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. This research has contributed to the monograph State Sponsored Literature: Britain and Cultural Diversity after 1945, which examines the changing justifications for state literary support in Britain. Across six chapters on British Council, the Arts Council, the Rushdie Affair, the GCSE curriculum and the UK Committee for UNESCO, I argue that beliefs about who constituted literature’s ‘public’ were radically challenged by the unrivalled migration to Britain at the end of Empire.
Methodologically, my research emphasises the archive-based study of literary and cultural institutions, cultural policy, and organizations as definitive forces in literary history. Future research projects will address 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.