My reseach interests are in contemporary literature and culture, most specifically in Black British and post-communist/'Eastern European' writing.
My 2019 monograph - the first book about the representations of 'Eastern European' migrants in contemporary British literature and culture - provides a comprehensive study of this 'wave' of migration to the UK and Western Europe following the enlargement of the EU in the 21st century, the social and political changes after the fall of communism, and the Brexit vote. It explores the recurring figures of 'Eastern Europeans' as a new reservoir of cheap labour in multiple contemporary cultural texts:
Recent publications include 'Eastern Europeans and BrexLit' (JPW Special Issue Writing Brexit: Colonial Remains), 'Redressing Racist Legacies in the Melancholic Nation: Anger and Silences in Andrea Levy’s Fruit of the Lemon' (Special In Memoriam Issue of Ariel: A Review of International English Literature, ed. by Henghameh Saroukhani, Sarah Lawson-Welsh and Michael Perfect) and (with Jo Hall and Vy Rajapillai), ‘Students as partners in decolonising the curriculum: lessons learnt at the University of Brighton, UK’ (Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change, 2021). I am currently working on a series of invited contributions and on my next monograph on contemporary Black British women's writing.
I have built long-lasting partnerships with local organisations, most notably with New Writing South, Marlborough Productions and The Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence (Sussex University) through our co-organisation and co-curation of the The Coast is Queer, UK's biggest and brightest LGBTQ+ literature festival https://coastisqueer.com/.
With Bea Hitchman and Vy Rajapillai, we've have established a new partnership with Afrori Books, Brighton's first black-owned bookstore, specialising in books by black authors https://afroribooks.co.uk/.
I am a Trustee of New Writing South and core member of the organising team for the Brighton Book Festival /https://www.brightonbookfestival.co.uk/.
Current Funded Projects
'Reading to Resist, Reading to Belong: A Space for Black Writing'- community partnership project with Afrori and Diversity Lewes (funded by AHRC Ignite) explores how the bookshop acts as a space of community and belonging and what the act of reading Black Literature in Brighton means in terms of anti-racist practice, resistance, and representation, as well as how it can promote wellbeing, pleasure and joy in an increasingly hostile environment for racialised communities. Details of the project can be found here: https://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/decolonisingatfalmer/reading-to-resist-reading-to-belong-community-university-partnership/. The title of the project was inspired by Prof Suzanne Scafe's talk for the DeCol Collective: https://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/decolonisingatfalmer/reading-to-resist-the-disruptive-potential-of-black-british-literature/
Cartography of the Political Novel in Europe (CAPONEU) (EU Horizon, co-I) - aims to assess the political novel as an important element of European political, social and cultural heritage. It sets out to examine how people in different national and cultural contexts engage with contemporary political issues and thereby have their share in shaping European societies and politics. More about the project: https://www.caponeu.eu/
An interview with Monique Roffey for the Big Read Event: https://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/bigread/2021/03/31/2021-monique-roffey/
Queer Writers from the Post-Yugoslav region, The Coast is Queer Festival, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gilVnrAl-pU&t=79s
Within the Four Walls: Queer Lockdown Stories Project, 1-4:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwaC7xY_pro&t=77s (with Juno Roche, Nehaal Bajwa, Mikey Birtwistle and Zia X)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqfyzLnKDq4&t=59s (with Annie Whilby – AFLO. the poet, Nat Raha, Razan Ghazzawi and Savannah Sevenzo)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIcC59HnC7E&t=116s (with Tanaka Mhishi, Daniel Spelman, Jane Traies and Subira Wahogo)
(with: Sea Sharp, John McCullough, Ray Filar and Roxana Xamán).
Common Threads: Black and Asian British Women's Writing International Conference, Keynote Speakers: Bernardine Evaristo, Sharon Duggal, Louisa Uchum Egbunike, University of Brighton, 21-23 July 2022 (co-organised with Prof Suzanne Scafe, Dr Kadija George and Dr Sarah Lawson-Welsh) https://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/decolonisingatfalmer/common-threads-black-and-asian-british-womens-writing-international-conference/.
See The Amplify Project podcast about the 2022 conference here: https://theamplifyproject.co.uk/writers/common-threads-black-and-asian-british-womens-writing-international-conference-2022/
Black British Women's Writing: Tracing the Tradition and New Directions, First International Conference of the Black British Women's Writers Network (BBWWN, https://www.facebook.com/groups/Black-British-Women%27s-Writing-Network-378188258946761/), Keynote Speaker: Bernardine Evaristo, University of Brighton July 2014
Videos from the conference:
Valerie Mason-John: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZYzQOJSbXk
Dorothea Smartt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZDN5f4u8x4