Professor Sara Upstone


I am Professor of Contemporary Literature and Faculty Director of Postgraduate Research. I coordinate the provision of and have overall management responsibility for PhD and research MA programmes across Kingston School of Art. I am also currently the Faculty Athena Swan Lead, and a member of the Faculty EDI Committee. 

I teach across creative writing, English literature, and film studies, and accept proposals for PhD research in these areas. I welcome all proposals, but as a disabled scholar with a working class background I am very keen to offer project development support to groups who are underrepresented in academia. Please get in touch if I can help. 

I've worked at Kingston since 2005, and before being Faculty Director of PGR was Head of the School of Arts, Culture and Communication, Head of Department of Humanities, and a School Director of Learning and Teaching.

Academic responsibilities

Faculty Director of Postgraduate Research and Professor of Contemporary Literature


  • PhD English Literature
  • MA English Literary Research
  • BA English Literature with History
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (PGCLTHE)

Teaching and learning

Postgraduate courses taught


My research focuses on the politics of form in contemporary literature and its relationship to questions of identity, with a particular focus on race, spatial justice, and community. My previous work has examined how literary genres and subjectivities intersect, in particular through a focus on utopian realism and its relationship to the British novel's representation of race, magical realism and postcolonial fiction, and spatial justice in contemporary reworkings of fairy-tale. I am currently researching the 'transglossic' form of the contemporary novel, arguing that its potential to speak across different subject positions works in the service of a radical empathy. This project aims, in particular, to question the ongoing dominance of concepts of 'post-postmodernisms' in contemporary literary criticism. I am also exploring these ideas through creative writing practice, focused on forms of autotheory and lyrical nonfiction. 

My personal website can be found at

Areas of specialism

  • Contemporary Literature
  • Creative nonfiction
  • Creative fiction
  • Genre
  • Race Studies

Scholarly affiliations

  • Literary London Society Committee

Research student supervision

Main supervision

Other supervision


Number of items: 44.


Shaw, Kristian and Upstone, Sara (2021) The transglossic : contemporary fiction and the limitations of the modern. English Studies, 102(5), pp. 573-600. ISSN (print) 0013-838X

Upstone, Sara (2018) Some interventions in the question of living. Versopolis,

Upstone, Sara (2016) Beyond the bedroom : Motherhood in E. L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Frontiers : a Journal of Women Studies, 37(2), pp. 138-164. ISSN (print) 0160-9009

Upstone, Sara (2015) You never let me leave. Bloodstone Review, 1(1), pp. 36-40.

Agnew, Eadaoin, Alliez, Eric, Auerbach, Paul, Blackburn, Robert, Botting, Fred, Brady, Mary, Caygill, Howard, Chadwick, Howard, Chanter, Tina, Choat, Simon, Chu, Jonathan, Cinpoes, Radu, Coultas, Valerie, Dines, Martin, Dixon, Paul, Favretto, Ilaria, Finn, Peter, Giaxoglou, Korina, Goldsmith, Carlie, Hallward, Peter, Hawkins, Sue, Haywood, Peter, Higginbottom, Andrew, Ichijo, Atsuko, Isaac, Marina, Jensen, Meg, Kayyali, Reem, Kettyle, Ann, Lambrou, Marina, Latimer, Amanda, Linton, Marisa, Lipsedge, Karen, Malabou, Catherine, O Maoilearca, John, McQuillan, Martin, Micklethwaite, Paul, Morgan Wortham, Simon, O'Brien, Catherine, Osborne, Peter, Pinnock, Winsome, Piper, Jason, Ponto, Maria, Raphael, Sam, Reid, Trish, Roberts, Mike, Rogers, David, Sandford, Stella, Searby, Michael, Siddiki, Jalal Uddin, Smart, Jackie, Spencer, Philip, Stockhammer, Engelbert, Stuart, John, Suess, Eleanor, Swift, Allan, Upstone, Sara, Vallee-Tourangeau, Frederic, Wells, Julian and Wilson, Scott (2014) Education should be a right for all. The Guardian,

Upstone, Sara (2009) You are what you eat : postcolonial eating in the novels of Salman Rushdie. South Asian Review, 30(2), pp. 119-135. ISSN (print) 0275-9527

Upstone, Sara (2007) "Same old, same old": Zadie Smith's 'White teeth' and Monica Ali's 'Brick Lane'. Journal of postcolonial writing, 43(3), pp. 336-349. ISSN (print) 1744-9855

Upstone, Sara (2007) Domesticity in magical-realist postcolonial fiction: reversals of representation in Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children. Frontiers, 28(1 & 2), pp. 260-284. ISSN (print) 0160-9009

Upstone, Sara (2006) The fulcrum of instabilty: Salman Rushdie's The Ground Beneath her Feet and the postcolonial traveller. Wasafiri, 21(1), pp. 34-38. ISSN (print) 0269-0055

Upstone, Sara (2004) Anancy as trickster: magical space in the fiction of Wilson Harris. World Literature Written in English, 40(2), pp. 23-39. ISSN (print) 0093-1705

Upstone, Sara (2004) Writing the post-colonial space: Ben Okri's magical city and the subversion of imperialism. Partial Answers: Journal of literature and the history of ideas, 2(2), pp. 139-159. ISSN (print) 1565-3668

Upstone, Sara (2003) Toni Morrison and the magical re-visioning of space. U.S. Studies Online: The BAAS Postgraduate Journal, 3, ISSN (online) 1472-9091

Upstone, Sara (2002) Applicability and truth in The hobbit, The lord of the rings, and The silmarillion: readers, fantasy, and canonicity. Mythlore, 23(4), pp. 50-66. ISSN (print) 0146-9339

Dailey, Sara (2001) Book review of 'Conversations with Salman Rushdie' by Michael R. Reder. ARIEL, 32(4), pp. 258-259. ISSN (print) 0004-1327


Upstone, Sara (2017) Literary theory: a complete introduction. London, U.K. : Teach Yourself. 304p. ISBN 9781473611924

Upstone, Sara (2017) Rethinking race and identity in contemporary British fiction. New York, U.S. : Routledge. 204p. (Routledge studies in contemporary literature, 16) ISBN 9780415729192

Platt, Len and Upstone, Sara, eds. (2015) Postmodern literature and race. New York, U.S.A. : Cambridge University Press. 301p. ISBN 9781107042483

Murray, Lesley and Upstone, Sara, eds. (2014) Researching and representing mobilities: transdisciplinary encounters. Basingstoke, U.K. : Palgrave Macmillan. 236p. ISBN 9781137346650

Teverson, Andrew and Upstone, Sara, eds. (2011) Postcolonial spaces: the politics of place in contemporary culture. Basingstoke, U.K. : Palgrave Macmilan. 208p. ISBN 9780230252257

Upstone, Sara (2010) British Asian fiction: twenty-first-century voices. Manchester, U.K. : Manchester University Press. 247p. ISBN 9780719078330

Upstone, Sara (2009) Spatial politics in the postcolonial novel. Farnham, U.K. : Ashgate. 216p. ISBN 9780754665526

Book Section

Upstone, Sara (2023) ‘An inevitable course’ Political responsibility in 'The Remains of the Day'. In: Shaw, Kristian and Sloane, Peter, (eds.) Kazuo Ishiguro. Manchester, U.K. : Manchester University Press. (Twenty-First Century Perspectives) ISBN 9781526157539

Upstone, Sara (2021) Spaces : the magically real spaces of twentieth- and twenty-first-century fairy tale. In: Teverson, Andrew, (ed.) A cultural history of fairy tales in the modern age. London, U.K. : Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 137-158. (Cultural Histories Series) ISBN 9781350095717

Upstone, Sara (2020) Post-ethnicity and the politics of positionality. In: Nasta, Sushelia and Stein, Mark U., (eds.) The Cambridge history of Black and Asian British writing. Cambridge, U.K. : Cambridge University Press. pp. 650-662. ISBN 9781107195448

Upstone, Sara (2019) Black British literature. In: O'Gorman, Daniel and Eaglestone, Robert, (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Twenty-First Century Literary Fiction. Abingdon, U.K. : Routledge. (Routledge Literature Companions) ISBN 9780415716048

Upstone, Sara (2016) The 'post' in 'postcolonial'. In: McHale, Brian and Platt, Len, (eds.) The Cambridge history of postmodern literature. Cambridge, U.K. : Cambridge University Press. pp. 262-277. ISBN 9781107140271

Upstone, Sara (2015) Postcolonial and diasporic voices - bringing Black to the Union Jack: ethnic fictions and the politics of possibility. In: Hubble, Nick , Tew, Philip and Wilson, Leigh, (eds.) The 1990s: a decade of contemporary British fiction. London, U.K. : Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 123-148. (The Decades Series) ISBN 9781441172587

Upstone, Sara (2015) 'Some kind of black': black British historiographic metafictions and the postmodern politics of race. In: Platt, Len and Upstone, Sara, (eds.) Postmodern literature and race. New York, U.S.A. : Cambridge University Press. pp. 279-294. ISBN 9781107042483

Upstone, Sara (2014) 'Footprints are the only fixed point' : mobilities in postcolonial fiction. In: Murray, Lesley and Upstone, Sara, (eds.) Researching and representing mobilities : transdisciplinary encounters. Basingstoke, U.K. : Palgrave. pp. 39-56. ISBN 9781137346650

Murray, Lesley and Upstone, Sara (2014) Mobilising representations : dialogues, embodiment and power. In: Murray, Lesley and Upstone, Sara, (eds.) Researching and representing mobilities : transdisciplinary encounters. Basingstoke, U.K. : Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 1-20. ISBN 9781137346650

Upstone, Sara (2012) (In)fusion and the ‘postcolonial’: Salman Rushdie’s 'Shame' as ethical-political fiction. In: Ghosh, Ranjan, (ed.) Romancing theory, riding interpretation: (in)fusion approach, Salman Rushdie. New York, U.S. : Peter Lang. pp. 132-148. ISBN 9781433112607

Rowe, Anne and Upstone, Sara (2012) Iris Murdoch, Ian McEwan and the place of the political in contemporary fiction. In: Rowe, Anne and Horner, Avril, (eds.) Iris Murdoch: texts and contexts. Basingstoke, U.K. : Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 59-73. ISBN 9780230348288

Upstone, Sara (2012) Representation and realism: Monica Ali’s 'Brick Lane'. In: Ahmed, Rehana , Morey, Peter and Yaquin, Amina, (eds.) Culture, diaspora and modernity in Muslim writing. Routledge. pp. 164-179. (Routledge research in postcolonial literatures) ISBN 9781136473395

Upstone, Sara (2012) The history house: the magic of contained space in Arundhati Roy’s 'The God of Small Things'. In: Ghosh, Ranjan and Navarro-Tejero, Antonia, (eds.) Globalizing dissent: essays on Arundhati Roy. Abingdon, U.K. : Routledge. pp. 71-79. (Routledge Studies in Social and Political Thought, (59)) ISBN 9780415995597

Teverson, Andrew and Upstone, Sara (2011) Introduction. In: Teverson, Andrew and Upstone, Sara, (eds.) Postcolonial spaces: the politics of place in contemporary culture. Basingstoke, U.K. : Palgrave Macmilan. pp. 1-13. ISBN 9780230252257

Upstone, Sara (2010) 9/11, British Muslims, and popular literary fiction. In: Birkenstein, Jeff , Froula, Anna and Randell, Karen, (eds.) Reframing 9/11: film, popular culture and the "War on Terror". London, U.K. : Continuum. pp. 35-44. ISBN 9781441111326

Upstone, Sara (2006) Negotiations of London as imperial urban space in the contemporary postcolonial novel. In: Lindner, Christoph, (ed.) Urban space and cityscapes: perspectives from modern and contemporary culture. London, UK : Routledge. pp. 88-100. (Questioning cities) ISBN 0415366534

Conference or Workshop Item

Upstone, Sara (2018) For Dawit Isaak. In: Writers’ Centre Kingston presents the English PEN Modern Literature Festival; 08 Mar 2018, Kingston, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Upstone, Sara (2014) JRR Tolkien and the Great War. In: Kingston Connections 2014; 21 - 29 Jun 2014, Kingston upon Thames, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Upstone, Sara (2013) Planetary (post)humanism in Neil Gaiman's 'Anansi boys'. In: Being Beyond Boundaries: Dissolving (species) Hierarchy in Contemporary Culture; 05 Oct 2013, Kingston Upon Thames, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Upstone, Sara (2013) Past is future: Utopian diasporic histories in contemporary British fiction. In: History, postcolonialism and tradition: The Postcolonial Studies Association conference 2013; 12 - 13 Sep 2013, Kingston Upon Thames, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Upstone, Sara [Speaker] (2009) Can literature save the world? In: Kingston Reader's Festival; 23 Apr - 22 May 2009, Kingston upon Thames, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Upstone, Sara (2007) From postcolonial to British Asian: public and private space in Monica Ali's Brick Lane. In: Colonial and postcolonial spaces; 06 - 07 Sep 2007, Kingston upon Thames, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Upstone, Sara (2005) Preoccupied with the past: negotiations of migrant London in Zadie Smith's 'White teeth' and Monica Ali's 'Brick Lane'. In: Literary London 2005 : Representations of London in literature; 14-16 July 2005, Kingston Upon Thames, U.K.. (Unpublished)

This list was generated on Thu Jul 18 06:42:17 2024 BST.