Spotlight – August 2022

Welcome to the Spotlight Newsletter.

We have taken full advantage of the return to in-person events in the last two terms, with a variety of inspiring talks, workshops and exhibitions organised by our Faculty members.

We were delighted to welcome Rachel Cusk and Shakespeare Okuni to the Faculty to hold creative writing workshops for students. Alice Oswald, our current Professor of Poetry, also returned for her termly lectures (A Lament for the Earth and The Life and Death of Poetry) as well as offering a drop-in poetry session for undergraduates.

Professor Emma Smith has co-curated an exhibition on Sensational Books at the Weston Library in Oxford. Structured around six senses of sight, sound, taste, smell, touch and proprioception – the sense of self-movement and body-perception – this exhibition explores our experiences of the book beyond reading. The exhibition runs until 4 December 2022 so still plenty of time to visit if you’re in the neighbourhood.

In Trinity term, we took the opportunity to celebrate the publication of over 50 books written and edited by Faculty members over the course of the last two years. Due to recent restrictions and lockdowns, many of our academics were unable to hold launch events for their books, so we wanted to give them the opportunity to celebrate their publications with colleagues, family and friends. You can browse the books on our website; the variety of topics highlights the diversity of research taking place at the English Faculty.

We also had other reasons to celebrate. The English Faculty has again been ranked as number one in the world QS rankings for English – the seventh consecutive year we have topped the table. Additionally, we were delighted by the REF results (the REF is the UK's system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions), which saw us ranked top of research power in English by the Times Higher Education.

We’re looking forward to a peaceful vacation while we prepare for Michaelmas when we will welcome Jeanette Winterson to the Faculty as our next Visiting Professor of Creative Media, and later in the year Susan Stewart from Princeton will be delivering the delayed Clarendon lectures.

We also have four new permanent faculty members in place for the next academic year: Dr Will Ghosh, Dr Nicole King, Dr Malachi McIntosh, and Professor Pablo Mukherjee. We will also be welcoming Ukrainian writers to our community.

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