Dr Sarah Graham

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

Associate Professor in American Literature

Sarah Graham

Department: English and Centre for American Studies

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2625

Email: sarah.graham@leicester.ac.uk

Office: Room 1312, Attenborough Tower

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

Personal details


I studied for my degree in English at the University of Stirling (1991-95) and stayed on to take an MPhil in Contemporary Poetry in English, which included poetry writing. In 1996 I began my PhD in American Modernist Poetry at the University of Leeds, and taught English there from 1998-2002. I have been a Lecturer at the University of Leicester in the School of Arts and in the Centre for American Studies since 2003. My main area of research is twentieth-century North American fiction, especially from the post-war period, but I have wide-ranging interests in American writing, film, popular music, and visual culture, especially of and from New York.


  • BA Hons (Stirling)
  • MPhil (Stirling)
  • PhD (Leeds)
  • Senior Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy/Advance HE


  • University of Leicester (Distinguished) Teaching Fellow for promoting diversity in teaching and learning (2006)
  • University of Leicester Students' Union 'Superstar Award' for my contributions to the American Studies SSC and PAL scheme, and for my commitment to LGBTQ students and issues (2013)


    Books and edited collections

  • Editor, A History of the Bildungsroman (Cambridge University Press, 2019)
  • Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye (Continuum, 2007)
  • Editor, J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye (Routledge, 2007)

    Journal articles, book chapters, and reviews

  • ‘Finding Trimalchio’, The Great Gatsby: An Edition of the Manuscript by F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by James L. W. West III and Don C. Skemer (Times Literary Supplement, 14 August 2018)
  • Books That Cook: The Making of a Literary Meal, edited by Jennifer Cognard-Black and Melissa A. Goldthwaite (Times Literary Supplement, 4 February 2015)
  • 'A swell way to keep from working’, The Letters of Ernest Hemingway Volume II, 1923-25 edited by Sandra Spanier et al (Times Literary Supplement, 4 April 2014)
  • 'What is the Great American Novel?', The Dream of the Great American Novel by Lawrence Buell (Times Literary Supplement, 18 July 2014)
  • 'Unfair Ground: Girlhood and Theme Parks in Contemporary Fiction', Journal of American Studies 47.3 (2013): 589-604
  • The Master, The Modern Major General, And His Clever Wife: Henry James’s letters to Field Marshal Lord Wolseley and Lady Wolseley, 1878-1913 edited by Alan G. James (Times Literary Supplement, 9 August 2013)
  • 'J. D. Salinger' in The Cambridge Companion to American Novelists, edited by Timothy Parrish (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
  • John Updike’s Early Years by Jack De Bellis (Times Literary Supplement, 21 June 2013)
  • 'Hymen and Trilogy', in The Cambridge Companion to H. D., edited by Polina Mackay and Nephie Christodoulides (Cambridge University Press, 2011)
  • 'J. D. Salinger: The Catcher in the Rye', The Literary Encyclopaedia (August 2010)
  • '"See synonyms at MONSTER": En-Freaking Transgender in Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex', Ariel 40.4 (2009): 1-18
  • 'Falling Walls: Trauma and Testimony in H. D.’s Trilogy', English 56:216 (2007): 299-319
  • '"We have a secret. We are alive": H. D.’s Trilogy as a Response to War', Texas Studies in Literature and Language 44:2 (2002): 161-210

    I am the Editor of two book series: ‘Studies in Contemporary North American Fiction’ and 'Topics in Contemporary North American Literature', both published by Bloomsbury Academic. Books in the 'Studies' series present new essays on post-1990 fiction by American and Canadian authors, including Cormac McCarthy, Margaret Atwood, Philip Roth, Toni Morrison, Don DeLillo, Chuck Palahniuk, Louise Erdrich, Bret Easton Ellis, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Alice Munro. Books in the 'Topics' series present new essays on literature (including fiction, memoir and graphic novels) on a range of subjects, including the Vietnam War and 9/11.


    My PhD considered the impact of the First and Second World Wars on the poetry of H. D. (Hilda Doolittle) and Ezra Pound. My first academic publications were on H. D. and I continue to have an interest in American Modernism, especially poetry. My research on American fiction in the post-war period initially focused on J. D. Salinger, leading to major book projects. My future research in this area will be on short fiction by writers of Salinger’s generation, including Shirley Jackson and Carson McCullers, John Cheever and Richard Yates. Consistent areas of interest are representations of adolescence and the family in American fiction and film, which is connected to my work on the evolution of the Bildungsroman in America. I have also published research on contemporary fiction, looking in particular at the representation of gender and sexuality.


    I convene the following modules:

  • AM3038 ‘Coming of Age in America: Representing Adolescence in Fiction and Film’
  • AM3039 ‘Modern Monsters: The Other in Contemporary American Texts’
  • AM1005 ‘Modern American Writing’
  • ‘A Movement: Modernism’ module on the MA in Modern Literature
  • 'AIDS Narratives' module on the MA in Modern Literature

    I contribute to the following modules:

  • AM3018/19 and AM3025/26 Dissertation
  • AM2011 ‘The City’
  • AM2013 ‘Ethnicity and Diversity in American Literature, 1950-2000’
  • AM1002 ‘Classic US Texts
  • EN1010 ‘Reading English'
  • EN3010 Dissertation
  • EN3040 'Postwar to Postmodern'


    Doctoral Theses I have supervised to successful completion include: Kathleen L. Bell, ‘The Diaspora of Dickens: Charles Dickens and Writers of the American South’ (2019); Alsahira Alkhayer, ‘Belonging in the Age of Global Crisis: The Fiction of Colum McCann’ (2018); Muna Al-Abboodi, 'Women, War, and Possible New Worlds: Utopia in H.D.’s Poetry' (2017); Irina Kyulanova, 'Growing up through war: rites of passage in contemporary young adult novels and memoirs' (2014); Doaa Abdelhafez Hamada, 'This is her century: A study of Margaret Walker's work' (2013); Susan Smith, 'Shifting (A)Genders: Gender, Disability and the Cyborg in American Women’s Science Fiction' (2012).

    I would be happy to offer supervision in any area related to my research interests, including representations of adolescence in fiction and film; J. D. Salinger and his contemporaries, such as John Cheever, Shirley Jackson, Richard Yates, Carson McCullers, and Truman Capote; representations of HIV/AIDS in written and visual culture.

    I have acted as the External Examiner for PhDs on Marilynne Robinson, Toni Morrison, and Louise Erdrich (Swansea); representations of HIV/AIDS in American and African texts (King's); the fiction of Mary McCarthy (Oxford); representations of adolescence in American texts (Ulster).


    2019: I was interviewed by the Sunday Post for the article 'Classic novel The Catcher In The Rye hailed 100 years after birth of author JD Salinger' (8 January 2019)

    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.

    2013: the British Library held an exhibition, "Propaganda: Power and Persuasion". 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. I also gave a public lecture at the British Library on visual health care material about HIV/AIDS produced around the world during the preceding 30 years. Also in 2013, ‘Alice Munro: Canadian “Master” of the Short Story’, School of English Blog (https://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/english/2013/11/01/alice-munro-canadian/)

    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'. 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 the same year.

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