My research, consultancy, teaching and pedagogical projects all have communication and storytelling at their core.
I teach, research and publish in the areas of stylistics, narratology, world literature and cognitive poetics, with a specialism in deixis and deictic shifting. I also teach performance poetry, flash fiction, short stories and twentieth and twenty-first century literature more broadly. Most recently, I have been developing modules which bring together literature and sustainability, and English studies and entrepreneurship.
I also research the language of charity fundraising communications, with a focus on attention, absorption, empathy and authenticity. I am currently writing a research monograph on these areas and working on some related empirical projects.
I am also interested in student skills literacy, employability and enterprise within HE English, and run several projects on these issues. For example, from 2017-2021 I led the Oxford Brookes Student Research Launch Pad, a university-wide project which supports undergraduate and post-graduate taught students in sharing and publishing their research. With Dr. Shirley Shipman I co-run the Humanities and Social Sciences Assessment and Skills project, which supports staff in developing assessment formats and related teaching, to help enhance students' skills development and skills literacy.
I also co-lead the Integrating English project (www.integratingenglish.com), promoting stylistics and its place in English education. I have worked with the AQA in developing aspects of the Language and Literature A level specification and in producing teaching and learning resources for teachers and students.
Teaching and supervision
- Previously: Nation and Identity
- Can Literature Help Save the World? Literature and the UN Sustainable Development Goals
- Advanced Stylistics
- The Culture of Modernity
- World Literatures
- Professional Practice
- Dissertation supervision
- Previously: Skills and Creative Strategies for English Studies, Approaching Poetry, Narrative and Narratology, Twentieth Century Writing, Interpretation: Cognitive Poetics, Narratological Stylistics
- Twentieth Century Texts
- MA Dissertation
- Key Concepts and Methods for Research
I have supervised MA dissertations and MA by Research projects in metafiction, adaptation, fanfiction and performance poetry, and have supervised and examined MPhils on 21st century fiction.
My most recent publication is Discourse Deixis in Metafiction: The Language of Metanarration, Metalepsis and Disnarration (Routledge, 2019).
I co-edited Pronouns in Literature: Positions and Perspectives in Language (Palgrave, 2018)
Selected further publications are listed below.
Journal articles include:
- ‘Small stories in charity fundraising letters and the ethics of interwoven individualism’, Poetics Today (forthcoming).
- ‘Making and unmaking meaning in Alejandro Zambra’s Multiple Choice’, English Studies (2022) https://doi.org/10.1080/0013838X.2022.2043034
- 'Imagining differently: Relationships between reading and gaming habits, mental imagery construction, and perspective-taking when processing a fictional narrative scene', Anglistik 31.1 (2020): 155-181. https://doi.org/10.33675/ANGL/2020/1/11
- 'You and I, past and present: Cognitive processing of perspective', Diegesis 5.1 (2016): Empirical Approaches to Narrative.
- ‘Enhancing the critical apparatus for understanding metanarration: Discourse deixis refined’, Journal of Literary Semantics 39.2 (2010), 119-142. https://doi.org/10.1515/jlse.2010.007
Book chapters include:
- ‘Social deixis in literature’, in Sorlin, S. (ed), Stylistic Manipulation of the Reader in Contemporary Fiction (Bloomsbury, 2019), 50-69.
- ‘Discourse analysis’, in The Oxford Encyclopaedia of Literary Theory (Oxford University Press, 2019)
- ‘Positioning the reader in post-Apartheid literature of trauma: 'I' and 'you' in Zoë Wicomb's David's Story’, in Gibbons A. and Macrae A. (eds), Pronouns in Literature: Perspectives and Positions in Language (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), 55-74.
- ‘Stylistics’, in Clayton, D. and Giovanelli, M. (eds), Knowing about Language (Routledge, 2016)
- ‘'You' and 'I' in charity fundraising appeals’, in Gardelle L. and Sorlin S. (eds), The Pragmatics of Personal Pronouns (John Benjamins, 2015), 105-124.
- ‘Literary Narrative’, in Jones, R.H. (ed), The Routledge Handbook of Language and Creativity (Routledge, 2015), 248-263.
- ‘Stylistics, Drama and Performance’, in Burke, M. (ed), The Routledge Handbook of Stylistics (Routledge, 2014), 253-267.
Other publications include:
- Employability: A Review of the Literature, 2016-2021, co-authored with Roger Dalrymple, Maia Pal and Shirley Shipman (Advance HE, 2021)
- 'The use and misuse of Language', in The Commission on the Donor Experience report (2017).
- English Language and Literature A/AS Level for AQA Student Book, co-authored with Marcello Giovanelli, Felicity Titjen and Ian Cushing (Cambridge University Press, 2015)
Research group membership
- Sustainable and Resilient Futures Network
- Oxford Brookes Language and Discourse (OBLaDi) research group
- London Stylistics Circle
- Poetics and Linguistics Association
- International Society for the Study of Narrative
- European Narratology Network
Research grants and awards
Internal funding awarded (listing only funding over £1000):
- £3000, 2021, School of English and Modern Languages Research Impact Funding
- £6199, 2020, School of English and Modern Languages Research Funding Scheme, to fund a study investigating linguistic triggers of trust and distrust in charity fundraising letters. Outputs include two journal articles and a trade magazine article (in progress).
- £9000, 2012, Faculty Research Award, to fund a project on perspective-taking in literary reading, outputs of which included two journal articles: ‘Imagining differently: Relationships between reading and gaming habits, mental imagery construction, and perspective-taking when processing a fictional narrative scene’, Anglistik: International Journal of English Studies 31 (1) (2020), 155-181, and ‘You and I, past and present: Cognitive processing of perspective’, Diegesis 5 (1) (2016), 64-80.
External funding awarded:
- £7478, 2021, Principal Investigator, Enterprise Educators UK Research Project Fund, external collaboration (with two Co-Investigators from the University of Birmingham, Dr. Mircea Scrob and Helen Hook), ‘Increasing Engagement with Enterprise Education in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences’.
- £4021, 2021, Co-Investigator, Advance HE, internal collaboration (with Dr. Roger Dalrymple as Principal Investigator and Dr. Shirley Shipman and Dr. Maïa Pal as Co-Investigators, all in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences), ‘Advance HE Employability: A Review of the Literature, 2016-2021’ the output of which, the 113-page review, was published in September 2021, alongside a programme of engagement activities including a podcast series and two international workshops.
- £500, 2017, Principal Investigator, ‘Engaging with Government’ AHRC/Institute for Government grant, funding the cost of the three-day training course and associated travel.
- £2,967, 2017, Principal Investigator, BA/Leverhulme Small Grant (SG170798), external collaboration (with two Co-Investigators, Prof. Billy Clark, Northumbria University and Dr. Marcello Giovanello, Aston University), ‘University English Programmes’ Response to the New English A Levels’, resulting in two co-authored articles in peer-reviewed journals - 'Responding to reform: How aware are HE English providers of A level reforms and how have they responded to them?', English in Education 52 (3) (2018), 248-262, and 'English after the post-2015 A level Reforms: HE Prerequisites and Perspectives', Changing English 25 (4) (2018), 384-395 - three conference presentations, and a presentation of the findings to University English.
Centres and institutes
Projects as Principal Investigator, or Lead Academic if project is led by another Institution
- Increasing engagement with entrepreneurship education in the arts, humanities and sciences (01/08/2021 - 30/06/2023), funded by: Enterprise Educators UK, funding amount received by Brookes: £7,478
Macrae A, 'Small Stories in Charity Fundraising Letters and the Ethics of Interwoven Individualism'
Poetics Today: International Journal for Theory and Analysis of Literature and Communication 43 (2) (2022) pp.219-241
ISSN: 0333-5372 eISSN: 1527-5507Abstract Published here
Macrae A, 'Making (and un-making) meaning in Alejandro Zambra's Multiple Choice'
English Studies 103 (3) (2022) pp.447-470
ISSN: 0013-838X eISSN: 1744-4217Abstract Published here
Macrae A, 'Imagining Differently: Relationships between Reading and Gaming Habits, Mental Imagery Construction, and Perspective-Taking When Processing a Fictional Narrative Scene'
Anglistik 31 (1) (2020) pp.155-181
ISSN: 0947-0034Abstract Published here
Giovanelli M, Clark B, Macrae A, 'Responding to reform: How aware are HE English providers of A level reforms and how have they responded to them?'
English in Education 52 (3) (2018) pp.248-262
ISSN: 0425-0494Abstract Published here
Macrae A, Clark B, Giovanelli M, 'English after the post-2015 A level Reforms: HE Prerequisites and Perspectives'
Changing English 25 (4) (2018) pp.384-395
ISSN: 1358-684X eISSN: 1469-3585Abstract Published here
Macrae A, 'You and I, Past and Present: Cognitive Processing of Perspective'
Diegesis: Interdisziplinäres E-Journal für Erzählforschung 5 (1) (2016) pp.64-80
ISSN: 2195-2116Abstract Published here
Clark B, Giovanelli M, Macrae A, 'English: Diverse but unified. Putting texts at the heart of the discipline.'
Teaching English 6 (2014) pp.17-20
ISSN: 2051-7971Published here
Macrae A, 'Enhancing the critical apparatus for understanding metanarration: discourse deixis refined'
Journal of Literary Semantics 39 (2) (2010) pp.119-142
ISSN: 0341-7638Abstract Published here
Memberships of professional bodies
- QAA English Subject Benchmark Statement advisory group member (2022)
- Member of the Higher Education Committee of hte English Association (2019 to present)
- Previously, Expert Panel member for AQA English Language and Literature (2014-2016)
- Guest lecture, ‘Deixis from Weetabix to Winnie-the-Pooh’, Sheffield Hallam University (7 February 2020)
- Invited keynote speaker: 'Graffiti as Storytelling', What the Plot conference, Munich, Germany (6 Sept 2019)
- 'The textual geopolitics of Brigid Brophy’s In Transit (1969) and Steve Katz’s The Exagggerations [sic] of Peter Prince (1968)’, International Association of Literary Semantics conference, University of Reykjavik, Iceland (15-17 April 2019)
- 'Social deixis in literature', Poetics and Linguistics Association annual conference, Birmingham University, UK (25-28 July 2018)
- 'Empathetic / social / relational deixis: What does it do and how does it do it?' Manipulating the Reader in Fiction conference, Aix-en-Provence, France (28 April 2017)
- Guest research paper: 'Positioning the Reader in Post-Apartheid Literature of Trauma: I and you in Zoë Wicomb's David's Story', University of Leicester, UK (7 March 2017)
- Guest lecture, ‘Stepping into The Hundred Acre Wood: A deictic shift theory account of the opening of A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh.’ Middlesex University, London, UK (10 March 2015)
- ‘Reading too much into it? Flash fiction and relevance theory.’ International Association of Literary Semantics bi-annual conference, University of Kent, UK (3-5 July 2014)
- ‘Teaching narrative, genre and point of view.’ Integrating English 2014, University of Nottingham (19 June 2014)
- ‘Cognitive processing of perspective in fiction.’ Cognitive Futures in the Humanities annual conference, Durham University, UK, (24-26 April 2014)
- ‘The ethics of ‘You’.’ International Society for the Study of Narrative, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK (27-29 June 2013)
- Guest lecture, ‘Deictic shifting in literature: Experimental analysis.’ University of Westminster, London, UK (10 Oct 2012)
- ‘Towards a stylistics of performance poetry’, Poetics and Linguistics Association annual conference, University of Malta (16-18 July 2012)
- ‘Shifting through pronouns: An empirical investigation into deictic shifting in literature’, UK Cognitive Linguistics Association annual conference, Kings College, London, UK (10-12 July 2012)
- ‘Deictic shifting to and through I, you, he and she: Priming, Prominence, and a pilot study.’ International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature conference, University of Utrecht, Netherlands (7-11 July 2010)
- ‘Readerly deictic shifting to and through I and you: An updated hypothesis.’ Cognitive Poetics and Rhetoric conference, University of Lodz, Poland (18-22 January 2010)
- ‘Enhancing the critical apparatus for understanding metanarration: Discourse deixis refined.’ International Society for the Study of Narrative annual conference, University of Birmingham, UK (4-6 June 2009)
- ‘Constructing 1867 in 2008, through 1969 and with a little help from 1685: Reading The French Lieutenant’s Woman.’ Poetics and Linguistics Association annual conference, University of Sheffield, UK (23-26 July 2008)
- ‘Writing Dulcie in the dawn of the New South Africa: Narrative dynamics and discursive responsibility in Zoë Wicomb’s David’s Story.’ International Society for the Study of Narrative annual conference, University of Texas, Texas (1-4 May 2008)
- ‘How far have we come? A cognitive poetic study of interdiegetic deixis in John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman.’ Society for the Study of Narrative Literature annual conference, Georgetown University, Washington D.C. (15-18 March 2007)
- ‘Why cognitive poetics can’t do metafiction (yet).’ Poetics and Linguistics Association annual conference, University of Joensuu, Finland (26-29 July 2006)
- ‘To paint a water lily.’ Constructing Worlds Through Language conference, University of Sfax, Tunisia (29-30 April 2005)
The Language of Charity Fundraising Communications
- ‘Language and trust in charity fundraising letters’, Applied Stylistics symposium, Aston University (6-7 April 2021)
- ‘Testing, testing … one, two, … see?’, Institute of Fundraising convention, London, UK (3-5 July 2017)
- ‘Persuasive language: Writing words that work’, Psychology of Communications CharityComms conference, London, UK (29 May 2017)
- 'Changing streets into stories: A multimodal critical discourse analysis of the graffiti appeals of the homeless charity Depaul UK', International Association of Literary Semantics conference, University of Huddersfield, UK (10-12 April 2017)
- 'Anxieties of inauthenticity in charity fundraising communications', Poetics and Linguistics Association conference, Sardinia (July 2016)
- Panel member for 'Commission on the Donor Experience' workshop, Institute of Fundraising convention, London, UK (6 July 2016)
- Panel member for 'How do we create amazing supporter experiences?' workshop at Audience Strategy: Understanding and connecting with stakeholders, CharityComms conference (26 May 2016)
- 'Be a hero!' Givers vs. helpers in charity ads', Poetics and Linguistics Association conference, University of Kent, UK (July 2015)
- ‘Pronouns and related deictic positioning in charity advertisements: A cognitive poetic account of rhetorical effects.’ Rhetoric in Society III conference, Lessuis University, Belgium (26-28 January 2011)
- Guest talk,'Insights and reflections on 'Employability: A review of the literature, 2016-2021'', University of Winchester (26 Jan 2022)
- Guest talk, 'Employability: A review of the literature, 2016-2021' report launch webinar, Advance HE (14 Oct 2021)
- ‘A cross-disciplinary humanities and social sciences entrepreneurship module: what we did and what we’ve learned. Advance HE Virtual Employability Symposium (22 April 2021)
- 'Creating accessible materials', Action on Teaching University English Online (03 July 2020)
- 'Entrepreneurship in English Literature', Action on Employability in HE English conference, Northumbria University, UK (16 Sept 2019)
- 'Designing a 'Literary Enterprise' module for English Literature students', IEEC Enterprise Educators UK conference, Oxford Brookes University, UK (4 Sept 2019)
- 'A new tool for diversifying assessment and extracting employability', Oxford Brookes Learning and Teaching Conference, Oxford Brookes University, UK (13 June 2019)
- Invited keynote: 'Connectivity and collectivity in the space/face/race of adversity/diversity/the university/academy', Networks and Connections Exclamation conference, University of Exeter, UK (13 June 2018)
- ‘Sharing pedagogies’, English: Shared Futures conference, Newcastle, UK (5-7 July 2017)
- ‘What do we do when we analyse texts?’ English: Shared Futures conference, Newcastle, UK (5-7 July 2017)
- Guest lecture: 'Masterclass in Close Reading', University of Oxford Forum for English, Drama and Media, Oxford, UK (24 April 2017)
- 'Integrating English: Two outreach case studies', Academics in the Classroom conference, Oxford University, UK (16 August 2016)
- 'Teaching Language', New Aspects of A Level English, English Association conference, London, UK (3 Oct 2015)
- 'What do we do when we do close reading?', with Billy Clark (Middlesex University) and Marcello Giovanelli (Aston University), National Association for the Teaching of English conference, Newcastle, UK (June 2015)
- 'Rethinking English: Impact on A levels and teaching', with Billy Clark (Middlesex University) and Marcello Giovanelli (Aston University), iMean conference, University of Warwick (April 2015)
- ‘A pedagogical pitch for undergraduate interdisciplinary stylistics.’ Stylistics Across Disciplines conference, Leiden University, Netherlands (15-17 June 2011)
- ‘Flash fiction and textual intervention as narratological teaching tools.’ Teaching Narrative and Teaching Through Narrative conference, University of Tampere, Finland (26-28 May 2011)
I was the project lead for 'The use and misuse of language' project for the Commission on the Donor Experience, and have worked as a brand identity and/or communications consultant for various small businesses.
- www.integratingenglish.com - the website of a collaborative project, with Prof Billy Clark and Dr Marcello Giovanelli, including the undergraduate journal Mesh and the Lang-Lit Lab, a blog written for A level English teachers
- www.whatthestudiessay.com - a website for people who work in charity communications, summarising useful academic research
- www.everydaydeixis.com - a little web intro to deixis
Podcast 'Student Success: Entrepreneurship and work-integrated learning', from four part podcast series sharing insights from 'Employability: A Review of the literature, 2016-2021' (Advance HE, 2021): https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/student-success-entrepreneurship-and-work-integrated-learning