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Professor Alison MacLeod

Contemporary Fiction

a.macleod@chi.ac.uk | +44 (0)1243 816297

Alison MacLeod is Professor of Contemporary Fiction at Chichester.  She has taught a wide range of English and Creative Writing modules, and has a particular interest, both as a lecturer and as a supervisor, in contemporary literature and culture, modernist and postmodernist fiction, and developments within short fiction. 

She is a novelist, short story writer and essayist.  Her third and most recent novel, Unexploded (Hamish Hamilton/Penguin Books), was long-listed for The 2013 Man-Booker Prize and selected as one of The Observer’s ‘Books of the Year’.  Her previous works include the novels The Changeling (Macmillan, 1996) and The Wave Theory of Angels (Hamish Hamilton/Penguin 2005).   

She is also the author of the short story collection Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction (Penguin, 2007).  Her stories have been widely published in the UK and abroad, and broadcast on the BBC.  In 2008 she was awarded the Society of Authors’ Prize for Short Fiction, in 2011 she was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award, and in 2012 she was long-listed for The International Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award.  

Professor MacLeod has appeared at numerous literary festivals and conferences.  Alongside her teaching and writing, she has also served as judge for such literary awards as The International Frank O'Connor Short Fiction Award,  The Manchester Fiction Prize and The London Magazine Short Story Award.  She is Associate Editor of the international journal Short Fiction in Theory and Practice and Director of THRESHOLDS Online International Short Story Forum.

She is currently working on her next story collection and novel.

Research Supervision:

“I welcome enquiries from potential Ph.D students.  My research specialisms include the contemporary novel, literary historical fiction, ‘science and fiction’, modern, postmodern and millennial fiction, the fantastic, the 'uncanny'.”

Main Publications (sample):

2013  Novel, Unexploded, Hamish Hamilton/Penguin UK
2013  Essay on the art of Katherine Mansfield for Morphologies (Comma Press)
2013  'Top 10 Stories of Infidelity’, the Guardian, 4 Sept2013     
2013   Article on the short story form, ‘No Excess Baggage’, The Sunday Times Magazine
2013   Essay ‘Hearing Voices’ for Writing Your First Novel (Palgrave Macmillan)
2013   Essay on the short story form, ‘Writing and Risk-Taking’, for Short Circuit: A Guide to the  Art  of  the Short Story (Salt Publishing UK)
2012   Short story ‘There Are Precious Things’ for BBC Radio 3
2012   Short  story ‘Solo, A Cappella’ for BBC Radio 4
2011   Short story :‘The Heart of Denis Noble’ for Litmus: Short Stories from Modern           Science, Comma Press, ed. Ra Page; based on 1960 ‘breakthrough moment’ for biologist   Prof. Denis Noble (Oxford); re-published in The Sunday Times Magazine online edition
2007   ‘Top 10 Short Stories’, the Guardian
2007   Short story collection, Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction, Hamish Hamilton/Penguin UK 
2006   Novel, The Wave Theory of Angels, Hamish Hamilton/Penguin UK
2005   Story ‘Radiant Heat’, Prospect Magazine
1996   Novel, The Changeling, Macmillan UK

Review extracts:

Unexploded:

'Unexploded is like a piece of finely wrought ironwork, uncommonly delicate but at the same time astonishingly strong and tensile; it's a novel of staggering elegance and beauty.' THE INDEPENDENT

'Full of simmering tension, resentment and unexpressed passion... A bold, cleverly-told story from a writer who knows exactly what she's doing.' THE OBSERVER

'An exploration of the xenophobia and neurosis unleashed in times of national crisis ...MacLeod remains one of the most astute... writing today.' THE GUARDIAN

'The plot is fast-paced and engaging, the characters are compelling, and the descriptions of wartime Brighton are pin-sharp... The novel's denouement is as heart-rending as it is unexpected.' THE FINANCIAL TIMES

Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction:

‘Alison MacLeod’s collection of stories is a baker’s dozen of excellence book-ended by brilliance.’  TIME OUT

'MacLeod's fictions are modern indeed. They are fragmentary evocations of desire and its mysteries, passing glimpses into minds and hearts… [Her] characters are strong, and they are worth listening to'   THE GUARDIAN

‘MacLeod's strike rate is uniformly high. The opening story, “so that the land was darkened”, can stand for her strengths. Quietly, obliquely, MacLeod conveys more about the randomness of urban living and the ruptures caused by terrorism than most issue-centered stories, or indeed novels, ever could.’  THE MONTREAL GAZETTE

The Wave Theory of Angels: 

'…a daring investigation of medieval philosophy, modern-day physics, and the relation of both to faith and desire...  [MacLeod] has an engaged delight in the stuff of life…’   TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

‘The Wave Theory of Angels is a bold and beautiful dismantling of the linearity and fixedness of time and space… [Its characters] live and breathe and, most important, desire, in rich period detail. … [MacLeod] has achieved an enchanting, playful and, at times, dark probing of the limits of our knowledge.  THE GLOBE AND MAIL

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