Dr Will Tattersdill BA (Hons.), MSt, PhD

Dr Will Tattersdill

Department of English Literature
Senior Lecturer in Popular Literature

Contact details

131, Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I’m interested in the relationship between literature and science, especially as it is figured in popular culture from the nineteenth century to the present. My current work is on the social history of dinosaurs over this period.


  • BA (University of Exeter)
  • MSt (Exeter College, Oxford)
  • PhD (King’s College London)
    Thesis title: ‘Science, Fiction, and the Monthly Magazines 1891-1905.’


I grew up in Moseley and studied in Exeter, Oxford, and London before returning to Birmingham for a teaching fellowship in 2013. In September 2014 I became a full-time lecturer in the English department, and have been senior lecturer since June 2018.


  • Alternative Facts (Level H) – convenor

Postgraduate supervision

I am happy to read applications on any selection from or combination of the following subjects, for any period from 1800 to the present day:

  • Genre theory
  • Popular fiction
  • Literature and Science
  • Science fiction
  • Detective fiction
  • Periodical studies
  • Journalism (especially 1850-1910)
  • Empire (especially 1880-1900)
  • Book history

Find out more - our PhD English Literature  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


In my doctoral research, I examined the connections between literature and science in popular magazines of the fin de siècle. In particular, I focussed on the emerging genre of science fiction, arguing that the co-presence of fact and fiction alongside each other in these general magazines created a publishing environment in which sci-fi could thrive.

My current research looks at these ideas across a wider time period, focussing on how dinosaurs are articulated in popular culture. Dinosaurs are impossible without a great deal of both close scientific study and abstract imaginative work - I’m investigating the way the relationship between literature and science plays out as the social dinosaur moves through time. I'm aided in this by an AHRC Leadership Fellowship, 'Narrativising Dinosaurs', of which I am principal investigator.

I am also interested in book history, periodical studies, imperialism, popular fiction, crime writing, and modernism.

Other activities

I teach on the Access to Birmingham (A2B) programme and at the AEP and HEI summer schools, among other kinds of school and community outreach. I warmly encourage contact from anybody who’d like to talk to me in this capacity.

I am a member of the British Society for Literature and Science (BSLS) and the British Association of Victorian Studies (BAVS). I am also an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.



  • Science, Fiction, and the Fin-de-Siècle Periodical Press (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016)


  • State of the Unions’, special issue of Configurations (26:3, Summer 2018). Co-edited with Rajani Sudan.


I have numerous book and article reviews published or forthcoming in Media HistoryIsis, the Journal of Literature and Science, the Review of English Studies, H-Net Reviews, and on the British Society of Literature and Science website.

View all publications in research portal