School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Dr Ben Holgate, MA (Research), MCom (Sydney), DPhil (Oxon)


Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

Room Number: Graduate Centre 607
Office Hours: Semester 1: Tuesdays, 3pm to 4pm, Graduate Centre 203


I joined QMUL’s Department of Comparative Literature in September 2018 as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. Previously, I was an Associate Lecturer in the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York. My Leverhulme research project is interdisciplinary, combining literary criticism and economics. It investigates how contemporary world literature critiques the nature of money in the digital age and ways in which ‘virtual’ finance has fundamentally transformed modern life and culture. I am teaching a module based on my research titled “Cybercapitalism and Literature” (COM 6207) in first semester 2019-20.


My monograph, Climate and Crises: Magical Realism as Environmental Discourse, was published by Routledge in early 2019. Click here to read more about it. The book makes a dual intervention in both world literature and ecocriticism by examining magical realism as an international style of writing that has long-standing links with environmental literature. I argue that, in the era of climate change when humans are facing the prospect of species extinction, new ideas and new forms of expression are required to address what the novelist Amitav Gosh calls a “crisis of imagination.” The book also challenges conventional conceptions of magical realism, contending they are often influenced by a geographic bias in the construction of the orthodox global canon, and instead examines contemporary fiction from Asia (including China) and Australasia, two regions that have been largely neglected by scholarship of the narrative mode. I am teaching a module titled “Expanding Boundaries: Re-thinking Magical Realism” (COM 5211) in second semester 2019-20.


I have a background in both media and finance. Initially, I worked as a newspaper journalist (including for The Australian and The Australian Financial Review), and as an executive producer of factual television for News Corp in Australia. Subsequently, I worked for investment banks Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch as an equities research analyst covering the media industry.  


I hold a Doctor of Philosophy in English from the University of Oxford, as well as a Master of Arts (Research) and a Master of Commerce (finance major) from the University of Sydney. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Research Interests:

World literature, contemporary Chinese literature, contemporary Anglophone literature, magical realism, ecocriticism, economics, digital humanities, postcolonial studies, critical theory.


Climate and Crises: Magical Realism as Environmental Discourse. London and New York: Routledge, 2019
Book Chapters
“The Fear of Solitude: How Marketing Makes Real Magic.” In The Global Histories of Books: Methodologies and Practices. Edited by Elleke Boehmer, Rouven Kunstmann, Priyasha Mukhopadhyay and Asha Rogers, 297-317. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.
“Greening a Narrative Mode: Antipodean Magical Realism and Ecocriticism in Richard Flanagan’s Fiction.” In Richard Flanagan: Critical Essays. Edited by Robert Dixon, 43-58. Sydney: Sydney University Press, 2018.
“The Calcutta Chromosome in a Magical Realism Course.” In Approaches to Teaching the Works of Amitav Ghosh. Edited by Gaurav Desai and John Hawley, 160-65. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2019.
“Magical Realism in East Asia.” In Magical Realism and Literature. Edited by Christopher Warnes and Kim Anderson Sasser. Cambridge University Press (forthcoming).
Journal Articles
“Intersecting Imperialisms: The Rise and Fall of Empires in Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North.” Journal of World Literature 4.3 (2019): 437-457.
“Developing Magical Realism’s Irony in Gould’s Book of Fish.” JASAL (Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature) 14.5 (2014). Online.
“Unsettling Narratives: Re-evaluating Magical Realism as Postcolonial Discourse through Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria and The Swan Book.” Journal of Postcolonial Writing 51.6 (2015): 634-647.