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 literature. 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 now work as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Leeds Arts & Humanities Research Institute (LAHRI), and as a Postdoctoral Teaching Assistant in the School of English.

Research interests

My principal research interests lie in Postcolonial Studies and World Literature, and I specialise in the relationship between reading and decoloniality. I have presented and published research on the abiding value of reading in a highly circumscribed global literary marketplace, and on the limits of professional reading paradigms in Comparative Literature. I have also published research on dialectics and canon-formation in post-apartheid South Africa (with Brendon Nicholls), and representations on London in contemporary Black British writing.

I am cultivating new research interests in the field of African Studies, with particular focus on revolutionary decolonial movements in Southern Africa and their cultural representation. My latest research project, ‘A White Nonsense’?: Marxism in Apartheid-South Africa, explores the ways in which South African Marxisms defy their representation in Nadine Gordimer’s novel Burger’s Daughter (1979). It is funded by the Leeds Arts & Humanities Research Institute (LAHRI). By undertaking archival research in the Special Collections, this project hopes to identify the aspirations of the South African Communist Party, and their links to other contemporary political movements such as Black Consciousness, the ANC and its armed wing uMkhonto we Sizwe (‘Spear of the Nation’).

Alongside this research project, I am working on a book proposal based on my PhD, and finalising a journal article exploring the intersections of language, race and space.


Peer-reviewed articles:

Under Review Legacies of Liberalism: The Formation of Dominant Ideologies of Language and Literature in Britain, Journal of Political Ideologies (co-authored with Kate Spowage)

2020 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

2020 Reading in the Global Literary Marketplace: Material and Textual Affects, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies

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

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

Book reviews:

2020 The Critical Industry, a Revew of 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.

Public Writing:

2019 Our Shared Shelf and the Rise of Feminist Reading Groups. The Northern Review.


Conference Papers:

2020 Local Print Cultures and Local Politics: Drum, Soweto and Staffrider, Colonial and Postcolonial Print Mobilities, Newcastle University, postponed due to COVID-19.

2019 "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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teaching Experience

I am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA), and have taught, assessed and supported students on a range of modules, including Postcolonial Literature, Victorian Literature, Modern Fictions in English: Conflict, Liminality, Translation, Poetry: Reading & Interpretation, and Writing Critically.


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