Dr Hayley G. Toth

Dr Hayley G. Toth


After having completed my BA and MRes at the University of Huddersfield, I came to Leeds in September 2016 to undertake a PhD in Postcolonial Literature. In March 2020, I successfully defended my PhD ‘Contemporary Postcolonial Literature, Reader-Response, and Reception Studies’. My doctoral research theoretically and empirically explored the ways in which professional and non-professional readers engage with postcolonial literatures. It was supervised by Dr Brendon Nicholls, and examined by Professor John McLeod and Professor James Procter. My PhD research was fully-funded by the School of English’s Inga-Stina Ewbank Scholarship (2016-2020).

I specialise in postcolonial theory and criticism, and theories of reading and reception. I have broader research interests in world and comparative literatures, global histories of reading and print culture, spatial theory, and China and colonialism.

Research interests

My doctoral thesis describes reading as a material and textual activity that provides access to ethical and political interfaces. It draws on postcolonial theory and criticism, book history and reader-response theory, together with empirical reception data derived from world media and online book review archives in order to register the myriad ways that people read texts called ‘postcolonial’ (including but not limited to non-postcolonial readings). As a corollary, it seeks to recuperate the efficacy of a broader range of affects than is currently valorised in by practioners in the discipline of postcolonial studies. Largely theoretical, my thesis includes extended analyses of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, Xiaolu Guo’s A Concise Chinese English Dictionary for Lovers, and Brian Chikwava’s Harare North.

I am currently working on a book proposal, and on two journal articles which respectively explore the intersections of language, race and space, and Marxist aesthetics in postcolonial literary criticism.



Peer-reviewed articles:

Under Review Ideology and the Logic of Mass Reading: From Locke’s Linguistic Conduit to the Free Public Library Movement, Book History (co-authored with Kate Spowage)

Forthcoming Spivak’s Planetarity and the Limits of Professional Reading, Comparative Critical Studies (Special issue: Rethinking Literariness: Genres, Traditions and Paradigms in Comparative and World Literature). doi: 10.3366/ccs.2020.0374

2020 Reading in the Global Literary Marketplace: Material and Textual Affects, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies. doi: 10.1080/1369801X.2020.1784022

2020 A Dialectical Literary Canon?, African Identities (Special issue: Marxism and African Literatures: New Interventions) (co-authored with Brendon Nicholls). doi: 10.1080/14725843.2020.1773761

2017 'No Longer Young and Not Yet Old' London: Spatio-Temporal Ambivalence in Hanif Kureishi's Something to Tell You,' Identity Papers: A journal of British and Irish Studies. Available: eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/32595/

Book reviews:

Forthcoming Critical Branding: Postcolonial Studies and the Market by Caroline Koegler. Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies.

2019 'The Bloomsbury Introduction to Postcolonial Writing New Contexts, New Narratives, New Debates by Jenni Ramone.' Modern Language Review. doi: 10.5699/modelangrevi.114.2.0372

Online features:

2019 'Our Shared Shelf and the Rise of Feminist Reading Groups.' The Northern Review. Available: northernreview.co.uk/our-shared-shelf-and-the-rise-of-feminist-reading-groups

Conference Papers:

Local Print Cultures and Local Politics: Drum, Soweto and Staffrider, at ‘Colonial and Postcolonial Print Mobilities,’ Newcastle University, postponed due to COVID-19.

"A Difficult Read": Online Readings of Brian Chikwava's Harare North (2009) at 'Reading Locally/Writing Globally: Pedagogies and Approaches to Creative Writing and Translation,' University of Southampton, July 2019

Free speech, or Free market speech: Liberalism and the Rushdie Affair at 'After Empire? The Contested History of Decolonisation, Migration and Race in Modern Britain,' University of Leeds, December 2018

Planetary Reading, or Making Friends with the Text at Northern Comparative Literature Network: 'Of Borders and Ecologies,' Birmingham City University, October 2017

Urban Embodiment in Xiaolu Guo's A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers at EACLALS Triennial Conference: 'Performing the Urban: Embodiments, Inventories, Rhythms,' University of Oviedo, April 2017

Re-articulating 'the journey' in Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses: "make it something we can use" at 'Global Literature and Culture Postgraduate Forum,' University of York, November 2016

“Delectable Transgressions” and the Neither/Nor in Hanif Kureishi’s Something to Tell You at 'Self and Society,’ University of Huddersfield, June 2016

“Delectable Transgressions” and the Neither/Nor in Hanif Kureishi’s Something to Tell You at ‘Masculinity and the Metropolis: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Art History, Film, and Literature,’ University of Kent, April 2016

Conference organisation:

I co-organised, alongside Nicholas Gardiner, the University of Huddersfield’s annual English Literature and Creative Writing Postgraduate Conference, entitled ‘Self and Society,' 2016

Teaching responsibilities:

I am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA), and have worked as a Seminar Tutor on the following modules:

Poetry: Reading and Interpretation (Level 1), Seminar Tutor, 2019/2020

Postcolonial Literature (Level 3), Seminar Tutor, 2018/19 and 2019/20

Writing Critically (Level 1), Seminar Tutor, 2017/18


  • Nominated for a Leeds Partnership Award (for Postgraduate Researchers who Teach or Demonstrate), 2020

  • Inga-Stina Ewbank Scholarship, University of Leeds, 2016-20

  • White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH) Student-Led Forum (SLF) Award for 'Quilting Points presents Sara Ahmed: Complaint as Feminist Pedagogy' as part of Quilting Points, 2018

  • Arts, Humanities and Cultures Faculty Interdisciplinary Research Support Award for Quilting Points, 2017

  • EACLALS Triennial Grant, 2017

  • Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship, University of Huddersfield, 2015-16

  • Outstanding Contribution to the Academic Community, 2015

  • Highest Overall Mark (English Language & English Literature, BA), 2015

Other activities:

Co-director of the Quilting Points interdisciplinary reading group and seminar series (2017/18), culminating in a public address by Sara Ahmed.

Co-Leader of Harehills branch of Bibliotherapy Hub Leeds, an initiative which uses reading aloud to generate community and activate processes of self-healing among refugees and asylum seekers (2016/17).


  • PhD English Literature
  • MRes English Literature with distinction
  • BA English Language and Literature with 1st class honours