Dr Margarida McMurry

Department of Modern Languages
Teaching Fellow in Portuguese

Contact details

Ashley Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am an enthusiastic teacher of Portuguese language. My research interests are varied. I especially enjoy researching and understanding how the co-constructive process of writing and reading work and how authors and readers communicate with each other.


  • PhD in English Literature, University of Oslo
  • MA in Anglo-Portuguese Studies, New University of Lisbon
  • Teacher Training post-graduate course (PGCE), New University of Lisbon
  • BA in Modern Languages and Literature in English and Portuguese, New University of Lisbon


Having graduated at the New University of Lisbon, FCSH, in Modern Languages and Literatures – English and Portuguese, I went on to do a 2-year teacher training course in the same languages, followed by a Master’s degree in Anglo-Portuguese Studies at the same university. During this time I worked at the Research Centre for Anglo-Portuguese Studies and taught for some time at a secondary school, where I taught Portuguese. I moved to Norway in 2006 and taught Portuguese to adults. I started my doctoral studies at the University of Oslo in 2011. My research focused on the mechanics of reading and dynamics of author-audience relationships. I particularly focused on how assumptions made both before and during the creative and reading processes contribute to that same process.

PhD Thesis Title: The Role of Assumptions in Author-Text- Audience Relationship(s): an Analysis of the Creative and Interpretive Processes in Narrative Fiction (Funded by the Norwegian Research Council)

I’m currently working on the co-constructiveness of reading, together with colleagues from abroad, who I met during a Visiting Scholarship to the Ohio State University in Columbus, USA, in 2012.


I teach Portuguese at all levels (Core I, II, III & IV). I also teach the LM seminars in Portuguese translation.


I am currently working together with Doctor Virginia Pigniagnoli, University of Turin, and Doctor Malcah Efron, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on an article based on our panel for the Narrative Conference 2016, in Amsterdam. The article has been accepted for publication to the narrative theory journal Narrative.

We propose that narrative – reading and writing – is a collaborative project between authors and readers, a project of “co-world-building.” We are investigating how what we take from narratives we read, i.e. that which will become part of how we construct the real world, starts out from assumptions authors and readers make, often supported or even triggered by the digital support around a fictional narrative at the time of writing, and continues through the reading processes and the co-construction of a story world. Our collaboration has already produced a related paper presented at the Narrative Conference 2017, Kentucky University. We are planning to take our collaboration further in this project and publish several papers on the co-constructive nature of narrative in its several forms.

I am interested in comparative studies, not just in terms of literature and culture within a particular group – eg Portuguese literature from Portuguese speaking communities – but also how different cultural groups make different assumptions. For example, within the Portuguese speaking communities, there are peculiarities of language, social contexts that may lead to serious misreadings – and misunderstandings – when these texts travel from one community to the other. Similarly, English novels will be understood differently by Portuguese readers. For this reason, my thesis analysed novels and short-stories from American, English, Italian and Portuguese authors.

I am particularly interested in contemporary literature, but I also enjoy working with texts from across several historical periods. I also enjoy analysing children’s literature and fantasy literature.



  • “Stories Matter: An Analysis of Terry Pratchett’s Narrative Theory in Witches Abroad and Wintersmith”, Collisions of Reality: Establishing Research on the Fantastic in Europe. Ed. Lars Schmeink and Astrid Böger. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012.
  • “Narrative Issues in José Saramago's The History of the Siege of Lisbon.” Revista de Estudos Anglo- Portugueses 18 (2009): 230-251.
  • “Logos – The Silver Path to The Lord of the Rings: the word in film and novel writing”, Wells, Sarah, ed. Tolkien 2005: The Ring Goes Ever On Proceedings. Coventry: Tolkien Society, 2006.