Alex Calder, Selwyn

Degree: PhD
Course: English
Supervisor: Dr Jenny Bavidge
Dissertation Title: Alterity and Artfulness in the Fiction of Ali Smith

Biographical Information

Originally from Caithness in the Highlands of Scotland, I completed an MA (Hons) in English at the University of Aberdeen in 2018 for which I was awarded the Lucy Fellowship for the highest first-class honours in my cohort. Subsequently, I was awarded the LLC Masters Scholarship at the University of Edinburgh, where I completed an MSc in Literature and Modernity and graduated with Distinction in 2019. My doctoral research is supported by the AHRC.

Research Interests

My project takes a holistic approach to the complete works of fiction, drama, and criticism of the Scottish author Ali Smith in the context of contemporary literature. I focus on questions of social marginalisation, relational subjectivity, artistic and intertextual dialogue, and possibilities for connection through formally innovative literary aesthetics. I draw upon multiple theoretical approaches (including feminism, queer studies, and ecocriticism) to analyse Smith’s writing as a locus for critical reflections on strangers, refugees, the marginal, and other ways of seeing in an increasingly globalised and precarious world.

Further areas of interest include: modernism, postmodernism and after; intertextuality in contemporary literature; aesthetics and ethics; feminist theory; ecocriticism; contemporary women's writing; narratives and representations of refugees; hybrid and experimental writing; the short story; 21st century fiction and poetry.

Some authors of interest include: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Margaret Atwood, Jay Barnard, Sara Baume, Emily Dickinson, Jennifer Egan, Lucy Ellmann, Bernardine Evaristo, Jenni Fagan, Jackie Kay, Olivia Laing, Katherine Mansfield, Toni Morrison, Ovid, Max Porter, Claudia Rankine, Arundhati Roy, Namwali Serpell, Zadie Smith, Muriel Spark, Olga Tokarczuk, Colson Whitehead, Eley Williams, Virginia Woolf.

Areas of Supervision

Part II Contemporary Writing in English; dissertations on modern and contemporary literature.

Selected Publications

"Artfulness: Intertextuality, Wordplay, and Precariousness in Contemporary Experimental Fiction." Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction (2021). DOI: 10.1080/00111619.2020.1865256

"'The great connective': Contemporaneous Storytelling and Emergent Seriality in Ali Smith’s Seasonal." Alluvium, Vol. 7, No. 5 (2019):

"'Break the Narrative': Metafictional Anthropocene Aesthetics in Jeanette Winterson's The Powerbook and Ben Lerner's 10:04." Postgraduate English: A Journal and Forum for Postgraduates in English, Vol. 39 (2019):