Dr Dave Gunning BA, MA, PhD

Dr Dave Gunning

Department of English Literature
Senior Lecturer in English Literature

Contact details

Arts Building, Room 117
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I teach and research contemporary Anglophone literature and postcolonial studies.


  • BA English and Philosophy (Manchester)
  • MA Commonwealth and Postcolonial Literature  (Leeds)
  • PhD English (Leeds)
  • Postgraduate Certificate of Academic Practice (Birmingham)


My first lectureship was in Postcolonial Literature at the University of Leeds; I took up my current role at the University of Birmingham in 2007.

I have published widely on topics within black British and British Asian writing, including my book Race and Antiracism in Black British and British Asian Literature. I also have a more general interest in diverse postcolonial literatures and have published on a range of topics and authors in this field. I have recently completed an introduction to postcolonial literature as part of the Edinburgh University Press Critical Guides to Literature series.


In the 2015-16 academic year, I’ll be convening the second-year option module New World Orders: Literature after 1945; the final-year specialist option Last Year’s Novels; and the MA module Contemporary Literature.

Postgraduate supervision

I supervise MPhil and PhD students on a range of literary and cross-disciplinary subjects and would welcome applications in the following areas:

  • Contemporary British literature
  • Anglophone postcolonial literature and theory
  • Representations of race and minority identity

Current and former PhD supervisions include:

  • A micro-history of black Handsworth
  • Local and global identities in the contemporary Irish novel
  • Arab-American Drama
  • Narrative and Identity in the fiction of Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Feminisms in the New Nigerian Novel
  • The marketing of mixed-race identity in British publishing


Much of my early research focused on black British and British Asian writing, with the most significant output being my monograph Race and Antiracism in Black British and British Asian Literature (2010). More recently I have written a general introduction to postcolonial writing in English, Postcolonial Literature (2013). My current research includes work on the essay as political form, the nature and development of the postcolonial Bildungsroman, and the novel as space of sanctuary: linking these is a concern with how formal innovation allows for political and ethical exploration.

Other activities

As Deputy Head of Education in the School of English, Drama, and American and Canadian Studies, I have responsibility for matters of quality assurance and enhancement.



  • Postcolonial Literature (Edinburgh University Press, 2013)
  • Race and Antiracism in Black British and British Asian Literature (Liverpool University Press, 2010)

Edited Collection

  • Tracing Black America in Black British Culture, jointly edited with Abigail Ward. Special Issue of Atlantic Studies: Literary, Cultural and Historical Perspectives 6.2 (2009)

Articles in Journals

  • ‘Dissociation, Spirit Possession and the Languages of Trauma in Some Recent African-British Novels’, Research in African Literatures 46.4 (forthcoming 2015)
  • ‘The First-Person Plural in Hanif Kureishi’s Essays’, Journal of Commonwealth Literature 50.2 (2015), 133-49
  • ‘Ethnicity, Authenticity and Empathy in the Realist Novel and its Alternatives’, Contemporary Literature 53.4 (2012), 779-813   
  • ‘Race, Community and Agency in Fictional Representations of Sport in Britain’, Moving Worlds 12.1 (2012), 126-35
  • ‘Editorial: Tracing Black America in Black British Culture’, Atlantic Studies: Literary, Cultural and Historical Perspectives 6.2 (2009), 149-158 (jointly authored with Abigail Ward)
  • ‘Daljit Nagra, Faber Poet: Burdens of Representation and Anxieties of Influence’, Journal of Commonwealth Literature 43.3 (2008), 95-108
  • ‘Caryl Phillips’s Cambridge and the (Re)Construction of Racial Identity’, Kunapipi 28.1 (2007), 70-81
  • ‘S. I. Martin’s Incomparable World and the Possibilities for Black British Historical Fiction’, Journal of Postcolonial Writing 43.2 (2007), 203-215
  • ‘Anti-Racism, the Nation-State and Contemporary Black British Literature’, Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 39.2 (2004), 29-43

Chapters in edited books

  • ‘Unhappy Bildungsromane’, in Andrea Levy: Contemporary Critical Perspectives, ed. by Jeannette Baxter and David James. Bloomsbury 2014), pp. 9-22
  • ‘The Limits of Culture and Community in Monica Ali’s Brick Lane’, in Cultural Encounters, ed. by Nicolas Birns (Salem, 2013), pp. 247-61
  • ‘Concentric and Centripetal Narratives of Race: Caryl Phillips's Dancing in the Dark and Percival Everett's Erasure’, in Caryl Phillips: Writing in the Key of Life, ed. by Bénédicte Ledent & Daria Tunca (Rodopi, 2012), pp. 359-74.
  • ‘Claude McKay, Eric Walrond and the Locations of Black Internationalism’ in The Caribbean Short Story: Critical Perspectives ed. by Lucy Evans, Mark McWatt and Emma Smith (Peepal Tree, 2011), pp. 141-54 
  • ‘Infrahuman Rights, Silence, and the Possibility of Communication in Recent Narratives of Illegality in Britain’, in Experiences of Freedom in Postcolonial Literatures and Cultures ed. by Shaul Bassi and Annalisa Oboe (Routledge: 2011), pp. 141-50.
  • ‘Caribbean Modernism’, in The Oxford Handbook of Modernisms, ed. by Peter Brooker et al. (Oxford University Press: 2010), pp. 910-25.
  • ‘Ethnicity Politics in Contemporary Black British and British Asian Literature’ in Racism, Slavery, and Literature, ed. by Wolfgang Zach and Ulrich Pallua (Peter Lang: 2010), pp. 47-59
  • ‘History, Anthropology, Necromancy: Amitav Ghosh’s In an Antique Land, in Postcolonial Ghosts, ed. by Mélanie Joseph-Vilain and Judith Misrahi-Barak (Presses Universitaires de la Méditerranée, 2009), pp. 305-321
  • ‘John Agard’, in Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 347: Twenty-First-Century ‘Black’ British Writers, ed. by R. Victoria Arana (Bruccoli, Clark, Layman, 2009), pp. 20-28
  • ‘James Berry’, in Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 347: Twenty-First-Century ‘Black British’ Writers, ed. by R. Victoria Arana (Bruccoli, Clark, Layman, 2009), pp. 65-73
  • ‘Cultural Conservatism and the Sites of Transformation in Meera Syal’s Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee’, in British Asian Fiction: Framing the Contemporary, ed. by  Neil Murphy and Wai-chew Sim (Cambria Press, 2008), pp. 119-139
  • ‘Cosmopolitanism and Marginalisation in Bernardine Evaristo’s The Emperor’s Babe’, in Write Black, Write British: From Post Colonial to Black British Literature, ed. by Kadija Sesay (Hansib, 2005), pp. 165-178 
  • ‘Reading the “Uncle Tom” Character in Fred D’Aguiar’s The Longest Memory’, in Revisiting Slave Narratives ed. by Judith Misrahi-Barak (Montpellier: Université Montpellier Services des Publications, 2005), pp. 295-310
  • ‘Citizenship, Identity, and Illegal Immigrants: Manzu Islam’s Burrow’ in The Future of Identity, ed. by Katherine Burkitt and Giles Simon, (University of Salford Press, 2005), pp. 31-44 


Contemporary literature and culture, especially that of the postcolonial world and of minority communities in the UK

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