Liam Harrison

Liam Harrison

Department of English Literature
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: Post-Millennial Modernism? Late Styles and Modernist Legacies in Contemporary Literature 
SupervisorsProfessor David James and Professor Andrzej Gasiorek
PhD English Literature


  • BA English Literature and History – The University of Sussex (2014)
  • MPhil Irish Writing (Anglo-Irish Literature) – Trinity College Dublin (2015)


Before starting at Birmingham in 2018, I worked in publishing in Dublin for two years at Gill Books. Prior to my time at Gill, I worked at Hodges Figgis bookshop and Trinity College Library. For my B.A. I undertook a joint honours English and History programme at the University of Sussex, moving then to Trinity College Dublin for an M.Phil. in Irish Writing which focused on the work of Samuel Beckett and Tom Murphy. 

In 2017 I co-curated a digital exhibition on the life and work of Tom Murphy for Trinity College Library, with Emeritus Professor Nicholas Grene. I have written book reviews and articles for a wide range of publications, including The Irish Times, 3:AM Magazine, Dublin Review of Books, and The Modernist Review.


I have taught on the second-year English Literature module ‘New World Orders? Literature after 1945’, which focused on radical political and social realignments in post-war literature. The authors taught included Sam Selvon, B.S. Johnson, Toni Morrison, J.M. Coetzee, and Alice Munro. 

I have also been awarded a Higher Education Institute ‘Horizon Award’.


My PhD researches the legacies of modernism in contemporary literature, exploring the concepts of lateness/late style, and expanding its implications to analyse post-millennial literature. My research examines the challenges of writing after Samuel Beckett, ‘the last modernist’, and has a particular focus on Irish modernist legacies in the work of Eimear McBride, Claire-Louise Bennett, and Mike McCormack.

My thesis also explores transnational models of lateness and modernist legacies, across the work of Ben Lerner, Maggie Nelson, Zadie Smith, Rachel Cusk, Olga Tokarczuk, Tom McCarthy, and Teju Cole. By analysing these authors’ formal rather than biographical ‘late styles’, and how it relates to disruptive temporal dynamics within their works, I propose we can gain a better understanding of their distinctive political, ethical, and affective engagements.

My research is situated across several overlapping critical fields; lateness and late styles (Kevin Brazil, Peter Boxall, Ben Hutchinson), modernist legacies (Laura Marcus, David James, Jacqueline Rose, Urmila Seshasgiri), Irish modernism/literature (Paige Reynolds, Joe Cleary, Margaret Kelleher) and contemporary literature/styles (Derek Attridge, Rebecca Walkowitz, Sharae Deckard).

I also consider the roles that independent publishers in the UK and Ireland play in promoting ‘experimental’ contemporary literature – publishers such as Galley Beggar Press, Tramp Press, Stinging Fly Press, and Fitzcarraldo Editions. My research asks how we might think of them as post-millennial purveyors of various modernist sensibilities, while also considering them as distinct entities with their own aesthetic perspectives.

Other activities

I have taught undergraduate seminars, worked as a research centre assistant, and I am currently a graduate representative at BACLS, and an editor at the academic journal Alluvium.

Twitter: @liamllewelyn



  • BACLS, Virtual Conference – June 2020. ‘“A Dance through Filth and Fever”: Narrating the Durations of Sickness in Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones’.
  • Trinity College Dublin – July 2019. ‘After Modernism, After Beckett: Claire-Louise Bennett, Eimear McBride, and Making it Late’. International Association of Irish Studies conference.
  • University of Radboud, Nijmegen – July 2019. ‘Make it Late: Metamodernism After Samuel Beckett’. AHRC Metamodernism conference.
  • King’s College London – June 2019. ‘Two Paths for the Novel? Modernist Legacies in Tom McCarthy and Claire-Louise Bennett’. British Association for Modernist Studies ‘Troublesome Modernisms’ conference.
  • University of Birmingham – June 2019. ‘Samuel Beckett, Claire-Louise Bennett, and Making it Late’. The Modern and Contemporary Forum symposium.
  • National University of Ireland, Galway – May 2019. ‘Make it Late: Lateness and the Legacies of Modernism and Samuel Beckett’. ‘Modernist Futures’ conference.
  • University of East Anglia – March 2019. ‘“A Banana with coffee is nice”: Unknown and Strange Things in the Work of Claire-Louise Bennett’. ‘Love Takes Risks: The Poetics of Small Presses’ symposium.
  • University of Reading – November 2017. Paper: ‘Bailegangaire and the Post-Beckett Storytelling of Tom Murphy’. ‘Beckett and the End of Literature’ conference.

Articles & Essays

Book Reviews