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Sarah Ilott

01642 384025
Job title:
Research Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in English Studies
School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law
Social Sciences, Humanities & Law research

About Sarah Ilott

Sarah Ilott

Sarah Ilott
Research Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in English Studies, School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law
T: 01642 384025
Research: Social Sciences, Humanities & Law research

Dr Sarah Ilott joined the School of Arts and Media as Lecturer in English Studies in September 2014. She previously taught at Lancaster University (2009-14) and the University of Birmingham (2013) and she was employed as a research assistant for the AHRC-funded ‘Moving Manchester/Mediating Marginalities’ project at Lancaster University (2010-2013), a project that focused on how experiences of migration have shaped Manchester writing over the last 50 years. 

Sarah completed her BA (Hons) degree in English Literature, her MA in Contemporary Literature and her PhD in English Literature at Lancaster University.  Her PhD focussed on postcolonial British genre fiction since The Satanic Verses, considering the way that notions of Britishness are challenged and rewritten in genre fiction that operates on the borders of mainstream literary fiction in terms of both marketability and critical attention.  She has published articles in The Journal of Postcolonial Writing and Postcolonial Text and she has forthcoming book chapters in edited collections on Popular Postcolonialism and History on Screen.

Sarah’s research and teaching interests focus on postcolonial studies and genre fiction (particularly comedy and the Gothic), contemporary British literature, film and television.  She is module leader for Authors and Authorship, Postcolonial Writing and English and the Real World and also teaches Making and Remaking the Novel and supervises final year dissertations.

Sarah is the membership secretary for the Postcolonial Studies Association. She was on the conference committee for her MA conference ‘Intersections’ at Lancaster University (2009), and she is currently the co-organiser (with Chloe Buckley) of a symposium on British Nigerian author Helen Oyeyemi.

Research interests

Sarah specialises in postcolonial British literature, film and television, specifically in relation to genres such as comedy and the Gothic. She is also interested in postcolonial writing more broadly, and has published articles on Indian and Pakistani literature.

Sarah is currently working on two book projects.  The first is on New Postcolonial British Genres, in which she identifies and explores four new genres that have evolved to suit the changing face of postcolonial Britain over the last two decades.  Her main focus is on the way that notions of Britishness are challenged and rewritten in genre fiction that operates on the borders of mainstream literary fiction in terms of both marketability and critical attention.  She aims to illustrate ways in which the new genres identified simultaneously challenge and reinscribe both national and generic borders by opening up to postcolonial topics, authors and contexts.  She considers the British Muslim Bildungsroman, Postcolonial English Gothic, Multicultural Comedy and the Urban Novel as four genres that interrogate both their generic forebears and traditions and the representations of Britishness that they are generically bound/designed to perpetuate.

Building on her interest in comedy, her second book project is on British Multiculturalism and Comedy: Producing Multicultural Britain on the Screen, 1979—Present. This project situates postcolonial British comedy in its socio-political climate, drawing attention to the links between comedy and political zeitgeist as the social dominant shifts according to government and international affairs. She argues that although postcolonial comedy started out by seeking to challenge the residual stereotypes and hierarchies of the colonial era it has evolved to address neo-colonial concerns and new yet associated modes of exclusion based on prejudices linked to class and religion. This project importantly challenges the frequent sidelining of discussions of both Britain and comedy from postcolonial criticism, and seeks to redress what is largely a neglected area of study.

Her recent publications include articles on the role of the reader in Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 2014), new representations of subalternity in Raj Kamal Jha’s Fireproof (Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 2014) and a new wave of postcolonial British comedy on film (Postcolonial Text, 2013). She has forthcoming book chapters on subcultural urban fiction and the market for multiculturalism for an edited collection on Popular Postcolonialisms and on screening multicultural Britain for a book aimed at undergraduate history students on ways of using film and television as historical source.

Sarah also has research interests in the Gothic and she has delivered two public lectures on Gothic film as part of the BFI’s Gothic programme at the Dukes cinema, Lancaster.  Arising from her particular interest in postcolonial Gothic, she is currently working with Chloe Buckley (Lancaster) on an edited collection on British Nigerian author Helen Oyeyemi, whose novels are of increasing interest to researchers into postcolonialism, Gothic, feminism and postmodernism.

Sarah welcomes further enquiries about multicultural comedy, postcolonial Gothic, or any other areas of her research and teaching.


“Fragmenting and becoming double”: Supplementary twins and abject bodies in Helen Oyeyemi’s The Icarus Girl’, Journal of Commonwealth Literature. (Published online, January2015) Co-authored with Chloe Buckley.

“We are here to speak the unspeakable”: Voicing abjection in Raj Kamal Jha’s Fireproof’.” Journal of Postcolonial Writing.  (Published online, February 2014)

“Generic frameworks and active readership in The Reluctant Fundamentalist.” Journal of Postcolonial Writing. 50:5 (2014) 571-583.

“We are the martyrs, you’re just squashed tomatoes!” Laughing through the Fears in Postcolonial British Comedy: Chris Morris’s Four Lions and Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block.” Postcolonial Text. 8:2 (2013)

In the news

  • Comedy Conference
    BBC Radio Tees; 13/09/2016
    Sarah Ilott talks about the Comedy Conferenc.e

  • Helping to shape the English syllabus of four North West schools.
    Lancaster University, online, 3/02/2015
    Course materials produced by Dr Sarah Ilott, from Teesside University, are being used to expand the English syllabuses of four schools.

  • Postcolonial Manchester: Diaspora Space and the Devolution of Literary Culture
    Times Higher Education, online, 06/02/2014
    Book review.