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Staff profiles

Dr Ben Smith

Lecturer in Creative Writing (E&R)

I am a Lecturer in Creative Writing and a published novelist and poet, specialising in environmental and speculative literature, focusing on future landscapes, climate change and the Anthropocene.

As a writer and researcher I have a particular interest in interdisciplinary practice and a strong track record of working with natural and social scientists to develop projects exploring the role that creative writing can play in tackling major environmental and social issues. I am on the steering committee of the Royal Society's ‘UK Future Earth Early Career Network’, where I help to organise and lead a programme of events and activities, nurturing a new generation of interdisciplinary researchers.

My debut novel Doggerland uses the lens of speculative fiction to engage with pressing contemporary issues such as renewable energy, ocean waste, climate change and the scale-effects of the Anthropocene. I use the setting of a North Sea windfarm and a flooded landmass to explore these issues, drawing on research in Environmental Humanities, Cultural Geography, Archaeology and Marine Science. It was published by 4th Estate in the UK, Atlas Contact in the Netherlands and Liebeskind in Germany, and was selected as a Guardian Book of the Year 2019. 

I am currently working on a collaboration with the artist Rose Ferraby to create maps and fictional travel accounts of journeys through the Anthropocene. Exhibitions and a publication of our project, Ghost Nets and Phantom Islands, will be forthcoming in 2022.

I teach across the Creative Writing BA and MA curriculum and have experience supervising a wide range of Creative Writing PhD projects.

Students can book a tutorial with me during my office hours via this link