Professor Daniel Lea

BA (Hons); PhD; SFHEA

Professor of Contemporary Literature

School of Education, Humanities and Languages


Dan completed his PhD, J.G. Farrell: Towards a Postmodern Fiction at Royal Holloway College, University of London in 1996. After taking up posts at Kingston University and Liverpool John Moores University, he joined Brookes in 2002 as a specialist in contemporary writing. He teaches in all aspects of Twentieth and Twenty-First Century literature and convenes the Contemporary Literature and Dissertation modules. He has published widely in the area of post-1945 British writing and is general editor of the Contemporary British Novelists series (published by Manchester University Press).

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught


  • Contemporary Literature (Synoptic Module)
  • Dissertation Module


  • Modern and Contemporary Fiction: Madness, Psychoanalysis and Writing
  • Supervisor for MA dissertations on Twentieth and Twenty-First Century literature and culture.


Dan would be interested in supervising MA and PhD projects on post-1945 British prose; George Orwell, Graham Swift, W.G. Sebald, British fiction 1980-2010, the cultural politics of madness and mental health, literary representations of cancer, twenty-first century and the experience of liquid modernity. 

He has successfully supervised the following PhDs as Director of Studies or Second Supervisor:

  • Anja Tschortner, ldyll and Ideology: A Comparative Study of English and German Popular Fiction for Girls, 1888-1919 (2019)
  • Jamie Thorogood, Feeding the Hunger of History: Society and Politics in Dylan Thomas’ Prose and Dramatic Works (2018)
  • Lucy Clarke, Marilynne Robinson’s Fiction and the Re-Imagining of Grief (2016)
  • Alice Nuttall, Fur, Fangs and Feather: Colonial and Counter-colonial Portrayals of American Indians in Young Adult Fantasy Literature, (2014)
  • Morag Joss, From Whodunnits to Literary Fiction: The Charting of an Author’s Transition From Crime Writer to Literary Novelist (PhD by publication, 2013)
  • Antonia Mackay, City, Suburban and Pastoral Spaces and the Formation of Identity in Cold War America (1945–1965) (2012)
  • George Simmers, Military Fictions: Stories about Soldiers, 1914-1930 (2009)
  • Caroline Kanerick, Riding The Tosh Horse: Re-Evaluating Best-Seller Popular Fiction 1895–1920 (2006)

Research Students

Name Thesis title Completed
Megan Burns Glasgow’s Red Clydeside and the Politics of Poetry Active
Chris Griffiths Authenticity in the work of W G Sebald and Bruce Chatwin Active


Dan Lea is Professor of Contemporary Literature. He teaches and researches primarily on post-1980 writing and is currently writing a book on authencity in 21st century literature. 

Follow Dan's research at

Dan’s principal research interests are:

  • Contemporary British fiction
  • George Orwell
  • Writings of and about madness
  • Conceptualisations of the authentic
  • The therapeutic uses of literature
  • Cancer and the male body

Research projects

At the moment he is writing a book on the experience of the authentic in 21st century literature and culture.



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Further details

He has been an External Examiner at Brunel University, Coventry University, the University of East London, and the University of Reading, and has been involved with numerous quality and periodic events at Brookes and other UK higher education institutions.