Centre Director

Professor Steven Matthews - Department of English Literature Professor Steven Matthews

Professor in Modernism
Department of English Literature
  • Director of the Samuel Beckett Research Centre.
  • Publishes on Beckett and phenomenology, Beckett and philosophy, Beckett's late style, and Beckett's influence on later authors.
  • Co-editor of the forthcoming Oxford University Press edition of Samuel Beckett's Philosophy Notebooks.


BIF Directors

Professor Anna McMullanProfessor Anna McMullan 

Professor in Theatre
Department of Film, Theatre and Television
  • Co-Director of the Beckett International Foundation.
  • Key publications include two monographs (Theatre on Trial: the later drama of Samuel Beckett and Performing Embodiment in Samuel Beckett's Drama), a co-edited volume (Reflections on Beckett), and many essays.
  • Principal Investigator of the Staging Beckett Project.


Dr Mark Nixon - Department of English LiteratureDr Mark Nixon

Associate Professor
Department of English Literature
  • Joint Editor in Chief of the Journal of Beckett Studies and Co-Director of the Beckett International Foundation.
  • Key publications include Samuel Beckett's German Diaries 1936-37 (Continuum, 2011), Publishing Samuel Beckett (British Library, 2011), and Samuel Beckett's Library, written with Dirk Van Hulle (Cambridge UP, 2013).
  • Editor of a critical edition of Beckett's short story 'Echo's Bones', published by Faber in April 2014.



Professor Jonathan Bignell - Department of Film, Theatre and TelevisionProfessor Jonathan Bignell

Professor in Television and Film
Department of Film, Theatre and Television
  • Member of the Board of Trustees for the Beckett International Foundation.
  • Author of Beckett on Screen: the Television Plays (Manchester University Press, 2009).
  • Principal Investigator for the Beckett and the Phenomenology of Doodles research project (2006-9).


Dr Conor Carville - Department of English LiteratureDr Conor Carville

Associate Professor
Department of English Literature
  • Member of the Board of Trustees for the Beckett International Foundation.
  • Research interests include Beckett and the visual arts, and the impact of Marxism, psychoanalysis and postcolonialism on the study of Irish literature.
  • Author of a forthcoming monograph on Beckett and the visual arts and various articles, including 'Autonomy and the everyday: Beckett, late modernism and post-war visual art', SBTA (2011).

Professor Max De-Gaynesford - Department of PhilosophyProfessor Max De-Gaynesford

Department of Philosophy


Dr Stephen Thomson - Department of English LiteratureDr Stephen Thomson

Department of English Literature



Emeritus Professors

Professor James KnowlsonProfessor James Knowlson, OBE

Professor Emeritus
Department of French Studies

Samuel Beckett's friend for the last 19 years of his life, James Knowlson is the author of Beckett's only authorized biography, Damned to Fame (Bloomsbury, 1996). Formerly Professor of French Studies, Founder of the Beckett International Foundation, and Founder of the Journal of Beckett Studies, he has played a key role in establishing the University of Reading's Beckett Collection as the biggest in the world. He has written and edited numerous books and essays on Beckett and modern drama. Most recently, these include Images of Beckett (Cambridge University Press, 2003) with the British theatre photographer, John Haynes, and Beckett Remembering / Remembering Beckett (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2006) with his wife, Elizabeth Knowlson. He was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of Reading in December 2006. Most recently, James Knowlson was interviewed by Richard Wilson on a BBC Artsnight programme dedicated to Samuel Beckett.


Professor John PillingProfessor John Pilling

Professor Emeritus
Department of English Literature

John Pilling joined the University of Reading's Department of English Literature in 1971, and was appointed Professor of English and European Literature in 1993. He has published widely and prolifically on twentieth-century English and European Literature, though his main focus is on the work of Samuel Beckett. Selected publications include Beckett before Godot (Cambridge University Press, 1997), Beckett's Dream Notebook, edited, annotated and with an introductory essay (Reading: Beckett International Foundation, 1999), Beckett's 'More Pricks Than Kicks': in a strait of two wills (London: Continuum, 2011), The Critical Edition of the Collected Poems of Samuel Beckett, edited with Se├ín Lawlor (Faber and Faber, 2012), and most recently, A Facsimile and Transcription of Beckett's six holograph "Murphy" notebooks, edited with Andrew Nash (Forthcoming). Recent media work includes interviews on the Murphy manuscript notebooks for the Guardian and BBC Arts and Entertainments online (both 9 June 2014).



We maintain strong relationships with independent and associate scholars who support the activities of the Centre.

Dr Helen BaileyDr Helen Bailey

  • Web Content Administrator for the Beckett Research Centre.
  • Researches the link between Beckett, music and spirituality. Other interests include modern and contemporary literature, performance poetry, and politics in/of literature.
  • Publications include articles in The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary British and Irish Poetry (2013), Bernard Spencer: Essays on his Poetry & Life (2012), and forthcoming special editions of Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd'hui (2019) and Modernist Cultures (2021). Current book projects on Beckett include a monograph titled More Nearly Pure Spirit: Beckett, Music and Spirituality and a co-edited book titled Samuel Beckett: The Political Turn.


Dr Matthew McFrederickDr Matthew McFrederick

  • Researches the production histories of Samuel Beckett's drama and the impact of these productions on theatre practice and cultures in the UK and Ireland from 1955 to the present day.
  • Member of the Arts and Humanities funded 'Staging Beckett' project.



Postgraduate researchers play a vital role in the research culture and activities of the Centre, often organising conferences, workshops, seminar series and social events, which are attended by postgrads, staff and students alike.
  • Michaela Bariselli (Philosophy; English Literature)
  • James Baxter (English Literature)
  • Niamh Bowe (Film, Theatre and Television)
  • Will Davies (English Literature)
  • Antonio Gambacorta (English Literature)
  • Lucy Jeffery (English Literature)
  • Jooyeup Lee (English Literature)
  • Farhad Mehrabi (English Literature)
  • Amy Raphael (English Literature) 
  • Xander Ryan (English Literature)
  • Giovanna Vincenti (English Literature)
  • Sam Whybrow (English Literature)


Centre Departments

Samuel Beckett's work is studied across the Faculty of Arts and Humanities including the Departments of:

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