Staff Profiles

Professor Katharine A. Craik

Research Lead and Professor in Early Modern Literature (1500-1750)

School of English and Modern Languages

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Dr Katharine Craik

Phone number: +44 (0)1865 484299


Location: Headington Campus, Tonge Block, T406

Katharine completed her BA, MPhil and PhD at the University of Cambridge, and held lectureships at Worcester College (University of Oxford) and University College London before arriving at Oxford Brookes in 2005. She specialises in Shakespeare and early modern literature, with particular interests in the history of emotion and sensation, textual criticism and editing, and the interface between critical and creative writing.

Katharine is currently working on a study of vividness and artificial life entitled Lifelike Shakespeare (under contract with Oxford University Press). She has published two collections of essays: Shakespeare and Emotion (Cambridge University Press, 2020); and, with Tanya Pollard, Shakespearean Sensations: The Experience of Theatre in Early Modern England (Cambridge University Press, 2013). Her monograph Reading Sensations in Early Modern England (Palgrave, 2007), explored the power of literature to affect readers’ minds, bodies and souls. Her archival work on the sources of Ben Jonson's masques was published in The Cambridge Works of Ben Jonson (Cambridge University Press, 2014). 

Katharine was Principal Investigator on Watching, a project funded by an Arts Award from the Wellcome Trust to explore the Renaissance history of sleep ( A collaboration between academics, scientists, theatre practitioners and schools, Watching culminated in March 2015 with four full-scale promenade performances by twilight of Katharine's new opera on sleep in the landmark Glasshouses of Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden. Watching was profiled on BBC Radio 3 (Free Thinking) and on Radio Scotland (The Culture Show). With Ewan Fernie (Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham), Katharine has developed and co-written Marina, a new play based on Shakespeare's Pericles, which was adopted for Research and Development with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2018.

Katharine writes creatively, and a selection of her poems appeared in The Harvard Review in 2019. Her poetry was longlisted for the National Poetry Prize in 2020, shortlisted for the international Bridport Prize in 2013 and 2014, and for the Dermot Healy Poetry Competition in 2014. With colleagues at Oxford and UEA, she is a commissioning editor of beyond criticism, a new series of books with the independent Boiler House Press which sets out to explore the interface between critical and creative writing: Katharine also has extensive experience as a librettist. An opera based on Wagner’s Das Rheingold, written in collaboration with composer David Knotts, was commissioned by English National Opera to celebrate the opening of the new Clore Studio at the London Coliseum and premiered in a full-scale professional production in April 2004. Katharine has also collaborated with David on operas for the Youth Group at Glyndebourne and London’s W11 Opera. Her opera entitled The Quicken Tree, based on Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene and written in collaboration with composer Dee Isaacs, was performed in Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens in March 2011.

Outside Oxford Brookes, Katharine is Executive Secretary of The Malone Society ( Since its foundation in 1906, the Society’s purpose has been to make more accessible the materials essential for the study of English Renaissance drama.

Katharine is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the AHRC Peer Review College. She has recently examined PhD dissertations at the University of Sydney, the Shakespeare Institute, University College London, the University of Cambridge, the University of St Andrews and Loughborough University. She served from 2016 - 2020 as External Examiner for BA programmes in English at the University of Bristol, and for MA programmes (including Shakespeare and Creativity) at the Shakespeare Institute.