Jessica Sanfilippo-Schulz

Jessica Sanfilippo-Schulz


In October 2018, I joined the School of English. I am undertaking a PhD by distance learning under the supervision of Dr J. Prosser (lead supervisor) and Professor J. McLeod.

I completed my BA (English and Italian) and MA (National and Transnational Studies: Literature, Culture, Language) at the University of Muenster, WWU, Germany. Before studying, I worked in Milan, Italy and Stuttgart, Germany in sales and marketing for international companies, such as Hewlett Packard and Sony. After completing my studies, I worked as a research assistant at the language centre of the University of Muenster for three years. I was born in Liberia and grew up in Italy and the UK. Currently, I reside in Germany with my husband and teenage daughter. We live very close to the Dutch border in one of Germany’s most bicycle-friendly cities so, whatever the weather conditions, we ride our bicycles everywhere all year round.

During my MA studies, I developed a keen interest in the biographies of transcultural novelists who were raised in many countries (like myself), such as Isabel Allende, Aminatta Forna, Abeer Hoque, Yann Martel, Amélie Nothomb and Ilija Trojanow.

Research interests

My doctoral thesis examines a range of forms of life writing published in the twenty-first century about the experience of growing up in the second half of the twentieth-century in three or more countries, cultures and languages. I focus specifically on how literary images of tension are used by the life writers to highlight how systems of categorisation and of privilege and oppression intersect during these ‘moving’ childhoods, and on how their experiences in childhood shape their intersecting forms and genres of life writing in adulthood.


I have presented papers at international conferences and workshops, including the GAPS convention (German Association for Anglophone Postcolonial Studies, University of Mainz, Germany, May 2018) and the Postcolonial Studies Association Convention (University of London, September 2017).

In November 2018, I was granted a 2019 David C. Pollock Scholarship in order to attend the 2019 Families in Global Transition (FIGT) conference in Bangkok. At the 2019 FIGT annual conference, I presented a poster which illustrated how I extend Antje Rauwerda's 'Third Culture Literature' and Ruth Van Reken's 'Cross-Cultural Kid' model to the field of life writing.

In July 2019, I was granted a research dissemination award by the Faculty of AHC of the University of Leeds to participate in the conference Beyond Boundaries: Authorship and Readership in Life Writing’. At the conference, I presented a paper titled ‘Growing up on the move: Adapting in childhood, disrupting life writing in adulthood’. In this paper I considered Abeer Hoque’s memoir Olive Witch and Elizabeth Liang’s autobiographical performance Alien Citizen as dual-audience life writing that crosses many boundaries.


  • MA National and Transnational Studies, WWU University of Muenster, Germany, 2013
  • BA English and Italian, WWU, Germany, 2011