School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Staff Profile

Professor Anne Whitehead

Professor of Modern and Contemporary Literature



Anne is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Literature and she has published on poetry, the short story and the contemporary novel, with particular interests in Pat Barker, Kazuo Ishiguro and W. G. Sebald. She specialises in trauma and memory studies, feminist theory, and the medical humanities. She has published three monographs: Trauma Fiction (2004), Memory: New Critical Idiom (2008) and Medicine and Empathy in Contemporary British Fiction (2017).

Anne has worked at Newcastle University since she was appointed as a lecturer in 1999. 

Roles and Responsibilities

In semester 1 of 2020-21, Anne is Deputy Head of the School of English as well as Director of Impact. She is on research leave in semester 2. 

She sits on the steering committee of the Newcastle University Medical Humanities Network. 






Research Interests

Anne's research focuses on modern and contemporary literature, and she has particular interests in medical humanities, trauma and memory studies, and feminism and affect. Her most recent publications are Medicine and Empathy in Contemporary British Fiction (Edinburgh University Press, 2017) and the co-edited Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities (Edinburgh University Press, 2016). Her other books include Memory: New Critical Idiom (Routledge, 2008), Theories of Memory: A Reader (Edinburgh University Press, 2007), W. G. Sebald: A Critical Companion (Edinburgh University Press, 2004), and Trauma Fiction (Edinburgh University Press, 2004).

Anne has co-edited a special issue of Feminist Theory on feminism and affect (2012). Her articles have been published in Modern Fiction Studies, Contemporary Literature and Textual Practice, and her new essay on Kazuo Ishiguro's short stories is scheduled for publication in Modern Fiction Studies in 2021. 

Anne is currently writing her next monograph, Relating Suicide, which is contracted to Bloomsbury's Critical Interventions in the Medical and Health Humanities series.   

Doctoral Supervision

Anne is an experienced supervisor of doctoral projects and welcomes applications in any area of her expertise. She was Director of Postgraduate Studies for the School of English (2013-16) and she acted as Interim Director of the Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Consortium (2015-16).

External Activities 

Anne is a regular national and international examiner and reviewer. She is a member of the AHRC Peer Review College (2017-2022) and she reviews applications for, amongst others, the Wellcome Trust, the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Icelandic Research Council.

Anne sits on the steering committee of the Wellcome funded Northern Network for Medical Humanities Research.

Anne was the project lead on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children's Books, which was the recipient of the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Award for Knowledge Exchange Project of the Year, 2017.    


Undergraduate Teaching

SEL3362, English Literature Dissertation (module leader and supervisor)

SEL3364/5, Independent Essay I and II (module leader, supervisor and lecturer)

SEL2206, Contemporary Cultures (lecturer and seminar leader)

SEL1023, Transformations (lecturer)


Postgraduate Teaching

Research Methods: 'Representing Pain' (MA in English Literature)

Thinking Theories and Methods: 'Medical Humanities' (Doctoral Training Programme, Faculty of Arts and Humanities)


External Examining

Anne is currently an external examiner on the MA in Medical Humanities: Bodies, Cultures and Ideas at Birkbeck, University of London (2020-2024).  

She has previously been appointed as external examiner of the undergraduate English Literature programmes at Cardiff University (2011-2014) and at Bristol University (2016-20).