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School of English and Drama

Dr Nadia Atia, BA MA PhD (QMUL)


Senior Lecturer in World Literature



My research examines Britain’s ever-evolving relationship with Iraq, and the ways in which Iraq and its people are represented in contemporary Iraqi literature available in the UK. I am currently working on a Leverhulme-funded project, which examines representations of home in contemporary Iraqi writing, particularly that which is available in translation.

I have worked at Queen Mary since 2012.

Undergraduate Teaching

I have taught on:

  • ESH285: Postcolonial and Global Literatures
  • ESH6002: Iraqi Literature in English/ English Translation
  • ESH6052: Revolutions: Turbulent Times in Middle Eastern Writing

Postgraduate Teaching

And on the postgraduate module:

  • ESH7067: Reading the Middle East


Research Interests:

  • Iraqi literature, especially in English and English translation
  • Contemporary Middle Eastern writing
  • Queer voices in Middle Eastern Literature and Art
  • The popular and the middlebrow
  • The First World War in the Middle East
  • Marginalised voices of the First World War, particularly women who served in the Middle East and colonial and imperial troops.
  • Britain and Britons in Iraq in the early twentieth century
  • Travel and other life writing

Recent and On-Going Research:

My Leverhulme-funded project, ‘Iraq Re-Imagined: Representations of Home in Diasporic Iraqi Literature’ analyses diasporic Iraqi texts as a distinct body of writing, united by shared experiences of loss and distance from one homeland, but also by the acquisition of new homes and hybrid identities.

With Lindsey Moore (Lancaster), I am also working on a book that explores key themes in contemporary Arab writing (forthcoming, Routledge Global Literature: Twenty-First Century Perspectives). We argue that because part of what defines the contemporary period is a renewed interest in the Middle East and its entanglement with the West, it is imperative that literary critics scrutinise the relationship between contemporary Middle Eastern (specifically Arab) world literatures and global audiences (particularly in English).

My first monograph, World War I in Mesopotamia: The British and the Ottomans in Iraq (IB Tauris, 2016) explores how ideologies of race and empire shaped the ways in which British travellers, archaeologists, servicemen and women from different classes and professional backgrounds interacted with and represented the region now known as Iraq, in the early twentieth-century. I have worked extensively on the life writing of women who served in the Middle East during the First World War. Most, but by no means all, were serving in a medical capacity. My interest in British travellers to Iraq in in the early twentieth century led me to investigate Agatha Christie’s time in Iraq. These interests come together in a co-edited volume Popular Postcolonialisms: Discourses of Empire and Popular Culture (Routledge, 2019), as well as a new chapter to appear in a forthcoming Bloomsbury Companion to Agatha Christie (2022).

Finally, I am co-editing a special issue of the journal Wasafiri with Rehana Ahmed (QMUL). Titled House of Wisdom (forcoming, 2021), it draws on the mythologies surrounding Baghdad’s famed medieval library to consider cultures of the book, textuality and script[ure] in Islamicate societies around the globe.



  • Popular Postcolonialisms Discourses of Empire and Popular Culture . Routledge Research in Postcolonial Literatures (2018)
  • World War I in Mesopotamia: The British and the Ottomans in Iraq (IB Tauris, 2016)

Articles and Chapters

  • ‘Queering the Arab Spring: Belonging in Saleem Haddad’s Guapa’ in ‘Queer Worlds/ Global Queer’ a special issue of Wasafiri Dean Atta and Andrew Vandervlies vol. 98, Summer 2019.
  • Death and Mourning in Contemporary Iraqi Texts’, Interventions (April 2019)
  • ‘The Figure of the Refugee in Hassan Blasim’s “The Reality and the Record.”’ Journal of Commonwealth Literature (2017)
  • 'Fictional Depictions of Nursing in the Middle East'Journal of War and Culture Studies(July 2017)
  • 'First World War Nursing Narratives in the Middle East'. Landscapes and Voices of the Great War, Editors: Smith, A, Cowman, K, Routledge (London and NY, 2017)
  • ‘A Wartime Tourist Trail: Mesopotamia in the British Imagination, 1914-1918’, in Travel in Anatolia, the Ottoman Empire and Republic of Turkey, a special issue of Studies in Travel Writing, 4, ed. by Donna Landry and Gerald MacLean (2012), 1-12
  • Review Essay: ‘Mesopotamian Myths’, History Workshop Journal, 71 (2011), 247-252
  • Co-editor (with Jeremy Davies) and contributor to ‘Nostalgia and the Shapes of History’, a special issue of the SAGE journal Memory Studies, 3 (2012)
  • ‘A relic of its own past: Mesopotamia in the British imagination 1900-14’, Memory Studies, 3 (2010), 232-241 

See also my Queen Mary Research Publications profile


I would welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students interested in any of the areas of my research.