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Last updated 24th March 2023


James Underwood is Senior Lecturer in English Literature. He joined the University of Huddersfield in 2016 as Research Fellow in Modern and Contemporary Literature, having previously taught at the University of Hull and Bishop Grosseteste University.

His research focuses primarily on twentieth- and twenty-first-century British, Irish, and American poetry, with a particular emphasis on the work of Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes. He is the author of Early Larkin (London: Bloomsbury, 2021), the first book-length critical study of Larkin's early writings. James's other research interests include literary (auto)biography and literary correspondence.

James is Deputy Director of the Ted Hughes Network, a centre of excellence for Hughes-related research, teaching, public engagement, and creativity. He is also a Director of the Elmet Trust, a charity dedicated to preserving Hughes’s birthplace and promoting his work; and Vice-Chair and Secretary of the Ted Hughes Yorkshire Literary and Heritage Trail Consortium. He currently sits on the Council of the Ted Hughes Society, and chairs the Philip Larkin Society's Publications Advisory Board.

In 2017, James was awarded a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

James welcomes enquiries from prospective research students (MRes and PhD) on any aspect of his research interests, particularly the work of Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes. He is currently supervising PhDs on Philip Larkin, Sylvia Plath, and the postmodern American epic poem. 


PhD in English Literature (2016), University of Hull

MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature (2012), University of Hull

BA in English Literature (2011), University of Durham

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Modern & contemporary poetry
  • Philip Larkin
  • Ted Hughes
  • Literary (auto)biography
  • Literary correspondence
  • British, Irish, & American Poetry
  • Public engagement
  • Twentieth- and twenty-first-century Poetry
  • Literary (auto)biography and life-writing


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