School of English and Drama

Dr Lucinda Newns

Lecturer in World Literature

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8537
Room Number: ArtsOne 3.32A
Office Hours: See QMPlus


Born in London and raised in the United States, I completed my BA at New York University and then returned to the UK for postgraduate study. After completing an MA at the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), I stayed on to undertake a fully-funded PhD at London Metropolitan University. I have previously held posts in Queen Mary’s Department of Comparative Literature and at the University of Manchester. I re-joined Queen Mary’s School of English and Drama in 2019.


At Oxford I taught courses in English literature from 1509 to 1830, including Shakespeare. I have also written a dictionary of literary terms for university and school students, taught in London state schools with The Brilliant Club, and spoken at university outreach events across the country.


Research Interests:

  • Postcolonial and world literatures
  • Migration and diaspora, especially refugees
  • Ecocriticism & environmental humanities
  • Feminist theory
  • Domesticity and the everyday
  • Theories of space and place

Recent and On-Going Research

My monograph, Domestic Intersections in Contemporary Migration Fiction: Homing the Metropole (Routledge, 2020), responds to the need for a more materialist perspective on migration by re-orienting the focus on domesticity and homemaking and away from a celebratory and aestheticized reading of displacement. The book is innovative in two ways: firstly, its readings of canonical and underexplored works of diasporic fiction highlight the role of discourses of domesticity in both supporting and resisting racism and xenophobia, thereby challenging the tendency to view the private sphere as a static, apolitical and uncreative space; secondly, through its intersectional approach which attends to the material importance of home spaces for non-privileged diasporic subjects like women of colour, refugees and queer migrants, such readings problematise the critical suspicion towards home/placement in postcolonial, feminist and queer theory.

My next book project, ‘Migrant Ecologies: Global Literature and Human Dislocation in the Natural World’, brings together divergent approaches from diaspora studies and ecocriticism to read a wide range of world literary and visual texts that speak to the increasing global concern of climate-driven migration. Some of the questions it seeks to answer include: How can literature and other cultural forms help to draw public attention to the risks of environmental displacement? Which mediums and genres are best suited to the task? What is the role of colonialism and neo-colonialism in producing this state of affairs? How are environmental diasporas distinct from other kinds, materially and imaginatively? How do people make sense of the loss of homeland when it becomes uninhabitable or is no longer there at all? And, finally, what are the potential limitations of traditional environmentalism for addressing the ethical questions raised by mass global climate displacement? To answer such questions, I turn to a geographically and generically diverse range of works that illustrate the fractures and convergences between migratory and environmental concerns.



  • Domestic Intersections in Contemporary Migration Fiction: Homing the Metropole (Routledge, forthcoming 2020 [in press])
  • New Directions in Diaspora Studies: Cultural and Literary Approaches. Co-edited with Sarah Ilott and Ana Cristina Mendes, preface by John McLeod. (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018)

Edited Collection

Journal Articles

  • “‘The Sea Cannot be Fenced’: ‘Natural’ and ‘Unnatural’ Borders in Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera and Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide” (in progress).
  • “Re-Negotiating Romantic Genres: Textual Resistance and Muslim Chick Lit.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Special Issue: British Culture after 9/11. 53.2 (June 2018)
  • “Homelessness and the Refugee: De-Valorizing Displacement” in Abdulrazak Gurnah’s By the Sea.” Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 51.5 (Oct 2015).

Chapter in Edited Collection

  • Domesticity and the Nation: Buchi Emecheta’s Migrant Fiction” in Womancing Women: Perspectives on Women's Writing Across Boundaries, Asha Choubey, ed. Book Enclave (2013). pp. 119-140.
  • “Refugees.” in The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies, eds. Sangeeta Ray and Henry Schwarz. (Wiley Online, 2016)
  • “Speaking for Others: Tensions in Post-colonial Studies.” Times Higher Education 17 July 2014.
  • Review of Sex and the Citizen: Interrogating the Caribbean by Faith Smith, ed. Feminist Review 104 (2013).

Other Publications