Jessica Sanfilippo-Schulz


I joined the University of Leeds in October 2018 and I am very proud and excited to be the first researcher to be undertaking a PhD by distance learning at the School of English, under the supervision of Dr J. Prosser (main supervisor) and Professor J. McLeod (co-supervisor).

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. My project explores how the experience of frequent migration in childhood is represented in life writing by selected creative figures, with particular emphasis on the writers’ literary depictions of constant movement and power relations on the one hand and on how these representations are sustained by the specific forms of life writing on the other hand. Not only does migration entail power issues but also child-adult relationships involve hierarchical structures, therefore multiple modes of unrest prevail in these texts.


I have presented papers at conferences and workshops, including the GAPS convention (German Association for Anglophone Postcolonial Studies) of 2018 (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. I am honoured to be a 2019 David C. Pollock scholar and to be representing the University of Leeds at the conference. At the 2019 FIGT annual conference, I will present my research project on the contemporary life writing of creative individuals who migrated frequently in childhood.


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