Dr Nicola Allen

Lecturer in English (Admissions & Outreach Tutor)

Nicola Allen
Email address: N.allen2@wlv.ac.uk Phone number: 01902 323523 Location: MC218 Faculty: Faculty of Arts School/Institute: School of Humanities Areas of expertise: Twentieth century fiction


I received my PhD in 2007 from the University of Central England in Birmingham. My primary research interest lies in the fields of twentieth century British fiction, my PhD, entitled: ‘The Concept of marginality in the British Novel Since 1975’ focuses particularly on texts that interact with issues of political or social marginality and the processes of marginalisation. I am also currently embarking upon projects that include a chapter on the notion of patriarchy in the TV series ‘Ashes to Ashes’ and one on 1960s Science Fiction in popular music. Please see below for a list of my publications.

Before taking up my current post at The University of Wolverhampton I taught for several years at The University of Northampton and Birmingham City University. Across these institutions I have been module leader for undergraduate modules such as: ‘Black British Writing’ and ‘Modern British Fiction’ and ‘Critical Theory’. I also taught/teach undergraduate modules including modules on the following topics: the 1960s, the Realist novel, Modernisms, Post World War II fiction and Film, Victorian Literature, and The European Novel to English undergraduates, as well as teaching modules on politics, history and culture to media students. 

Research interests

I'm interested in researching the work of Tove Jansson and Patti Smith. I've already published articles, edited collections and a monograph on a range of contemporary British and American writing.

Membership of professional bodies

  • Member of the UK Modern Fiction Network
  • HEA Fellowship (application in progress)


  • BA (Hons) English Language & Literarure
  • MA Twentieth Century Writing
  • PhD (marginality in contemporary British fiction)


Books listed as authored

Allen, Nicola, Marginality in the Contemporary British Novel (London: Continuum, 2008). ISBN: 978-1441181770

Journal papers

‘The Frankfurt School and Chuck Palahnuick’s novels; Lullably, Survivor and Haunted’ in Critical Engagements (Autumn/Winter 2009).

‘The Bald and the Beautiful: Shaven-headed Women in Jim Crace’s Being Dead (1999) and The Pesthouse (2007)’ Critical Engagements 2:2 (July 2009).

Chapters in edited collections

‘Biting the Hand that Feeds You’ Reading Chuck Palahniuk’s Survivor (2000) and Haunted (2005) as a critique of ‘The Culture Industry’ (co-written) in Reading Chuck Palahniuk Monsters, Mayhem and Metafiction Edited by Cynthia Kuhn, Lance Rubin (Routledge, 2009). ISNB: 978-0415634243

‘The Perfect Hero for His Age: Christopher Boone and the Role of Logic in the Boy Detective Narrative’ in Michael Cornelius (ed) Essays on the Fiction of Boy Detectives (London: Mcfarland, 2010). ISBN: 9780786460335

‘The Lapsarian World and Social Class in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials’ in Critical Perspectives on Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials: Essays on the Novels, the Film and the Stage Productions, edited by Katherine Cox and Steven Barfield (Mcfarland 2011). ISBN: 978-0786440306

With Gerry Carlin, ‘Slime and Western Man: H. P. Lovecraft in the Time of Modernism’ in David Simmons (ed.) New Critical Essays on H. P. Lovecraft (London: Palgrave, 2014). ISBN: 9781137332240

With Aidan Byrne, ‘Masculinity and Jazz in Jackie Gay's Trumpet, Jim Crace's All a that Follows and Alan Plater's The Beiderbecke Trilogy’ in Eric Hurtz and Jeffrey Roessner (eds.), Write in Tune: Contemporary Music in Fiction (London: Bloomsbury, 2015). ISBN: 9781623565060

‘Lucky Jim: The Novel in Unchartered Times’, in Nicola Allen and David Simmons (eds.) Re-Assessing the Twentieth Century Canon: From Joseph Conrad to Zadie Smith (London: Palgrave, 2015). ISBN: 9781137366009

Newspaper Article

With Aidan Byrne, ‘The Secret Fantasies of the Political Classes’, Times Higher, 8 January 2015.

Edited Collection

With David Simmons, Re-Assessing the Twentieth Century Canon: From Joseph Conrad to Zadie Smith (London: Palgrave, 2015). ISBN: 9781137366009


‘Timeline’ The Modernism Handbook, edited by Philip Tew and Alex Murray, (Continuum, 2009). ISBN: 978-0826488435

Chapters in edited collections

‘Experiencing Time: Freudian concepts in Life on Mars’ in Lorna Jowett, Kevin Robinson and David Simmons (eds), Time on Television: Time Travel and Time Travellers in Popular TV Culture (London: I. B. Taurus, 2016) ISBN:9781784530136

‘Naked Ambition: Shaven-Headed Women in the fiction of Jim Crace’ in Kate Aughterson and Katy Shaw’s edited collection on Crace – the piece has been accepted by the editors but the collection itself is under consideration at Bloomsbury and, as yet, the does not have a title.

Current Research/Work in Progress

With Gerry Carlin, ‘”Hijack the Starship”: Science Fictional Utopias in Late 1960s Psychedelia’ (for submission to the Journal of Popular Culture or similar). This is still ongoing research: plans to interview the chief writer and performer of the Starship had to be shelved as he was ill when we hoped to meet him on tour, and in March he suffered a heart attack: all on hold for a while…

With Gerry Carlin, ‘Strange Gods and Occulted Traditions: The Gothic Modernisms of T.S. Eliot and H. P. Lovecraft’: plans for a conference paper and ultimately an article.

Editorship: Peer-reviewed Journal

I have been a member of the UK Network for Modern Fiction Studies for several years and have been the assistant reviews editor for the associated peer-reviewed journal Critical Engagements since 2006.


In 2005 I was employed as a research assistant on a Higher Education Academy funded project entitled: Teaching the Contemporary; Fiction (April 2005). 


I have presented several conference papers, and helped to organize several conferences the details of which are listed below:

• Presented a paper with Aidan Byrne entitled ‘Masculinity and Jazz in Jackie Kay’s Trumpet, Jim Crace’s All That Follows and Alan Plater’s The Beiderbecke Trilogy’ at The Fifth Annual SLSSC Staff Research Conference (July 2013).

• In July 2007 I helped to organize a conference with Janet Wilson at the University of Northampton entitled ‘Rerouting the postcolonial’ (July 2007).

• I presented a paper entitled ‘Death and Fragmentation in Krapp’s Last Tape’ and helped to organize a conference for ‘Birth Was the Death of Him: Samuel Beckett, Death, Dying and All That Other Unfinished Business’ -An International Conference in honour of Samuel Beckett’s Centenary at The University of Northampton. The conference was co-organized by The Centre for Contemporary Fiction & Narrative, School of Arts, University of Northampton; The UK Network for Modern Fiction Studies; and the London Beckett Seminar Group. (December 1-3, 2006).

• I was involved with the running of a conference for the Midlands Romantic Circle (a joint venture of Nottingham Trent University, De Montfort University, University of Central England and the British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies). The conference was entitled: Romanticism and the Midlands Enlightenment (Birmingham and Midland Institute, 2004).

• I helped to organize a three-day conference on constructs of ‘Englishness’ (The University of Central England, July 2003), and presented a paper entitled ‘Bataille and Systems of Nonknowledge in Samuel Beckett,’ at a one-day conference on ‘Radicality, Criticism and Reality’ (The University of Central England, September 2003).

• Presented a paper entitled ‘Negatives and Positives: Fragments and in-formedness in Krapp’s Last Tape’ at a One-Day Symposium University of Westminster: "Re-reading the Ruins: Samuel Beckett’s Short Drama, Prose and other Fragments” (Westminster University, May 2003).

Invited Articles

I was recently invited by the Literary Encyclopaedia to contribute articles on the life and works of Jim Crace and my entry is now available to read online.