Dr Jarad Zimbler BA MPhil PhD

Dr Jarad Zimbler

Department of English Literature
Senior Lecturer

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I work on late nineteenth- and twentieth-century literatures in English, with a focus on decolonization and the Cold War. Much of my research has been concerned with the social and historical dimensions of literary form, and with how best to conceive the horizons of possibility that determine any work’s effects and meanings. To these ends, I draw on the methods of narratology, stylistics and poetics, as well as on the insights of literary sociology, book history, and critical theory. 

As a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow, I worked on the project 'Literary Communities and Literary Worlds' (see under Research for further details). After a two year secondment at the University of Illinois at Chicago, I have now returned to UoB for the final year of the fellowship.


  • BA (Oxford)
  • CPE/ PGDip Law (City)
  • MPhil, PhD (Cambridge)
  • PGCert (Birmingham)


I completed my undergraduate degree at St Hugh’s College, Oxford. After a period away from academia, I returned in 2004 for an MPhil in Criticism and Culture at Pembroke College, Cambridge, followed by a PhD in English Studies. I spent a year at the University of California, Berkeley as a Visiting Scholar in 2006-2007. Before joining Birmingham in 2013, I was the Junior Research Fellow in World Literatures of the 20th and 21st Centuries in English at Wolfson College, Oxford, and in January 2018 I was seconded to the University of Illinois at Chicago for two years as a Marie-Skłodowska Curie Global Fellow.


Prior to beginning an extended period of research leave in 2016, I taught on the first-year undergraduate modules Poetry and Plays & Performance, and convened, or helped to convene, the second-year modules Tragedy and Colonial/ Postcolonial, and the third-year module Postcolonial Poetry and Poetics. I also taught on the MA modules Contemporary Literature and Theories of the Modern. 

Postgraduate supervision

I would be very happy to supervise dissertations on topics in postcolonial/ world literatures, especially those focused on anglophone novelists and poets from Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean. I would also be happy to supervise dissertations on British and American writers of mid- to late twentieth century, particularly if addressed from narratological and stylistic and/ or book historical perspectives.

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


My first monograph, J. M. Coetzee and the Politics of Style (Cambridge University Press, 2014), which was shortlisted for the University English Book Prize 2015, traces the emergence and meaning of Coetzee’s spare, stark and sometimes lyrical prose, and situates his early and middle fictions in relation to works of South African, European and American predecessors and peers. I am co-editor, with Ben Etherington, of The Cambridge Companion to World Literature (2018), and editor of The Cambridge Companion to J.M. Coetzee (2019).

Since 2012 I have been involved in a larger collaborative research project, Crafts of World Literature, initiated by myself and Dr Ben Etherington (Western Sydney University, Australia). We have thus far staged three international conferences and colloquia (Crafts of World Literature, 2012; Poetic Craft and White Settler Colonialism, 2013; Craft Wars, 2014), and convened a panel at the MLA 2018 (Crafts of World Literature: Materials, Genres, Forms) and a stream of panels at ASAUK 2018 (African Literature: Communities, Collaborations, Crafts & Crossings). We have also produced special issues of the Journal of Commonwealth Literature (2014), Wasafiri (2016) and The Cambridge Quarterly (2020).

I am currently completing work on a second book, Moving to America: Mid-Century American Literature and its Place in the World, which tracks the careers of three literary migrants (Denise Levertov, Stefan Heym, and Vladimir Nabokov).


Recent publications


Zimbler, J (ed.) 2020, The Cambridge Companion to J. M. Coetzee. Cambridge Companions to Literature, Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108623087

Etherington, B & Zimbler, J (eds) 2018, The Cambridge Companion to World Literature. Cambridge Companions to Literature, Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108613354


Zimbler, J 2022, 'Kamau Brathwaite's poems from Ghana: making sense of rhyme', Journal of West Indian Literature, vol. 30, no. 2. <https://www.jwilonline.org/downloads/vol-30-no-2-april-2022/>

Etherington, B & Zimbler, J 2021, 'Decolonize practical criticism?', English: Journal of the English Association, vol. 70, no. 270, pp. 227–236. https://doi.org/10.1093/english/efab017

Zimbler, J & Bower, R 2020, 'On the making of African literatures', The Cambridge Quarterly, vol. 49, no. 3, pp. 193-211. https://doi.org/10.1093/camqtly/bfaa020

Zimbler, J 2016, 'Guy Butler's Poetry and Poetics: Beyond Postcolonialism & Prac. Crit.', Wasafiri, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 58-64. https://doi.org/10.1080/02690055.2016.1145961

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Zimbler, J 2023, Coetzee's Poetry. in LV Graham & A van der Vlies (eds), The Bloomsbury Handbook to J. M. Coetzee. 1 edn, Bloomsbury Handbooks, Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 55-65. <https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/bloomsbury-handbook-to-j-m-coetzee-9781350152045/>

Zimbler, J 2021, Working Conditions: World Literary Criticism and the Material of Arvind Krishna Mehrotra. in F Giusti & B Lewis Robinson (eds), The Work of World Literature. Cultural Enquiry, vol. 19, ICI Berlin Press, pp. 173–207. https://doi.org/10.37050/ci-19_08

Zimbler, J 2018, Literary Worlds and Literary Fields. in The Cambridge Companion to World Literature. Cambridge University Press.

Zimbler, J 2016, Mythology, Empire and Narrative. in L Marcus, M Mendelssohn & KE Shepherd-Barr (eds), Late Victorian into Modern. Oxford Twenty-First Century Approaches to Literature, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 38-54. <https://global.oup.com/academic/product/late-victorian-into-modern-9780198704393?cc=gb&lang=en&>


Zimbler, J 2020, Introduction. in J Zimbler (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to J. M. Coetzee. Cambridge Companions to Literature, Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108623087.002

Zimbler, J 2020, Stories and Narration: In the Heart of the Country, The Master of Petersburg, The Childhood of Jesus. in The Cambridge Companion to J. M. Coetzee. Cambridge University Press, pp. 45-63. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108623087.005

Etherington, B & Zimbler, J 2018, Introduction. in B Etherington & J Zimbler (eds), The Cambridge Companion to World Literature. Cambridge Companions to Literature, Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108613354.002

Zimbler, J 2016, Lyric Arrest: South African Poetry after Apartheid. in C Andrews & M McGuire (eds), Post-Conflict Literature: Human Rights, Peace, Justice. Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature, Routledge, London, pp. 96-106. <https://www.routledge.com/Post-Conflict-Literature-Human-Rights-Peace-Justice/Andrews-McGuire/p/book/9781138916302>

Special issue

Zimbler, J & Bower, R (eds) 2020, 'Materials of African Literature', The Cambridge Quarterly, vol. 49, no. 3.

View all publications in research portal