2023 BACLS Exec Committee elections now open

September 14th, 2023 by Diletta De Cristofaro, in

Voting for the 2023 Executive Committee Elections is now open

Read below the statements from nominees to the role of Ordinary Member. Please vote via this form by 25th September 2023.

Ordinary Member (5 positions available)

Dr Caroline Edwards (Birkbeck, University of London)

I’m standing for the position of BACLS General Member, as I’d be thrilled to be directly involved with the BACLS Exec. I was a Founding Member and the society’s first Secretary from 2015-2018, having built up a network of friends and colleagues specialising in contemporary literary studies since I started my PhD in 2006. In addition to 17 years of research and teaching in this field, I’ve also worked to increase visibility to scholarship in contemporary literary studies via open access publishing. I launched Alluvium, which later became the BACLS-affiliated postgraduate-run journal, and also co-founded the Open Library of Humanities which publishes C21, the official BACLS journal. Since 2022 I’ve been co-Editor-in-Chief of C21 (with Sian Adiseshiah) and am working to expand our international reach, improve the diversity of our editorial board and article submissions, and build up submissions after the impact of COVID. I’m passionate about studying the contemporary period. My PhD and first monograph (Utopia and the Contemporary British Novel, CUP 2019) examine contemporary British fiction via a utopian temporal lens, and early in my career I also co-edited 2 collections on living writers as part of the Gylphi series – China Miéville: Critical Essays (2015) and Maggie Gee: Critical Essays (2015). My current book project focuses on contemporary literature alongside other media including film, TV, sound installations, and multimedia artworks, to consider an emerging elemental aesthetics in ecocatastrophe narratives. At Birkbeck, I’ve been the Director of the Centre for Contemporary Literature since 2020 and have been part of the core teaching team on our well-established MA Contemporary Literature and Culture since 2013. I’m actively involved in liaising with other contemporary associations, including ASAP and the Contemporary Womens’ Writing Association, and would love the opportunity to represent BACLS and become actively involved with the society again.

Dr Dominic Dean (University of Sussex)

I am nominating myself to be an Ordinary Member because my unique combination of experiences make me well-placed to bring an informed, engaged and committed perspective to the work of BACLS, while expanding the range of precarious, early-career and queer voices within that work. This derives from my position as an early-career researcher combining my research and teaching with a substantive role as the REF Academic Manager for the University of Sussex, thus sustaining a relatively precarious research career alongside a depth of experience in research policy. My extensive experience with REF and associated policy debates has given me insight into how contemporary literary studies, within the broader Humanities, can effectively articulate, defend and evidence its value and its impacts – as explored when I convened a panel on ‘The Future of REF and the Implications for Literary Studies’ at the 2021 BACLS-WHN Conference. Given this background, I am passionate about maximising our collective contributions to defending the discipline and standing up for fields, colleagues and departments under threat; and I believe contemporary literature scholars have an essential role to play in this. My research is firmly situated within contemporary British fiction, and I have an extensive profile of publications on Kazuo Ishiguro, Sarah Waters, Alan Hollinghurst, and Ian McEwan, as well as on more emerging writers like David Szalay and Melissa Harrison. I focus especially on the child-as-future in fiction and film from 1979 to present, and have a forthcoming monograph on this topic. I am a regular peer reviewer for Textual Practice and for English Studies, and have experience with organising large-scale conferences and other academic events, including as co-convenor of the ‘Ishiguro and International Crisis’ Global Seminar in 2020. I hope to use all of this to make a valuable contribution to the BACLS Executive Committee.

Dr Sara Pini (University of Bologna)

Hello BACLS members! I am Sara, I received a PhD in Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures last year at the University of Bologna (Italy) and I specialise in contemporary children’s and Young Adult literature in English. I also wrote a dissertation in contemporary English literature for my MA and BA degrees. Currently, I am an Early Career Researcher and I am working as a Teaching Tutor at the University of Bologna, mainly doing administrative work to increase internationalization; I also co-organise teaching activities for the doctoral programme in ‘Cultural Heritage in the Digital Ecosystem’. I am applying for the role of Ordinary Member because I would like to contribute more actively to BACLS and I would be glad to take part in organising activities and doing admin tasks. I am already familiar with the co-organisation of national and international conferences, I planned many Welcome Days for exchange students, and I am used to managing websites because I am the webmaster for the Australian Universities Heads of English (AUHE) and the Centre of Extra-European Postcolonial Literatures (CLOPEx, University of Bologna); recently, I have been appointed as secretary of the soon-to-be Journal of the European Children’s Literature Research Network. I have been working as a designer for the Italian Oscar Wilde Society Newsletter and I am a member of its Editorial Board, so I am used to teamwork! I like listening to diverse views, gathering them, and offering an idea that blends a little bit of each one. When I am not reading literary criticism or the latest Young Adult novels, I like walking my dog and taking photos. If you have any questions or if you think it might help you decide to vote for me, I will be happy to chat with you – please reach out at

Dr Arya Aryan (Istanbul Aydin University)

I am Arya Aryan, an assistant professor in Contemporary Literature (PhD from Durham University) with a postdoctoral fellowship experience. I have published two books and several articles in contemporary literature including "The Traumatised Shaman" and "The Author Returns" in Alluvium (BACLS). My current interests are the medical and digital humanities. I am currently working on pathologisation of non-medical issues in contemporary fiction. I am the founder of the Literature and Science forum with responsibilities including organising a series of webinars, updating the mailing list and promoting the events. I would love to be part of the BACLS brilliant team.

Samia Majid (University of Northampton)

I am a PhD Candidate and Associate Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Northampton. My interest lies in literary conceptions of contemporary neoliberalism, which interrogates and expands on BACLS's focus on the constantly evolving contemporary 'moment' in fiction. My research locates neoliberalism as a fluid and hybrid phenomenon in contemporary world literature. I have a particular interest in interrogating postcolonial representations of precarity and marginality, focusing on translated works that are underrepresented in comparative literature studies. My PhD thesis, 'Neoliberalism and the Individual in the Contemporary Global Novel,' explores literary depictions of neoliberal discourse that are filtered through parody and satire to lampoon the concept of the 'self-made' individual. In particular, I focus on manifestations of late-capitalist market totality and the rise of uniquely modern, transgressive impulses in the works of Aravind Adiga, Horacio Castellanos Moya, Don DeLillo, and others. My research has also received funding from the University of Northampton. In 2022, I was awarded a Diversity Studentship to study a Doctor of Philosophy in English and Creative Writing. I am also proud to teach on the University of Northampton's BA English course on the Literature & Revolution module. As an Associate Lecturer, I have enjoyed fostering discussions on literary expressions of upheaval and marginalisation in contemporary fiction like What a Carve Up! and 1984. I am eager to build connections and promote critical, discursive readings of contemporary literature through interdisciplinary approaches. I am a member of the (Re)Imagining Value Interdisciplinary Network. As part of the Newcastle University Humanities Research Institute, I hope to help unite researchers interested in the reciprocal relationship between the arts and economic humanities. In 2020, I was a postgraduate Student Representative at SOAS University of London, where I led a collaborative, inter-departmental campaign to implement a fair assessment policy during COVID.

Dr Rajeshbhai Bharvad (The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda)

I have been a member of this academic association since 2020, and over the period of time, I have recognized the fact about the academic value that this association through various programs. Being the only member from the Indian subcontinent, I present a unique case of adding different academic perspectives in the group, which will be a strong case of minority representation. Further, I would also like to endorse my academic and research background which is strongly rooted in contemporary literature. After completing my doctoral research in postmodernism, I have been working on the developments that took place after postmodernism. For instance, my ongoing research project titled, "From Postmodernism to Metamodernism: An Investigation of Fictional Narratives and Politics of Culture" interrogates the trends in contemporary literature. In this way, my presence in the core committee as an ordinary member will be vital in planning academic programs. In addition, my research in postcolonialism and Indian diasporic literature will also add a different angle of studies in contemporary literature of the world. I also carried out a research project titled, "Gendering Diaspora: Dualities in Indo-Canadian Women's Fiction" as part of my fellowship offered by Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, under the guidance of Prof Nandi Bhatia of Western University, Canada. My strong alignment in this relevant field of postcolonialism becomes a salient aspect in my profile. Needless to say, my profile will be huge advantage in popularizing the association and making its presence felt in the western region of India. I present a strong case in my application for this post, and I also offer my unwavering support and commitment in the future programs. Given that I have a unique background in contemporary literature and the much required commitment for academic activities, I offer my candidature for a post of an ordinary member.

Dr Dilek Ozturk Yagci (Istanbul Technical University)

Dr., Dilek Öztürk Yagci is currently working as a lecturer at Istanbul Technical University, School of Foreign Languages where she teaches writing composition and short story classes. After graduating with High Honours from the Department of English Language and Literature, Ankara University, she got her Master’s Degree in English Literature from Bo?aziçi University with her thesis on narrative presence and the art of storytelling in Samuel Beckett’s drama. As part of her doctoral studies, she served as a research fellow at the Institute of Irish Studies and the Brian Friel Theatre and Centre for Theatre Research in Queen’s University Belfast in 2017. Funded by 2211 TUBITAK Ph.D Scholarship Programme, she received her Ph.D degree from the English Department of Middle East Technical University in 2021. Her dissertation explores the spatial dynamics of Brian Friel’s drama, mainly in his three plays of the 1990s, against the backdrop of contemporary human geography and theories of space and place. Her research interests include contemporary British and Irish literature, drama & performance studies, studies of space, place, and environment. Her recent monograph Re-reading Brian Friel: Space, Place, and Text is coming out with Routledge Studies in Irish Literature Series in 2024. Dr. Öztürk Yagci, as an early carler researcher, has published and presented in various international and national conferences on the broad scope of Literary studies, specifically on studies of theatre& drama. She is alo running an Instagram Page, "Irish Literary Studies Network" where she posts call for papers announcements on literature. Apart from taking part in academic events, Dr. Ozturk Yagci acts serves as working group members in two COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) projects, Social Sciences and Humanities for Transformation and Climate Resillience, and Writing Urban Places, where she works on scientific, artistic or technological projects combining Science and Literary Studies. To this end, her nomination as an Ordinary Member will be an asset to the Association in terms of its objectives regarding Literar Studies, Arts and outreach, and dissemination.

Dr Yagmur Sönmez Demir (University of Heidelberg)

In 2012, I earned my MA degree in English Literature and Cultural Studies with a dissertation on George Eliot’s Middlemarch. I started teaching at the Department of English Language and Literature at Çankaya University, Turkey when I was a Ph.D. student at Middle East Technical University, Turkey in English Literature. I gained my Ph.D. degree with the dissertation “Kazuo Ishiguro's Postmodern Hypertexts: Generic Re-configurations in The Remains of the Day, When We Were Orphans, and The Buried Giant” in September, 2020. To have experience in a European country as a visiting scholar and expand my knowledge of the current research interests in my field, as well as to delve into the topic of unreliable narratives in contemporary fiction, I applied to Turkish Scientific and Technological Research Council for a post-doctoral research grant, and fortunately my research proposal titled “Narrative Unreliability of Third-person Narrators in Contemporary British Fiction” was accepted as worthy of scholarship for 12 months in Germany under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Vera Nünning, and I commenced my research in September 2022 at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. Currently, I conduct my research project and regularly take part in Prof. Nünning’s “Oberseminar” in which problems, theories, methods and examples of doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers in English Literary Studies are discussed. Since I started participating in national and international conferences as an MA student, I have attended numerous conferences. I also have several publications and further research plans. When I was a faculty member, I also took an active part in academic events organized by our department, such as the annual Creative Writing Competition for High Schools and an international conference on English Studies (in collaboration with the national branch of ESSE); I served as a member of the organizing committees for both events. I also review scholarly articles for a couple of Turkish journals. I am eager to be an active member of BACLS, contribute to it to the best of my abilities and broaden my academic experience. I guess that there will be a number of applications for this position, yet I hope I also have a chance with my qualifications.

Secretary (1 position available)

Sandro Eich (University of St Andrews)

Sandro has been elected uncontested to the role of Secretary. Read Sandro's statement below.

I am a first generation, final year PhD student in English at the University of St Andrews, working on representations of whistleblowing in contemporary non-fiction and fiction narratives. Last academic year, I served as the Postgraduate Academic Convenor at St Andrews and have learned that the wheels of academic administration can turn very slowly. As academics, we do not have to time spare at our hands. This is why I want to ensure the effective and streamlined administration of the association. While the responsibilities of the Secretary on the Executive Committee (as set out by the Constitution) might be perceived as administrative in nature, I feel strongly about the radical potential of innovative and collaborative administration. As Secretary of BACLS, I hope to be able to connect members within the association and enable collaborative and collective initiatives to grow, in resistance to attempts of devaluing the role of literary studies in today’s society. With the continued attacks against the humanities, and the challenges our members are facing in their institutions, I understand the responsibilities of the role of the Secretary to be vital in supporting its members. Additionally, I want to hold the Executive Committee accountable to effective information management and ensuring that members can take part in the strategic steering of the association’s activities. As part of convening and preparing council meetings, I want to ensure inclusivity to strengthen the democratic powers that these meetings have, and want to ensure that ways of active participation in the association will be demystified, especially for members of underrepresented groups. I bring crucial skills in communicating with stakeholders and know of the relevance of wording communications appropriately. Overall, as your Secretary I hope to support you and emphasise the association’s critical role in upholding the value of contemporary literary studies.