Dr Danielle Fuller BA, MA, PhD

Photograph of Dr Danielle Fuller

Department of English Literature
Reader in Canadian Studies and Cultures of Reading
PI, Death Before Birth project (ESRC, 2016-2018)

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

My main research areas are: contemporary Canadian writing, particularly Atlantic Canadian literary culture; the politics of cultural production in Canada, and reading communities in present-day North America and the UK. I am also committed to interdisciplinary research methods that combine empirical and textual strategies.


  • BA (Hons) English Literature and Language, First Class, University of Durham, 1989
  • MA in American Literature, with Distinction, University of Leeds, 1991
  • PhD Canadian Literature, University of Leeds, 1996


Courses I have taught in recent years include:

  • Introduction to Canadian Studies
  • Research Skills in American & Canadian Studies
  • Contemporary Canadian Writing
  • The North American 1920s
  • Reading and Popular Culture
  • Textualities and Materialities (MA module)

Excellence in Teaching Award, Heads of Schools Prize Winner, School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, 2009-10.

Postgraduate supervision

I have supervised postgraduate research on Maritime short fiction, on the publishing history and institutionalisation of Margaret Atwood’s work in Central Europe, South-East Asian Canadian literature, Canadian film, Asian-American film, and an inter-textual study of Canadian women’s writing. I am currently involved in supervising PhD work on Newfoundland literature; US lesbian feminist textual communities and lesbian pulp fictions (1950s); a study of globalisation in the oeuvre of Douglas Coupland; ‘Marketing Exoticism’: Mixed Race Identities and Contemporary British Fiction, and an examination of contemporary diasporic YA fiction.

I would particularly like to encourage you to contact me if you are interested in:

  • Readers and reading in the contemporary period
  • book events, book festivals and arts organizations involved with print culture
  • Canadian prose writing (including US/Canadian contemporary comparative projects)


I have always been interested in the ways that people make sense of their everyday lives and how lived experience is a type of knowledge that is often ignored or side-lined by people with the most power in a society.  Everything I investigate is shaped in some way by these concerns and by an approach to research that might broadly be described as that of feminist epistemology.  So far, my research career has been comfortingly unpredictable and continuously unsettling: fruitful conditions for knowledge production, I believe. Things that I think about and work on include: questions of literary and cultural value within and beyond writing and reading communities; enquiries about the role reading plays in peoples’ lives; understanding the decisions and choices people make after pregnancy loss.

I was trained as a literary studies scholar and began my academic career as a Canadian Studies specialist.  Over the years my research became more like cultural sociology in its use of empirical methods, but I remain committed to work that combines these with textual methods – and indeed, with other ways of working, doing and knowing from multiple disciplines.   My absolute favourite thing intellectually speaking is working with interdisciplinary scholars and arts practitioners to investigate complex contemporary social and cultural issues.

Reading communities and cultures of reading in the USA, Canada and UK

Beyond the Book: Mass Reading Events and Contemporary Cultures of Reading in the UK, USA and Canada” was an ambitious interdisciplinary trans-Atlantic investigation of shared reading events, which was funded for 3 years by the AHRC (2005-8) and undertaken in collaboration with DeNel Rehberg Sedo (Mount Saint Vincent University, Canada), a communications scholar with expertise on book groups.

A pilot fieldwork study with readers participating in a “One Book, One Community” program in Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge (Canada) and with the agencies involved in the organisation of “One Book, One Chicago” was completed in October 2004, part-funded by the British Academy. This research was informed by my previous work on textual communities and my interest in issues of democratic access to cultural production. The capstone publication for the project was a monograph co-written with DeNel Rehberg Sedo, Reading Beyond the Book: The Social Practices of Contemporary Literary Culture (Routledge, 2013 & 2015). Several articles and book chapters arose from that same research project (e.g. 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016).  Please see the Beyond the Book website for details of articles, book chapters, podcasts, resources and more information. http://www.beyondthebook.bham.ac.uk/

Making Digital Things - Building as Reading Research

DeNel Rehberg Sedo and I continued with our work on readers and reading with a project called Reading Lives, a web-based app for adult leisure readers. This project, a collaboration with developer Tim Hodson, was initially funded by the AHRC via the CATH project within the Digital Humanities/Heritage Hub at the University of Birmingham (2013-2014) and was developed further in collaboration with Writing West Midlands at the Birmingham Literature Festival via a Grants for the Arts Award from Arts Council England (2014-5). We were also members of the AHRC-funded network on Digital Reading (2013-5).

Making Reading Lives inspired us to continue our digital adventures in collaboration with developers who know how to build stuff, and feedback we received from readers who used Reading Lives inspired another project, Reading for Life. Working with Roz Goddard, a poet and educator, and John Sear, a games maker (2016ff) we are designing a creative reading & writing model that uses John’s low-tech Babbling Beasts digital kit to enable children to tell stories and to build games as a means of exploring the fun aspects of having reading in your life.  We have been supported in this work by the College of Arts & Law Impact Fund (CIF).

Other Reading Studies Projects/International Collaborations

I am a co-investigator or consultant on several international projects including:-

‘The History of Reading in Europe/EU READ Trail’, ANC Network, PI Prof. Brigitte Ouvry-Vial, U du Maine. Funded by the French Government, 2015-7; EU2020 application under review.

 ‘A Novel Cure – the health and well-being outcomes of creative practices in ageing.’ PI Dr Vicki Palmer, Department of General Practice, Melbourne Medical School, U of Melbourne, Australia.  Funded by Melbourne Social Equity Institute & U of Melbourne Interdisciplinary Seed Funding Scheme, 2015- present.

‘Making the Move: Reading Memoirs of Migration.’ With Prof. Julie Rak (U of Alberta, Canada), Prof DeNel Rehberg Sedo (MSVU, Canada) and Dr Anna Poletti (University of Utrecht, Netherlands).  Seed funding provided by KULE Institute, University of Alberta, Canada.

Atlantic Canadian literary culture

My fascination with reading, writing and publishing communities in the Atlantic region of Canada began with my PhD - research that was expanded for my book, Writing the Everyday: Women’s Textual Communities in Atlantic Canada (McGill-Queen’s UP, 2004). There, I explore how and why communities form around texts that record women’s everyday realities, histories, and traditions. My investigation of textual communities lead me to combine qualitative interviewing with studies of publishing history, social contexts, textual analysis and, most importantly, close attention to the local histories and oral cultures that many Atlantic writers draw upon in their work (evident in the poetry of Maxine Tynes, see 1999b below; and 2006).

Other activities

  • School Impact Lead
  • School Research Mentor
  • Director, Centre for Contemporary Literature and Culture
  • HASS Ethics Review Committee
  • Elected member, University Senate
  • Professional Service outside UOB: I am a member of the AHRC and ESRC Peer Review Colleges. I am a former Council member of the British Association for Canadian Studies, and from 2013-16 was co-editor with Dr Ceri Morgan (Keele University) of the British Journal of Canadian Studies. I have been on the Advisory Board for Studies in Canadian Literature since 2006, for Canada and Beyond: A Journal of Canadian Literature and Cultural Studies since 2011, Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies since 2014.  I am also a Board member of SHARP (Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing).
  • Beyond the campus: I love living in Birmingham because it is an incredibly vibrant city with amazing arts and cultural producers. My own small involvement in that world has included being on the Board of Directors for Writing West Midlands, the literature development agency for the region, from 2008-2016.  I am currently a Board member for HEARTH, an arts organisation which uses theatre, creative writing and reading to make changes in peoples’ health.



Articles and selected publications

  • 2016. Fuller, Danielle and DeNel Rehberg Sedo. ‘Fun…And Other Reasons for Sharing Reading With Strangers: Mass Reading Events and the Possibilities of Pleasure.’ In McKechnie, Lynne (E.F.), Knut Oterholm, Paulette M. Rothbauer and Kjell Ivar Skjerdingstad, eds. Plotting the Reading Experience: Theory/Practice/Politics. Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 133-147.  
  • 2016. Fuller, Danielle. ‘Book History and Cultural Studies.’ Forty on Forty.English Studies in Canada. 41.4: 11.
  • 2015. Fuller, Danielle and Julie Rak. “True Stories”, Real Lives: Canada Reads 2012 and the Effects of Reading Memoir in Public.’ Studies in Canadian Literature.  40.2: 25-45.  (pub date: March 2016)
  • 2014. Fuller, Danielle. [reprint] ‘Strange terrain: Re-producing and resisting place-myths in two contemporary fictions of Newfoundland.’ In The Literary Atlas of Atlantic Canada. www.atlanticcanadaliteraryatlas.com
  • 2014. Fuller, Danielle and DeNel Rehberg Sedo. ‘Reproducing “the Wow Factor”?: Negotiating the Values of Reading Through One Book, One Community Events.’ In Patrick Spedding and Anna Poletti (eds.) ‘Revealing the Reader’.  Special issue of Australian Humanities Review 56 (May 2014): 163-186.
  • 2014. Fuller, Danielle and DeNel Rehberg Sedo. ‘“And then we went to the brewery”: Reading as a Social Activity in a Digital Era.’ Popular feature commissoned for World Literature Today88.3: 14-18.
  • 2013. ‘Reader at Work: An Appreciation of Barbara Godard.’  [revised and expanded from review article originally published in 2009 (see below)].  In Trans/acting Culture, Writing, and Memory: Essays in Honour of Barbara Godardedited by Jennifer Henderson, Eva Karpinski et al.  Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1-20.
  • 2012. Fuller, Danielle. ‘Beyond CanLit(e): Reading. Interdisciplinarity. Trans-Atlantically.’ Shifting the Ground of Canadian Literary Studies edited by Smaro Kamboureli and Robert Zacharias.  Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, TransCanada Series, 65-85.  
  • 2012. Fuller, Danielle and DeNel Rehberg Sedo. ‘Mixing It Up: Using Mixed Methods to Investigate Contemporary Cultures of Reading.’  InFrom Codex to Hypertext: Reading at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century, ed. Anouk Lang. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 234-51.  [This collection is part of the Beyond the Book project output]
  • 2011. Fuller, Danielle, DeNel Rehberg Sedo and Claire Squires. ‘Marionettes and Puppeteers? The Relationship Between Book Club Readers and Publishers.’  In Reading Communities: From Salon to Cyberspace, edited by DeNel Rehberg Sedo, 181-199.  Houndsmills: Palgrave Macmillan. 
  • 2011. Fuller, Danielle and DeNel Rehberg Sedo.  ‘Suspicious Minds: The Richard & Judy Book Club and Its Resistant Readers.’  In The Richard & Judy Book Club Reader, edited by Jenni Ramone and Helen Cousins, 21-42. Farnham: Ashgate.
  • 2011. Fuller, Danielle. 2011. ‘Citizen Reader: Canadian Literature, Mass Reading Events and the Promise of Belonging.’ The Fifth Eccles Centre for American Studies Plenary Lecture. Pamphlet Series, print and online.London: Eccles Centre & The British Library.  ISBN: 0 7123 4459 4.Also available at: http://www.bl.uk/eccles/pdf/bacs2010.pdf#zoom=80
  • 2010. Listening to the Readers of “Canada Reads.”’ Reprinted in The History of Reading. Edited by Shafquat Towheed, Rosalind Crone, Katherine Halsey. London: Routledge, 411-26.
  • 2010. Chapter 2, ‘Writing home: A Regional Business,’ Reprinted from Writing the Everyday, in Twentieth Century Literature(TCLC-238), edited by Larry Trudeau. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale/Cengage Learning.
  • 2010. Fuller, Danielle, DeNel Rehberg Sedo and Amy Thurlow. ‘More than “just a little library program”: Discourses of power in One Book, One Community programming committees.’ Logos, (20)1-4 (2009): 228-240.
  • Fuller, Danielle and James Procter. 2009 ‘Reading as “social glue”?: Book Groups, Multiculture, and Small Island Read 2007.’ ‘Region/Writing/Home: Relocating Black, Migrant and Diasporic Writing in Britain.’ Special Issue Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings, edited by Corinne Fowler and Graham Mort. 9.2: 26-40.
  • 2009 ‘Reader at Work: An Appreciation of Barbara Godard.’ Review Article. Barbara Godard, Canadian Literature at the Crossroads of Language and Culture, edited by Smaro Kamboureli. Edmonton: NeWest P, 2008. British Journal of Canadian Studies 22.2: 235-249.
  • 2008 ‘The Crest of the Wave: Reading the Success Story of Best-Sellers.’ Studies in Canadian Literature Special Issue: "Surf's Up! The Rising Tide of Atlantic-Canadian Literature." 33.2, 40-59.
  • 2008 ‘Reading as Social Practice: The Beyond the Book research project.’ Journal of Popular Narrative Media1.2: 211-217.[Special issue arising from the 'Beyond the Book' conference]
  • 2007 ‘Beyond the Book: Researching Reading in an Event-Based Culture.’ (30 mins; Nov)
  • 2007 Listening to the Readers of “Canada Reads.”’ Canadian Literature. 193 (Summer): 11-34.
  • 2007 ‘Beyond CanLit(e): Reading. Interdisciplinarity. Trans-Atlantically.’ TransCanada 2: Literatures, Institutions, Citizenship. Article & plenary presentation. 
  • 2007 ‘Travelling Tales: Interrogating the Trans-Atlantic Journey of Three Atlantic-Canadian Bestsellers.” Chapter 5 in The Global Literary Field, edited by Anna Guttman et al. Cambridge Scholars’ Press: 78-104. 
  • 2006 ‘Riding a Rolling Wave: A Conversation with Joan Clark.’ Canadian Literature. 189 (Summer): 121-133.
  • With Rehberg Sedo. 2006. ‘A Reading Spectacle for the Nation: The CBC and “Canada Reads.”’ Journal of Canadian Studies. 40.1 (Winter): 5-36
  • 2004 Strange terrain: Re-producing and resisting place-myths in two contemporary fictions of Newfoundland. Essays on Canadian Writing82: Special issue, Newfoundland literature, 21-50.
  • 2002 Critical friendships: Reading women's writing communities in Newfoundland. Women's Studies International Forum, 25(2), 247-260.
  • 2002 Introduction: Women-texts-communities. Women's Studies International Forum, 25(2), 163-166.
  • 2002 Guest editor: Special issue, women-texts-communities. Women's Studies International Forum, 25(2).
  • 2000 With Billingham, S. Can Lit(e): Fit for export? Essays on Canadian Writing- Special 25th Anniversary Issue, 71(Winter), 76-112.


Readers, shared reading and mass reading events in 21st century UK and North America, e.g. book groups, 'One Book, One Community' programmes, TV and radio such as Richard and Judy's Book Club; reading and popular culture; North American women's writing; Canadian Studies

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The role that leisure reading plays throughout life: Changing readers’ understanding and the practice of teachers; promoting health and wellbeing

Death Before Birth - how people reach decisions regarding what happens to their baby after death, how their perceptions of the law inform their decisions, as well as how these experiences are expressed to people around them