Liam J L Knight

Liam J L Knight

Department of English Literature
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: Dystopian Literature in the 21st Century: An Endotextual Account
SupervisorsDr Nathan Waddell, Dr Dorothy Butchard and Dr Luke Kennard
PhD English Literature


  • BA (Hons) English with Creative Writing – First Class – The University of Nottingham: 2012 - 2015
  • MA Creative Writing – Distinction – The University of Nottingham: 2015 - 2016
  • PGCE Secondary English – Distinction – The University of Nottingham: 2016 - 2017


In 2012, I left Devon to begin my undergraduate degree in English with Creative Writing at the University of Nottingham, which subsequently became five years, three degrees, and a year teaching English in secondary schools across the city. I then returned to Devon to teach English at my former secondary school, which I found to be immensely rewarding, and incredibly difficult to leave. However, there was an academic itch that I needed to scratch, hence my return to academia, and the beginnings of my PhD!

If any students (BA, MA, PhD, etc.) are thinking of becoming a secondary school teacher, I’m always happy to have an informal chat with them about my time as a teacher, as well as passing on any advice that I might have from my three years in the profession. Don’t hesitate to get in touch!


My thesis is focused on the endotexts found within the dystopian literature of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Endotexts – an umbrella term covering any fictional text contained within another, e.g. books-within-books, appendices, footnotes – feature prominently throughout the dystopian genre (see Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Transition, among many others). Although scholars have attended to some examples of endotexts, they often focus on a single text or endotext at a time; my thesis instead focuses on the dystopian endotext as a discrete phenomenon, comparing and analysing how endotexts are used across the dystopian genre.

My thesis tackles two key questions: What is the tradition of endotextuality in twentieth-century dystopian writing, and how and why is this tradition inherited and reworked in contemporary dystopian writing?

Other activities

  • Working for The Letters Page at the University of Nottingham (2012-16).
  • ‘English Showcase’ conference organizer at the University of Nottingham (2015-16).
  • General Co-Editor of Ad Alta: The Birmingham Journal of Literature at the University of Birmingham (2019-20).
  • Founder and Organiser of the ‘Dystopias Reading Group’ at the University of Birmingham (forthcoming).