Dr Sarah Graham

Sarah Graham

Lecturer in American Literature

Contact details

E: shsg1@leicester.ac.uk

T: +44 (0)116 252 2625


  • BA Hons (Stirling)
  • MPhil (Stirling)
  • PhD (Leeds)

I have been a Lecturer at the University of Leicester in the School of Arts and in the Centre for American Studies since 2003.

I have published two books about The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (Routledge and Bloomsbury).

I am currently completing a study of J. D. Salinger's short fiction (Bloomsbury, 2019) and a history of the bildungsroman (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

I have published articles and book chapters on Salinger, on the poet H. D., and on contemporary American fiction.

I am Editor of two book series: ‘Studies in Contemporary North American Fiction’ and 'Topics in Contemporary North American Literature' published by (Bloomsbury Academic).

The 'Studies' series presents new essays on post-1990 fiction by American and Canadian authors. Volumes in print include: Cormac McCarthy, Margaret Atwood, Philip Roth, Toni Morrison, Don DeLillo, Chuck Palahniuk, Louise Erdrich, Bret Easton Ellis, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Alice Munro.

The 'Topics' series presents new essays on literature (including fiction, memoir and graphic novels) on a range of subjects, including the Vietnam War9/11, the Holocaust, coming of age, Native American texts, neo-slave narratives, dystopian and young adult fiction.

Recent publications

"Unfair Ground: Girlhood and Theme Parks in Contemporary Fiction", in Journal of American Studies 47.3 (2013), 589-604

"J. D. Salinger", Chapter 19 in The Cambridge Companion to American Novelists edited by Timothy Parrish (Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 189-98

“Hymen and Trilogy”, Chapter 8 in The Cambridge Companion to H.D. edited by Polina Mackay and Nephie Christodoulides (Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 113-26

For a full list of publications, click here

Other activities

In 2011 I collaborated with the Wellcome Library on a public exhibition of visual material related to HIV and AIDS at the New Walk Museum, Leicester, titled 'Spreading the Word: AIDS Posters from Around the World'. See 'media' below.

I'm a member of the British Association for American Studies (BAAS) and the Contemporary Women's Writing Association (CWWA).


In 2006 I was awarded a University of Leicester Teaching Fellowship for promoting diversity in teaching and learning.

In 2013 I received a 'Superstar Award' from the Students' Union for my contribution to the American Studies SSC and PAL scheme, and for my commitment to LGBTQ students and issues.

External examining

From 2012-2016 I acted as External Examiner to the undergraduate programme in the School of Literature, Language and Linguistics, Newcastle University.

I've also acted as External Examiner for PhDs at the University of Oxford, King's College, London and the University of Ulster.

Research Area

Broadly, North American writing from the Modernist period to the contemporary.

My publications to date have focused on the work of H. D. (Hilda Doolittle), J. D. Salinger, and contemporary fiction. My ongoing research considers representations of adolescence and the family, gender and sexuality, in 20th/21st century American fiction. The evolution of the Bildungsroman and its significance in American texts are key research areas, as is representations of the AIDS epidemic.

I am editor/author of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye (Routledge, 2007) and author of Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye (Continuum, 2007).

My current projects include a monograph, Reading J. D. Salinger's Short Fiction (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019), and a major editorial work, A History of the Bildungsroman (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Postgraduate Supervision

Doctoral Theses I have supervised to completion include

  • Colum McCann's Short Fiction and Novels (Alsahira Alkhayer)
  • Rita Dove (Mona Boghdady)
  • Margaret Walker's poetry (Doaa Hamada)
  • Cyborgs in American fiction by women writers (Susan Smith)
  • Modern warfare in young adult fiction (Irina Kyulanova)
  • H. D.'s poetry and utopianism (Muna Al-Abboodi)

Current Supervision

  • The Influence of Dickens on Writers of the American South  (Kathleen Bell)

External Examiner for PhDs on representations of HIV/AIDS in American and African texts; the fiction of Mary McCarthy; representations of adolescence in American texts.

I'd be happy to offer supervision in any of the following areas:

  • J. D. Salinger and his contemporaries, including John Cheever, Shirley Jackson, Richard Yates, Carson McCullers, Truman Capote, William Styron, Flannery O'Connor, Mary McCarthy, Jane and Paul Bowles, Jean Stafford
  • Representations of adolescence and 'coming of age' in written and visual texts from North America, including the evolution of the American Bildungsroman
  • Postwar and contemporary American fiction, including short stories, especially of the 1940s/50s
  • American poetry, especially Modernist
  • Representations of HIV/AIDS in written and visual culture
  • Graphic novels and comics
  • Learn more and apply for research degrees in English


  • In 2011 a BBC Radio Leicester interview about the 'Spreading the Word: AIDS Posters from Around the World' exhibition. The Wellcome Library displayed the posters in London as part of its 'HIV/AIDS at 30: Back to the Future' event.
  • In 2013, the British Library held an exhibition, "Propaganda: Power and Persuasion" (reviewed here). I was interviewed on film about HIV/AIDS awareness in the 1980s, including the British public health campaign, "Don't Die of Ignorance", for inclusion in the exhibition. You can watch the film here.
  • In 2016, I contributed to the programme, 'J. D. Salinger: Made in England', broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 18th February. I visited Devon to discuss the influence that Salinger's time in England in 1944, when he was serving with the US Army, had on his fiction. The programme was reported in The Guardian and The Independent. It is available on the BBC iPlayer.


More information about my work on HIV/AIDS is outlined on the 'Vital Signs' microsite.


  • EN3004/AM3038 ‘Coming of Age in America’ (Special Subject).
  • EN3130/AM3039 ‘Modern Monsters: The Other in Contemporary American Texts’ (Special Subject).
  • AM1005 ‘Modern American Writing’ (American Studies core module & Supplementary option) - Module Convener.
  • AM2011 ‘The City’ (American Studies core module).
  • AM2013 ‘Ethnicity and Diversity in American Literature, 1950-2000’ (American Studies core module).
  • AM1002 ‘Classic US Texts’ (American Studies core module & Supplementary option).
  • MA Modern Literature: ‘A Movement: Modernism’ module.


  • Director of Assessment for American Studies
  • Member of the Senate Student Disciplinary Committee
  • College Representative for the PGCAPP (Postgraduate Certificate in Academic and Professional Practice)

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