Adrienne Mortimer

Adrienne Mortimer


Funded by the Neil Munro School of English Scholarship, I took up my PhD candidateship at the University of Leeds in autumn 2017. In the years prior to this, I completed my M.St. in English (1900-Present) at Mansfield College, University of Oxford (2016-2017) and my BA(Hons) in English and American Literature and Culture at the University of Hull (2013-2016).

Research interests

My doctoral thesis interrogates operations of ‘non-literacy’ in contemporary English and American fiction. ‘Non-literacy’, in this context, refers broadly to states of illiteracy and their correlative aesthetic modes of expression, such as the oral, visual, and so on. Exploring the work of writers such as Sarah Waters, Toni Morrison, and Margaret Atwood, my thesis loosely divides into a study of historical and post-apocalyptic fiction. Through a consideration their representations of ‘non-literacy’, I critique the authority of text-centric ways of knowing. My thesis asks the question of how, through the felicity of non-literate narrative perspectives and aesthetics, readers might be compelled to read and imagine ‘otherwise’. How might readers be enabled to produce alternative bodies of knowledge? The task of my thesis is to tease apart the ethical conundrum prompted by attempting, as readers, to empathise with, and imagine the world via, non-literate literary perspectives.

Other Research Interests

  • Theories of reading
  • Theories of the novel
  • Ideology and representation
  • Ethics and aesthetics
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Queer history and heritage
  • Identity politics and intersections between feminist and queer theory

Prizes and Funding

Neil Munroe Scholarship, School of English, University of Leeds (2017 –2020): award value consists of fully-funded tuition fees for a doctoral degree in English and an annual stipend.

Departmental Prize in English, University of Hull (July 2016): awarded for highest degree average received in cohort

Philip Larkin Prize, Department of English, University of Hull (July 2016): awarded for outstanding piece of critical writing by a final-year undergraduate

The Joseph Henry Noble Scholarship (2014 – 2016), Department of English, University of Hull: awarded for best average grade in the years 2014 and 2015  


Critical Life, research group, University of Leeds

Invited Talks and Conference Papers

I have presented papers at the following conferences and events:

  • ‘Everywhere at the wrong time, becoming anonymous: Time, Narrative, and Negation in Djuna Barnes’ Nightwood (1936), New Work in Modernist Studies, University of Leeds (December 2017)
  • ‘Reading Non-Literacy in Contemporary Fiction’, School of English Postgraduate Research Seminar, University of Leeds (October 2017)
  • ‘Stamp Each Piece in Purple: ‘Lesbian Money’ and a Politics of (Ex)change, Out in Oxford launch event, Pitt Rivers Museum (February 2017)

Web-based Publications

From 2016 to 2017, I became involved with an LGBTQ heritage project led by the University of Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum. ‘Out in Oxford: an LGBTQ+ Trail of the University of Oxford’s Museum Collections’ launched in February 2017. I researched a $50 note stamped with the slogan ‘Lesbian Money’ on permanent display in the Money Gallery of the Ashmolean Museum. My blog post on my work can be found here.

I am also a contributor to Trusted Source, a knowledge exchange partnership between the National Trust and TORCH, University of Oxford. I have written a mini-article on LGBTQ heritage for this project.

Other Activities and Engagement

Co-director of the Quilting Points interdisciplinary reading group and seminar series (2018-2019)

Interviewer for Yorkshire MESMAC’s Heritage Lottery funded oral history project, West Yorkshire Queer Stories (ongoing)

Teaching Responsibilities

Postgraduate Teaching Assistant


  • Mansfield College, University of Oxford - M.St. in English (1900-Present) (2016-2017) - Distinction
  • University of Hull - BA(Hons) in English and American Literature (2013-2016) - First Class