Nina Ellis, St Edmund's

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

A Critical Biography of Lucia Berlin

Biographical Information

I am a final-year PhD candidate in American Literature at St Edmund’s College, where I am researching twentieth-century short fiction under the supervision of Professor 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 am under contract with Farrar, Straus & Giroux to adapt this into a mainstream trade biography, Looking for Lucia, which will be published in 2025.

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-Representative to the AHRC Student Liaison Group. I was Graduate Representative to the Faculty of English from 2019 to 2020, and Co-Academic Organiser for the 2020 Faculty Graduate Conference. From 2020 to 2021, I was Co-Convenor of the American Literature Graduate Research Seminar. I have given papers at several conferences, including the 2022 European Network for Short Fiction Research Annual Conference on 'Short Fiction as World Literature'.

Meanwhile, I have written about Lucia Berlin for Granta, and I recently published an academic article about Berlin, Eve Babitz and Bette Howland in Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction. My short stories and essays have appeared in Ambit, American Chordata, Carve Magazine, Granta, The Idaho Review, Litro, The London Magazine, The Oxford Review of Books, The Paris Review, 3:AM, the Mays anthology and elsewhere, and I am currently writing my first novel.

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Articles: 'The Short Autofictions of Eve Babitz, Lucia Berlin and Bette Howland' in Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction (2022).

Non-Fiction: 'The Biographer as Detective' in Review 31 (2021); 'The Art of Everyday Life' in Review 31 (2021); '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: 'The Kingdom of the Shades' in Carve Magazine (2021); '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).