Dr Emma Parker

Dr Emma ParkerAssociate Professor (Reader) in Postwar and Contemporary Literature

Equality and Diversity College Champion


Personal Details

  • BA, PhD (Birmingham)
  • Room: ATT 1405
  • Tel: 0116 252 2630
  • Email: ep27@le..ac.uk

I am an expert on postwar and contemporary literature, especially women's writing, and am interested in issues relating to gender and sexuality, feminism and queer theory. I am a founder member of the Contemporary Women's Writing Association and a former co-editor of  the journal Contemporary Women's Writing (2012-2017), published by Oxford University Press and winner of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals' 'Best New Journal' award 2009. I am a member of the Editorial Board of the Orlando women's writing project (Cambridge University Press). I am also a member of the Advisory Board of the journal Writers in Conversation. I have published on Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison, Angela Carter, Jeanette Winterson, Sarah Waters, Kate Atkinson, Michèle Roberts, Rose Tremain, Graham Swift, Martin Amis and Will Self, amongst others. I also work on the playwright Joe Orton.

I have delivered public talks at Tate Britain, the British Film Institute, the National Justice Museum, Latitude Festival and Homotopia and my research has been featured on the BBC Radio 4 programmes 'Today', 'Woman's Hour' and 'Front Row' . I have also been interviewed on on BBC East Midlands Today, ITV Central News and BBC Radio Leicester.

I am the recipient of a University of Leicester Research Impact Award for 'Best Public Engagement' (2017) and a University of Leicester Inspirational Woman Award (2015).


  • Teaching Superstar Award, nominations for Best Lecturer, Best Student Feedback, Best Supervisor and Best Personal Tutor (2018)
  • Teaching Superstar Award (2017)
  • Teaching Superstar Award (2013)
  • University Teaching Fellowship (2003), renamed 'Distinguished Teaching Fellowship' in 2015
  • Undergraduate



    Books, Editions, and Edited Collections

    • Co-editor, with Mary Eagleton, The History of British Women's Writing, 1970-Present (Palgrave, 2015), 'indispensable' (Elaine Showalter); 'the key companion text for anyone studying women's studies, women's writing, contemporary culture and writing' (Patricia Waugh).
    • Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane, 50th anniversary edition (Bloomsbury/Methuen Drama, 2014). '... has an amazing intro' (Emma Freud, 'Loose Ends', Radio 4, 14 June 2014).
    • Guest Editor, Textual Practice 25.4 (August 2011), special issue on Contemporary Women's Writing and Queer Diasporas.
    • Guest Editor, Contemporary Women's Writing 3.1 (June 2009), special issue on Diaspora.
    • Editor, Contemporary British Women Writers. Essays and Studies Vol. 56. (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2004).
    • Kate Atkinson's Behind the Scenes at the Museum: A Reader's Guide (London: Continuum, 2002).

    Behind The Scenes at the MusuemContemporary British Womens WritersEntertaining Mr SloaneThe History of British Women’s Writing, 1970-Present

    Journal Articles and Book Chapters

    • 'A Comedy of Horrors: Thatcherism in What a Carve Up!' in Jonathan Coe: Contemporary British Satire, ed Philip Tew (Bloomsbury, 2018), pp. 67-79.
    • 'Joe Orton and Shakespeare: Collage, Class and Queerness', Studies in Theatre and Performance, special issue on Joe Orton, 37.2, Summer 2017, pp. 237-268.
    • 'A Queer Ear: Joe Orton and Music’, Art & Music, Spring 2017, no. 37 special issue: The Life and Times of Joe Orton, pp. 44-48 (click here to read it).
    • 'Queers, Gals, Chaps, Chicks, and Lads' in The Oxford History of the Novel, Vol. 7, British and Irish Fiction Since 1940, eds. Peter Boxall and Bryan Cheyette (Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 328-346.
    •  'Re-Envisioning Feminist Fiction' in The Cambridge Companion to British Fiction Since 1945, ed. David James (Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 79-94.
    • 'Contemporary Lesbian Fiction: Into the Twenty-First Century' in The Cambridge Companion to Lesbian Literature, ed. Jodi Medd (Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 204-218.
    • 'Introduction' (co-authored with Mary Eagleton), The History of British Women's Writing, 1970-Present (Palgrave, 2015), pp. 1-20.
    • 'Male Pregnancy and Queer Utopia in Paul Magrs's Could it be Magic?', Textual Practice 28.6 (2014), pp. 1035-1056.
    • 'Introduction', Joe Orton, Entertaining Mr Sloane (Bloomsbury/Methuen Drama, 2014), pp. 1-25.
    • 'An Interview with Nick Bagnall', Joe Orton, Entertaining Mr Sloane (Bloomsbury/Methuen Drama, 2014), pp. 27-33.
    • 'The Country House Revisited: Sarah Waters's The Little Stranger' in Sarah Waters, ed. Kaye Mitchell (London: Continuum, 2013), pp. 99-113. Reprinted in 'Sarah Waters', Contemporary Literary Criticism Vol. 400, ed. Lawrence J. Trudeau (Gale, 2016), pp. 299-307.
    • 'Gender, Culture, and the Body: Food in Contemporary Women's Fiction', Bun-Sai 8 (2012): pp. 47-63. Published in Japanese.
    •  'Kicks Against the Pricks: Gender, Sex and Satire in Will Self's Cock and Bull', English vol. 60, no. 230 (Autumn 2011): pp. 229-250.
    • 'Queer, There and Everywhere', introduction to special issue on Contemporary Women's Writing and Queer Diasporas, Textual Practice 25.4 (August 2011): pp. 639-647.
    • 'Magic, Diaspora and Klezbian Desire in Judith Katz's The Escape Artist', Textual Practice 25.4 (August 2011): pp. 689-710. Reprinted in Judith Katz, The Escape Artist (Ann Arbor, MI: Bywater Books, 2013), pp. 289-314
    • 'Odd Girl Out: An Interview with Valerie Mason-John', Textual Practice 25.4 (August 2011): pp. 799-822.
    • 'On Fiction, Femininity, and Fashion: An Interview with Linda Grant', Feminist Review 96 (2010): pp. 127-134.
    • 'Unsettling Women', introduction to special issue on Diaspora, Contemporary Women's Writing 3.1 (June 2009): pp. 1-5.
    • 'An Interview with Linda Grant', Wasafiri 24.1, special issue on Jewish/Postcolonial Diasporas (Spring 2009): pp. 27-32.
    • ‘Recovering Women: History, Trauma and Gender in Michèle Roberts' In the Red Kitchen', Contemporary Women's Writing 2.2 (December 2008): pp. 111-130.
    • 'Michèle Roberts and Romance', Women: A Cultural Review 19.1, special issue on Contemporary Women's Writing (Spring 2008): pp. 21-36.
    • 'The Real Thing: Transsexuality and Manhood in Rose Tremain's Sacred Country', Women: A Cultural Review 18.3 (Winter 2007): pp. 303-326.
    • 'Sex Changes: Michèle Roberts and the Politics of Pleasure', Revision and Revelation in Contemporary British Literature, special issue of LIT: Literature, Interpretation, Theory 17. 3-4 (December 2006): pp. 325-351.
    • ‘Money Makes the Man: Gender and Sexuality in Martin Amis's Money' in Gavin Keulks ed., Martin Amis: Postmodernism and Beyond (London: Palgrave, 2006), pp. 55-75.
    • 'Lost in Translation: Gender and the Figure of the Translator in Contemporary Queer Fiction' in Douglas Burnham and Enrico Giaccherini ed., The Poetics of Transubstantiation: From Theology to Metaphor (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005), pp. 118-125.
    • 'The Proper Stuff of Fiction: Defending the Domestic, Reappraising the Parochial' in Emma Parker ed., Contemporary British Women Writers (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2004), pp. 1-15.
    • 'No Man's Land: Masculinity and Englishness in Graham Swift's Last Orders' in Daniel Lea & Berthold Schoene ed., Posting the Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary British Literature (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2003), pp. 89-104.
    • 'A New Hystery: History and Hysteria in Toni Morrison's Beloved', Twentieth-Century Literature 47.1 (Spring 2001): pp. 1-19.
    • 'You Are What You Eat: The Politics of Eating in the Novels of Margaret Atwood' in Harold Bloom ed. Margaret Atwood (London: Chelsea House, 2000), pp. 113-130. Reprinted from Twentieth Century Literature 41. 3 (Fall 1995): pp. 349-368. Extract also reprinted in Feminism in Literature: A Gale Critical Companion, Volume 4 Twentieth Century / Topics (Detroit: Thomson/Gale, 2005), p. 114.
    • 'The Consumption of Angela Carter: Women, Food and Power', Ariel: A Review of International English Literature 31.3 (July 2000): pp. 141-169. Reprinted in Twentieth Century Literary Criticism v.139, Sept. 2003.
    • 'From House to Home: A Kristevan Reading of Michèle Roberts' Daughters of the House', Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 41. 2 (Winter 1999/2000): pp. 153-173.
    • 'A Career of One's Own: Christina Rossetti, Literary Success and Love', Women's Writing 5.3 (1998): pp. 305-328. Reprinted in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism v.186, Sept. 2007, pp. 261-274.
    • 'Apple Pie Ideology and the Politics of Appetite in the Novels of Toni Morrison', Contemporary Literature 39.4 (Winter 1998): pp. 614-643.


    Entries in The Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English, ed. Lorna Sage (Cambridge University Press, 1999): Jane Rogers; Fay Weldon's Down Among the Women; Fay Weldon's Female Friends; Ntozake Shange's Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo; Kathy Acker's Blood and Guts in High School.

    Book Reviews

    I have reviewed books for New Formations, Feminist Review, Contemporary Women’s Writing, and Yearbook of English Studies.


    Topics covered in my work include:

    • gender, sexuality and class
    • non-normative genders
    • transgender and transsexuality
    • trauma
    • magic
    • food
    • romance
    • Thatcherism
    • the relationship between literature and music
    • the relationship between literature and art

    I am currently leading the AHRC and Arts Council-funded project Joe Orton: 50 Years On (2014-2019), which commemorates the 50th anniversary of Orton's three major plays and his death in 1967. This includes Yours Faithfully, Edna Welthorpe (Mrs), a collaboration with film-maker Chris Shepherd and winner of a Saboteur Award (2018).

    I have co-curated two exhibitions on Joe Orton:

    • 'What the Artist S inaw: Art Inspired by the Life and Work of Joe Orton' (with Michael Petry), Museum of Contemporary Art, London (5 February - 4 March 2017) and New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester (29 July - 22 October 2017)
    • Crimes of Passion: The Story of Joe Orton (with Bev Baker), National Justice Museum, Nottingham (22 July - 1 October 2017).

    I have interviewed the following writers, actors and directors about Joe Orton: Alec BaldwinFrances BarberKenneth CranhamDudley SuttonJake ArnottGraham Fellows (aka John Shuttleworth)Braham MurrayMichael Elwyn and Nick Bagnall.

     I was a University of Leicester Images of Research Competition Finalist (2017)


    College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities Research Development Fund, documentary 'Stewy and Joe Orton' (£2000), May 2017.

    • 'Joe Orton's Edna Welthorpe Letters Revisited' (£13,963), Arts Council England, April 2017
    • University Enterprise and Knowledge Exchange Travel Fund (£457.50), March 2017
    • College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities Research Development Fund, MLA conference costs (£815), October 2016
    • University Impact Development Fund, 'Joe Orton: 50 Years On' (£5,309), August 2016
    • University Impact Development Fund, 'Joe Orton's Loot: A 50th Anniversary Celebration' (£2,830), July 2016
    • Principal Investigator, AHRC Cultural Engagement Fellowship, 'Joe Orton's Loot: A 50th Anniversary Celebration' (£25,000), Feb-May 2016
    • College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Research Development Fund, reproduction fees (£1,000), May 2016


    I have externally examined nine PhDs:

    • Southampton, Edinburgh, Cardiff, 2016
    • Durham, 2012
    • Stirling, 2011
    • Swansea, 2010 and 2008
    • Loughborough, 2007
    • Sheffield Hallam, 2003

    I have supervised eight PhD dissertations to successful completion on topics such as:

    • queer South Asian contemporary fiction
    • revisionary representations of Biblical women in contemporary women's writing
    • representations of women in Saudi Arabia in contemporary fiction
    • Sarah Waters
    • Margaret Walker
    • cyborgs in post-war American science fiction
    • the single woman in the 1950s

    I welcome applications from students wishing to work in the following areas:

    • contemporary women's writing
    • contemporary British fiction
    • queer fiction
    • masculinity
    • the 1980s
    • Joe Orton


    BBC Radio Leicester, Martin Ballard Show: interviewed about winning a Saboteur Award, 22 May 2018.

    BBC Radio 4 'Front Row' special on Joe Orton, 11 August 2017

    BBC Radio Leicester, Martin Ballard Show, interviewed about my Arts Council-funded Joe Orton creative writing competition with winner Bryony Adshead (Derby High School) and Pearl Andrews-Horrigan (Queen’s College, Taunton), 10 August 2017.

    BBC Radio Leicester, Ben Jackson Show, interviewed about the launch of a Joe Orton Creative Writing Competition, 12 June 2017.

    Consultant, The Secret Diary of Sue Townsend (Aged 68 3/4), BBC Two, 15 October, 2016. Winner of the RTS Scotland award for best Documentary and Specialist Factual 2017.

    BBC Radio Leicester, Graham Wright's Weekend Breakfast Show, discussion of Jake Arnott's BBC Radio 3 adaptation of Orton's unpublished story 'The Visa Affair', 8 October, 2016

    BBC Radio Leicester, Graham Wright's Weekend Breakfast Show, discussion about 'An Evening with Kenneth Cranham' at Curve Theatre and a weekend of events to celebrate Joe Orton's Loot, 24 September, 2016.

    BBC Radio Leicester, Lunchtime Show with Lukwesa Burak, discussion about Joe Orton's Loot, 15 September, 2016.

    Literary Leicester, in conversation with Penelope Lively, 14 November, 2014.

    BBC Radio 4 'Woman's Hour': Classic Feminist Fiction - Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness, 22 August 2014.

    Leicester Mercury: 'Event marks premiere of Joe Orton's classic play, Entertaining Mr Sloane, 1 July 2014.

    Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane: A 50th Anniversary Celebration, an event featuring novelist Jake Arnott and director Nick Bagnall, and special guest actor Kenneth Cranham, 29 June 2014.

    BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme: Will Gompertz celebrates 50 years of Joe Orton, 27 June 2014.

    Leicester Mercury: 'Joe Orton classic Entertaining Mr Sloane gets a relaunch in Leicester', 8 May 2014.

    The Guardian: quoted in 'Joe Orton: his brief but brilliant theatre career - in pictures', 7 May 2014.

    BBC Radio Leicester: feature about Joe Orton on Ben Jackson's Drive Time Show, 6 May 2014.

    Leicester Mercury: 'First Person: 'Celebration of the genius that was Joe Orton', 6 May 2014.

    The Phoenix Cinema, Leicester: Introduction to Entertaining Mr Sloane (dir. Douglas Hickox, 1970), 6 May 2014.

    BBC News: 'New version of Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane released' 19 April 2014.

    Introduction to Jonathan Coe, Centre for New Writing Annual Lecture, 5 March 2014.

    BBC Radio Leicester: feature about Thatcher's legacy for women on Jonathan Lampon's Breakfast Show, 9 April 2013.

    Leicester Mercury: 'First Person: 'Writers do not see Thatcher as a Feminist Icon', 2 April 2013.

    Literary Leicester: Introduction to Carol Ann Duffy, 8 November 2012.

    PÚBLICO (Portuguese national newspaper): quoted in the feature 'We will never be free of Margaret Thatcher' by Tiago Bartolomeu Costa about the impact of Thatcher on the arts, written in response to the film The Iron Lady, 3 February 2012.

    Literary Leicester: In conversation with Sarah Waters, 12 November 2009.

    BBC Radio 4 'Woman's Hour': feature about male pregnancy, 4 August 2009

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