Nina Ellis, St Edmund's

Degree: PhD
Course: AmLit
Supervisor: Dr Kasia Boddy
Dissertation Title:

A Critical Biography of Lucia Berlin


Biographical Information

I am a PhD candidate in American Literature at St Edmund’s College, where I am researching twentieth-century short fiction under the supervision of Dr Kasia Boddy. My doctoral thesis is a critical biography of the American short story writer Lucia Berlin, and my project is fully funded by the AHRC. I gained my BA at Jesus College in 2011, in Archaeology and Anthropology, and I was awarded my QTS and PGCE from the UCL Institute of Education in 2015 and 2016. I taught English Literature in a London secondary school from 2014 to 2019, and completed my MA in English and American Literature at UCL in 2018. I achieved the highest Distinction in my cohort and was nominated to the UCL Dean’s List.

At Cambridge, I am Co-Convenor of the American Literature Graduate Research Seminar and Co-Representative to the AHRC Student Liaison Group. I was Graduate Representative to the Faculty of English from 2019–2020, and Co-Academic Organiser for the 2020 Faculty Graduate Conference. I have given papers at several conferences, including the 2020 AHRC Graduate Conference on 'Form and Forgetting'. Meanwhile, I have written about Lucia Berlin for Granta, and I am a regular columnist for Review 31. My short stories have appeared in Ambit, American Chordata, Granta, The London Magazine, 3:AM and elsewhere, and I am currently writing my first novel.

Areas of Supervision

I supervise dissertations on a very wide range of twentieth-century American Literature, from Jean Toomer and Sylvia Plath to Raymond Carver and Jhumpa Lahiri. My specialism is midcentury fiction, and I have a weakness for writing about real estate. I also supervise Practical Criticism and Critical Practice, English Literature 1870–Present (Part I, Paper 7B), and American Literature (Part II, Paper 14).

Selected Publications

Non-Fiction: 'Watching America from Islamabad' in The Oxford Review of Books (2021); 'Encountering Lucia Berlin' in Review 31 (2021); 'This Column is Live' in Review 31 (2020); 'Lockdown on the Move' in Review 31 (2020); and 'Lucia Berlin Writes Home', in Granta (2018).

Fiction: 'Pros and Cons of Being a Trailing Spouse' in The Mays anthology (2021); 'Monsters Make Monsters' in The London Magazine (2020); 'Strip the Willow' in The London Magazine (2020); 'Our Agent at Dawn', in Granta (2019); 'Taking Khayrah to Cambridge', in Ambit (2018); 'Texas Is Not a Desert', in American Chordata (2017); 'Want to Escape the City?', in Litro (2017); and Term, a chapbook with 3:AM Press (2013).