Skip to main content

Staff profiles

Photo of Professor Jo Gill

Professor Jo Gill

Pro Vice Chancellor


01392 724256

I am Professor of Twentieth-Century and American Literature in the Department of English and Pro-Vice- Chancellor and Executive Dean in the College of Humanities having previously served as Associate Dean for Education and, prior to that, as Associate Dean for International & Development. I teach and research in modern and contemporary English and American literature with a particular interest in poetry, confessional and life writing, and in the literature and culture of cities and suburbs. My most recent book, The Poetics of the American Suburbs, was published in 2013. My article "'Quite the Opposite of a Feminist': Phyllis McGinley, Betty Friedan, and Discourses of Gender in Mid-Century American Culture" (Women's History Review, 2013) won the Arthur Miller Centre Prize for the year's best American Studies essay. I was the Principal Investigator of the Leverhulme Trust-funded "Cultures of the Suburbs International Research Network" (2011-14). I have recently completed work on a new book entitled Modern American Poetry and the Architectural Imagination for which I was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2015-16). I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I was educated at a comprehensive school near Warrington, took my BA at Leicester, my MA at York, and after a career in publishing and in the charity sector, studied for a PhD at the University of Gloucestershire. 

My office is in Queen's 100A


Research interests

My research focuses on confessional and life-writing, mid-twentieth century American poetry, the literature and culture of the American suburbs and the relationship between literature (specifically poetry) and architecture. My most recent book, The Poetics of the American Suburbs, was published in 2013 by Macmillan (New York) in their "Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics" series. The research for this book was supported by awards from the British Academy and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. I am a recent holder of a British Library Eccles Centre Visiting Fellowship in North American Studies. I have recently completed a book on modern and contemporary American poetry and architecture,The Harmony of Forms: Modern American Poetry and the Architectural Imagination, supported by a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship. My most recent essay, on Gwendolyn Brooks, was published in Humanities in Dec 2019 and I have a forthcoming article, "Elizabeth Bishop's Pink" in the Review of English Studies. Previous books include Anne Sexton's Confessional Poetics (University Press of Florida 2007); Women's Poetry (Edinburgh University Press 2007) and The Cambridge Introduction to Sylvia Plath (2008). In addition, I am the editor of Modern Confessional Writing (Routledge 2006) and The Cambridge Companion to Sylvia Plath (Cambridge University Press 2006). I have also co-edited with Simon Barker, Literature as History (Continuum 2009) and with Mel Waters, Poetry and Life Writing (Special Issue of the journal Life Writing, 2009; reissued in book form with Routledge in 2010). I have contributed numerous journal articles and chapters in edited collections. 

Until 2015, I was Principal Investigator on the Leverhulme Trust-funded "Cultures of the Suburbs International Research Network":


Research collaborations

I am the Principal Investigator of the Leverhulme Trust-funded "Cultures of the Suburbs International Research Network" (see This is a collaborative project bringing together researchers from Britain, Ireland, Australia, India and the United States of America all of whom share an interest in the cultural life of the suburbs.

Research supervision

I have PhD students working on English and American Poetry, Life Writing, Modern American Fiction, and on the Literature of American cities and suburbs and would welcome enquiries about future graduate research in these fields.


I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and served for three years (Jan 2011-Jan 2014) as Director of Education for English. I taught at Vassar College, New York, in the spring of 2015 as part of a faculty exchange programme. I teach widely across the undergraduate and MA programme with a special interest in modern and contemporary literature, American literature and culture, poetry, and a particular enthusiasm for teaching first-year students!


Professor Jo Gill was educated at an 11-18 comprehensive in Cheshire; she completed her first degree at the University of Leicester, her MA at York University and her PhD at the University of Gloucestershire. She worked in publishing for several years before commencing research for a PhD and taking up an academic career. She specialises in modern and contemporary literature with a particular interest in confessional and life writing, mid-century American poetry, the cultures of the American suburbs and literature and architecture. She served for six years as a Governor and then Chair of Governors at Richard Huish Sixth Form College, Taunton, and is a former Secretary of the British Association for American Studies.