UCL English



FutureLearn Courses

Professor Bas Aarts and Mr Luke Pearce (English) have created two new courses on the FutureLearn platform. These include, English Grammar: All You Need to Know, which is a six-week course which takes an in-depth look at the nuts and bolts of English grammar. And Teaching English Grammar in Context, a follow-on course for the existing FutureLearn course English Grammar for Teachers.

Find out more about the English Grammar: All You Need to Know and the Teaching English Grammar in Context course.

Index, A History of the

Dr Dennis Duncan's (English) novel Index, A History of the has been recognised by the New York Times in the 100 Notable Books of 2022, and by TIME Magazine in The100 Must-Read Books of 2022. 

Find out more about Index, A History of the

The Political Fiction Prize 2023

Dr Julia Jordan (English) will be judging The Political Fiction Prize 2023, one of five prizes from The Orwell Foundation, alongside the writer and philosopher John Gray (chair), Alison Flood and Tomiwa Owolade.

Learn more about the Orwell Prizes

TS Eliot Society annual lecture

On 17 December English hosted the Annual Lecture of the TS Eliot Society. This year's speaker was Professor John Haffenden, the editor of T.S. Eliot's letters. Haffenden's subject was Eliot's first wife, Vivien. Haffenden explored their troubled relationship, assessed her contributions to the composition of The Waste Land, and made a case for Vivien's own writings, which were published under a pseudonym in the magazine that her husband founded and edited, The Criterion.

Learn more about the TS Eliot Society

Moveable Type

Moveable Type is the graduate, peer-reviewed journal from the English Department. They have commissioned Katie Caden to write a radio play responding to the latest issue's theme of 'Unfeeling'.

Listen to the radio play on SoundCloud

Tom Branfoot wins the New Poets Prize 2022

The New Poets Prize 2022 has just been announced and Tom Branfoot (current MA Issues in Modern Culture student) is one of the four winners awarded a prize for his manuscript 'This Is Not an Epiphany'. 

The English Society wins Students' Union Silver Departmental Development Award 

The English Society receives a £1,000 silver award at the Students' Union Departmental Society Development Awards held on the 6th June to further develop the Society in 2022-23.

UCL English Department ranked 4th in the UK and 13th in the world for Academic excellence

QS World University Rankings 2022 

Fraser McIlwraith is the 2021 winner of the Review of English Studies Essay Prize.

The leading literary journal RES, published by Oxford University Press, was founded in 1925, and publishes literary-historical research in all areas of English literature and language from the earliest period to the present. The prestigious prize is open to all postgraduate students in Britain and abroad, as well as to postgraduates within 2 years of having received their PhD. Fraser, a third-year PhD student in the English Department, won with his essay ‘Reading by Pieces: Heliodorus, Sir Philip Sidney, and the Model of Romance’, which explores the sixteenth-century reception of Heliodorus’s Aethiopika and Sidney’s conception and practice of literary imitation. The article is now available to read, and will appear in the Summer print issue. Submissions for the 2022 prize will be welcomed from April.

English Grammar for Teachers designed by Professor Bas Aarts: now available on the FutureLearn platform

The course was designed by Professor Bas Aarts (English Language and Literature) and is aimed at primary and secondary teachers in English schools to help them deliver the specifications of the National Curriculum for English grammar. It is offered online several times a year and runs asynchronously over six weeks which allows participants to study at their own pace.

English Grammar for Teachers helps to demystify the teaching of English grammar and to ensure that it plays a creative, engaging and rewarding role in English classroom teaching. The course is fully integrated with the Englicious platform, which was developed at the Survey of English Usage. It offers original English grammar and language teaching resources, such as lesson plans, exercises, videos and assessment materials that teachers can use as part of their teaching.

Dr Xine Yao wins two prizes for her first book

Disaffected: The Cultural Politics of Unfeeling in Nineteenth-Century America (Duke University Press, 2021) has received the Arthur Miller First Book Prize Honourable Mention from the British Association of American Studies. Disaffected has previously won the Duke University Press Scholar of Colour First Book Award

Dr Xine Yao book cover

In Disaffected Xine Yao explores the racial and sexual politics of unfeeling—affects that are not recognized as feeling—as a means of survival and refusal in nineteenth-century America. She positions unfeeling beyond sentimentalism's paradigm of universal feeling. Yao traces how works by Herman Melville, Martin R. Delany, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, and Sui Sin Far engaged major socio-political issues in ways that resisted the weaponization of white sentimentalism against the lives of people of colour. Exploring variously pathologized, racialized, queer, and gendered affective modes like unsympathetic Blackness, queer female frigidity, and Oriental inscrutability, these authors departed from the values that undergird the politics of recognition and the liberal project of inclusion. By theorizing feeling otherwise as an antisocial affect, form of dissent, and mode of care, Yao suggests that unfeeling can serve as a contemporary political strategy for people of colour to survive in the face of continuing racism and white fragility.

Dr Xine Yao wins Provost's Highly Commended Award 

Provost's Highly Commended Award for Embedding Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion

Dr Victoria Moul awarded British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship

Dr Victoria Moul (UCL Department of Greek & Latin/UCL Department of English Language & Literature) has been awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship for the project "The poetics of Protestantism: understanding the circulation and significance of Protestant Latin verse, c. 1550-1620." Read more with Faculty of Arts & Humanities news

Professor Peter Swaab persuades Penguin to re-publish Sylvia Townsend Warner's work as Modern Classics 

Read the interview with Professor Swaab on the Faculty of Arts and Humanities news page

Dr Christine 'Xine' Yao elected as MLA Delegate Assembly

Dr Christine 'Xine' Yao
Dr Xine Yao has been elected as the Modern Language Association's Delegate Assembly to represent the forum for Nineteeth-Century American Literature, Language, and Culture 2021-2024. 

Dr Christine 'Xine' Yao announced as BBC New Generation Thinker

Dr Christine ‘Xine’ Yao (UCL English) has been named as one of this year’s ‘New Generation Thinkers’ by the BBC and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Each year the scheme gives ten early career academics, who have a passion for communication, a platform to share their ideas with a wider audience via BBC Radio 3 and other outlets

Professor Richard North involved in the project to develop a web and mobile app for the Canterbury Tales

The app is an offshoot of a 10-year project based at USask to digitize the Canterbury Tales, contains key new research work. This includes a new edited text of the Prologue created by USask sessional lecturer Barbara Bordalejo, a new reading of the Tales by former USask student Colin Gibbings, and new findings about the Tales by UCL medievalist Professor Richard North. The National Library of Wales offered its digitized version of the Prologue’s original manuscript for the app.

Professor Richard North (UCL English), said: “While the app has material which should be of interest to every Chaucer scholar, it is particularly designed to be useful to people reading Chaucer for the first time. These include not only bachelor of arts university students and school children but also members of the public who have their own interest in Chaucer and his works.”  

2020 New Year Honour for English Department Alumnus

Steven Knight (UCL English 1980 and Honorary Fellow of UCL) has been awarded an OBE for services to drama, entertainment and to the community in Birmingham

2019 Hobbes Prize Winners

The joint winners of the 2019 John Oliver Hobbes Memorial Scholarship in Modern English Literature (best submitted essay category) are Mo Barry-Wilson and Izzie Suckling. This competition, open to all second- and final-year undergraduate students of the Department, is for the best essay on a literary subject of the entrant's choosing. There were a good number of entries and the judges were impressed with the high quality of the work submitted. 

The prize was set up in memory of Pearl Craigie (1867-1906), pen-name John Oliver Hobbes, who was an Anglo-American novelist and alumna of UCL. A monument to the author can be seen above the Returns section of the UCL Main Library; this was unveiled in 1908, and the Scholarship was founded at the same time. Additional Hobbes Prize categories exist for the best BA English Research Essay, and for best MA dissertation (these are awarded automatically to the highest-performing students in the Department following the respective exam board meetings and there is no need to submit entries). 

The 2018 Celia Phillips Memorial Lecture

The 2018 Celia Phillips Memorial Lecture ‘Frank O’Hara’s Poetries of Surface’, given by Postgraduate student Tymek Woodham, took place on the 4th October 2018 in the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre. Members of Celia’s family and friends attended the lecture and reception that followed in the English Department. As this year was the 40th anniversary of Celia’s death, her former PhD supervisor Professor John Sutherland gave a brief address before the lecture, and has written the following memorial.           

Celia Phillips (1943 - 1978) was a graduate student at UCL who died 40 years ago while near the end of her studies here. I was her supervisor and am, I think, the sole surviving member of the department who had direct personal contact with Celia. It was my good fortune.

She was a mature student - ten years older than the usual run of those embarking on graduate studies. She had worked in educational publishing before coming to UCL. Her book-trade background had inspired a fascination with the way ideas become publication and publication becomes influence.

Her other, private, impulse for undertaking research was interest in the Victorian novelist ‘Ouida’ - pen-name of Marie Louise de la Ramée - admired in her time (by Henry James among others), now sadly forgotten. This, the 1970s, was when the rediscovery of women writers, spear-headed by the publishing firm Virago, was in full swing. Celia was part of that rediscovery, which has changed our whole frame of literary history.

 I shared Celia’s interest in publishing history but was less acquainted with Ouida. As often happens in a fulfilling supervisor-graduate relationship, I received as much as I gave. Precociously, Celia published articles in top-rank learned journals such as the Bulletin of the New York Public Library and Publishing History. Had she been spared the cruel affliction which prematurely killed her, she would have written the authoritative biography which her author still lacks.

Celia was a wonderfully warm and outgoing person who made friends in the Department at staff and student level. The Department felt bereaved on her death. Her family generously endowed an annual lecture, by a postgraduate, in her memory. It stands as a yearly tribute to the scholarly vitality and fresh thinking which characterizes graduate research UCL’s English Department. In that sense, she lives. (John Sutherland)