Dr Emma Parker

Personal details | Publications | Research | Teaching | Supervision | Media

Associate Professor (Reader) in Postwar and Contemporary Literature

Department: EnglishDr Emma Parker

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2630

Email: ep27@le.ac.uk

Office: Room 1405, Attenborough Tower

Address: School of Arts, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH

Personal Details


I am an expert on postwar and contemporary literature, especially women's writing, and am interested in issues relating to gender and sexuality. 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) and 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, Will Self and Jonathan Coe, amongst others. I also work on the playwright Joe Orton.

I have delivered public talks at the British Library, Tate Britain, the British Film Institute, the National Justice Museum, The Postal Museum, and festivals including Latitude and Homotopia. I have appeared on the BBC Radio 4 programmes 'Today', 'Woman's Hour' and 'Front Row'. I have also been interviewed on BBC East Midlands Today, ITV Central News and BBC Radio Leicester.

In 2018, I won a Saboteur Award (a prize for indie arts sponsored by Arts Council England) and the East Midlands Women's Award for Outstanding Woman in Arts, Media and Music. I am the recipient of a University of Leicester Superstar Award for Best Personal Tutor (2020), a Discovering Excellence Award for Equalities (2018), a Research Impact Award for 'Best Public Engagement' (2017) and an Inspirational Woman Award (2015). I was awarded a University (Distinguished) Teaching Fellowship in 2003.


  • BA, University of Birmingham
  • PhD, University of Birmingham
  • Senior Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy


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;  'the best essay on Carve Up! ...essential reading for any student of Coe' (Anthony Walker-Cook, Notes and Queries, 2019).
  • '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.


Topics covered in my work include:

  • feminism
  • queer
  • gender, sexuality, race and class
  • Thatcherism

I led the AHRC and Arts Council-funded project Joe Orton: 50 Years On (2014-2020), which commemorated 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), which won a Special Commendation at the Nottinghamshire Heritage Awards (2018).

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.

Read my essay on Loot here.

Explore my close reading of the opening pages of Loot on the British Library's Discovering Literature web page.

Grants and Funding

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




  • MA in Modern Literature: EN7134 Queer Fiction
  • Supervision

I have externally examined 11 PhDs: Brunel, 2020; Melbourne, 2019; Southampton, Edinburgh, Cardiff, 2016; Durham, 2012; Stirling, 2011; Swansea, 2010 and 2008; Loughborough, 2007; and Sheffield Hallam, 2003.

I have supervised 11 PhD dissertations to successful completion on topics such as Doris Lessing, Sarah Waters, Margaret Walker, American women's science fiction, queer South Asian fiction, Biblical revisionism in contemporary women's writing, the single woman in the 1950s, women in Saudi Arabia and gender in comics.

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


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