Prof Leigh Wilson

Prof Leigh Wilson

I work on modernism, the role of publishing in literary culture, the experimental novel through the 20th century.

I was educated at the University of Warwick (BA (Hons) in English and American Literature 1987), Birkbeck College, London (MA in Gender, Culture and Society 1993), and the University of Westminster (PhD in English Literature 2000).

I am the Head of the Graduate School.

My present research interests include modernism, the contemporary small press, the publishing of women writers in the 1950s and 1960s.

Over the last few years my work has concentrated on four main areas, modernism, occult and supernatural beliefs in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, literary publishing, and contemporary fiction. My monograph, Modernism and Magic: Experiments with Spiritualism, Theosophy and the Occult (EUP, 2013; paperback 2015) brings together the first two in arguing that, for experimental artists in the early twentieth century, magic played a crucial role. I have also co-edited a two-volume Selected Works of Andrew Lang (with Alex Warwick and Andrew Teverson, 2015). The Selected Works has been shortlisted for the Katharine Briggs Folklore Award 2015. Lang was an important figure at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries whose work has since been neglected. My work on the Selected Works aims to show the significance of his attempt to use both scientific and supernatural models to understand a range of issues. At the same time, I have been developing my work on the contemporary novel through co-editing a series of four edited collections for Bloomsbury to be published through 2014 and 2015, The Decades Series. The volumes in the series are on each decade from the 1970s on, and situate the British novel in the specifics of it historical context at the same time as building up a picture of its most significant formal and generic developments over the period. 

I have recently published articles on the novelist Anna Kavan and on the real, the fictional and the virtual in contemporary writing. My current research focuses on the small press and on the publishing of experimental writing by women in the 1950s and 1960s.

WIth Dr Georgina Colby, I run a project on the Contemporary Small Press which aims to investigate the conditions and possibilities of small press publishing in the UK, and to bring together small presses, writers and readers. See

  • Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture
  • Literary Studies

In brief

Research areas

Modernism, contemporary novel, twentieth century novel and literary publishing

Skills / expertise

Small and independent presses and Publishing

Supervision interests

Modernism; late 19th and early 20th century cultural uses of the occult; the novel in the twentieth century; contemporary fiction and literary publishing