My AHRC-funded thesis examined how the modern state intervened to support literary culture after 1945, thereby becoming an integral, though conflicted, guardian of literary autonomy in the postcolonial world.
I’m currently adapting this into a monograph titled State Sponsored Literature: Britain and Cultural Diversity after 1945, with chapters on the British Council, the Arts Council, the Rushdie Affair, GCSE anthologies, and UNESCO. Examining the changing justifications for state support of literature in Britain, I argue that beliefs about who constituted literature’s ‘public’ were radically challenged by the unrivalled migration to Britain at the end of Empire.
My research draws on the archive-based study of literary and cultural institutions, cultural policy, and organizations as definitive forces in literary history. More broadly, I’m interested in how democratic liberalism has shaped literary culture in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. My abiding interest is in the global histories of texts and their multivalent uses.