro'. 

Clare Almond, 'Rehearsing Modern Tragedy: A Benjaminian Interpretation of Drama and the Dramatic in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Writings'.

Alex Adams, '"What Can Be Infinitely Destroyed Is What Can Infinitely Survive": Literary and Filmic Representations of Political Torture from Algiers to Guantanamo' (AHRC).

Alex Lockwood, 'Psychoanalysis, Self Identity and Affect: A Creative and Critical Exploration'.    

Tom Langley, 'The Postcolonial in Italy, Italy in the Postcolonial' (AHRC) 


Doctoral Examining

Sheffield University; Durham University; University of St Andrews; University of Stirling; Vaasa University, Finland. 


External Assessorships

AHRC; Leverhulme Trust; Royal Society; Newton Fellowships; Humanities and Social Sciences Research Council of Canada; the Flemish Research Council (FWO), Vlaanderen; the Research Council of KU Leuven.


Editorial Boards and Professional Memberships  

I am on the editorial board for the Journal of Trauma and Literature. I am also on the advisory board for the AHRC funded Memory Network.

I am on the steering committee for the Northern Network for Medical Humanities, and I am a member of the research network War-Net, and the Northern Theory School



Undergraduate Teaching

SEL3356, Madness, Medicine and Modern Literature.

SEL2206, Class, Nation, Identity.

SEL1023 Transformations.


Postgraduate Teaching

Thinking Theories and Methods: 'Medical Humanities'.


External Examining

From 2011-2014, I was appointed as external examiner for the undergraduate degree programmes in English Literature at Cardiff University.