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Nicola Abram

Areas of interest

I am interested in the ways in which literature imagines and enacts a more equitable and just society, with a particular focus on the aesthetics of contemporary postcolonial and feminist writings.

My first monograph, Black British Women's Theatre: Intersectionality, Archives, Aesthetics (published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2020), adopts an archival methodology to trace how five theatre companies, practitioners and playwrights have creatively responded to racism and sexism since the 1980s. I have recently begun a new research project investigating literary representations of sexual violence. Connecting my academic work with a wider sense of social responsibility, I regularly volunteer for a charity that supports survivors of rape and sexual abuse, and I have previously led a reading group in a high security women's prison.

Since 2019, I have convened the 'Identities' research cluster in the Department of English Literature, which brings together staff and postgraduates working across a range of historical periods and literary forms who share an interest in the discursive construction of identities.

From 2014-2017 I was Vice-Chair of the international and interdisciplinary Postcolonial Studies Association (PSA), and from 2011-2014 I served as co-editor of its newsletter. I continue to enjoy membership of the PSA and The British Association of Contemporary Literary Studies.

Postgraduate supervision

I am currently supervising three PhD projects, on Muslim women's writing and Afrofuturism, and I welcome contact from prospective applicants in all areas related to my research expertise.


Within the Department of English Literature I convene the modules 'Research and Criticism' (Part 1), 'Black British Fiction' (Part 3), 'Global Literatures: Translation as Theme and Theory' (Part 3), and - with Dr Nicola Wilson - the MA module 'Modern Literary Feminisms: Theory, Praxis, Texts'. I also teach on the undergraduate modules 'Globalization and Language', 'Writing, Gender, Identity', and 'Contemporary Fiction', and on the MA module 'Modern and Contemporary Literature'.

Awards and honours

I have been Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2015. In 2019/20 I was awarded a University Teaching Fellowship, a prestigious award conferred on an individual who has demonstrated individual excellence and contributed to the development of teaching and learning within the University of Reading. In April 2020 I won the student-nominated Reading University Students' Union Excellence Award for Technology Enhanced Learning, for the project 'A Thousand Words: Student Life Through a Lens'.

Selected publications

My publications include:

  • (2020) Black British Women's Theatre: Intersectionality, Archives, Aesthetics (Palgrave Macmillan)
  • (2020) 'Forging connections: anthologies, arts collectives, and the politics of inclusion' in The Cambridge History of Black and Asian British Writing, eds Susheila Nasta and Mark Stein (Cambridge University Press), pp. 403-416
  • (2017) 'Sensory signification in Juniper's Whitening and Victimese', in 'Telling it Slant': Critical Approaches to Helen Oyeyemi, eds Chloe Buckley and Sarah Ilott (Sussex Academic Press), pp.93-112.
  • (2014) 'Staging the unsayable: debbie tucker green's political theatre', Journal of Contemporary Drama in English, 2.1, 113-130.
  • (2014) 'Looking Back: Winsome Pinnock's Politics of Representation', in Modern and Contemporary Black British Theatre, eds Mary Brewer, Lynette Goddard and Deirdre Osborne (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan), pp.95-111


Selected conference papers include:

  • (2016) Invited talk at Ethics, Affect, Responsibility: Global Citizenship and the Act of Reading, British Academy/University of Bristol
  • (2015) Invited talk at Representing race and black Britain in theatre, film, television and digital media symposium, National Theatre, London
  • (2013) Invited talk at University of Cambridge Postcolonial Seminar Series
  • (2013) Invited talk at Black British Women's Writing: Where Is It Now?, an International Expert Meeting, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

Public Engagement

My public engagement activities include:


For fuller information on my research, public engagement, and teaching activities, please visit my website.