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Personal profile


James Underwood is 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. With Dr Steve Ely, he is responsible for developing the Ted Hughes Network, a major university initiative which seeks to become a centre of excellence for Hughes-related research, teaching, creativity, and public engagement. 

James is the recipient of a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award for 2017-18. This award funds a 12-month project, ‘Literature and the Reading Public: Challenges and Opportunities’, which explores issues and ideas relevant to literary studies and public engagement. The project will provide training for a number of Early Career Researchers.

James is a Director of The Elmet Trust, a charity dedicated to promoting the birthplace and legacy of Ted Hughes. He is also Secretary of the Ted Hughes Yorkshire Literary and Heritage Trail Consortium. 


2015    PhD, University of Hull

2012    MA Modern & Contemporary Literature, University of Hull

2011    BA English Literature, University of Durham

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Twentieth-century poetry, particularly the work of Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes
  • Literary biography / literature and biography / literature as biography
  • Poets’ letters / poetry and letter-writing

External positions

Director & Trustee, The Elmet Trust

Jan 2017 → …


  • Modern and contemporary poetry
  • Philip Larkin
  • Ted Hughes
  • Literary biography
  • Letters and letter-writing
  • British, Irish, and American Poetry
  • Public engagement

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

Letters Arts & Humanities
Philip Larkin Arts & Humanities
Ted Hughes Arts & Humanities
Poet Arts & Humanities
Letter Writing Arts & Humanities
Literary Biography Arts & Humanities
20th-century Poetry Arts & Humanities
Poetry Arts & Humanities

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2014 2018

  • 5 Book/Film/Article review
  • 4 Chapter
  • 3 Article

Book Review: Ted Hughes and Trauma: Burning the Foxes by Danny O'Connor (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)

Underwood, J. 1 Apr 2018 In : Modern Language Review. 113, 2, p. 394-396

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

'Pit Closure as Art': Poetry from the North of England

Underwood, J. Jan 2018 (Accepted/In press) Accelerated Times: British Literature in Transition, 1980-2000. Pollard, E. & Schoene, B. (eds.). Cambridge University Press

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

'A Poetic Place': The Hull of Philip Larkin

Underwood, J. & Weston, D. 18 May 2017 Hull: Culture, History, Place. Starkey, D. J., Atkinson, D., McDonagh, B., McKeon, S. & Salter, E. (eds.). Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, p. 259-261 3 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Blurred Boundaries: Literary Biography, Literary Autobiography, and Evidence

Underwood, J. Oct 2017 (Accepted/In press) A Companion to Literary Biography. Bradford, R. (ed.). Wiley-Blackwell, (Blackwell Companions)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Book Review: Louis MacNeice and the Irish Poetry of his Time by Tom Walker (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015)

Underwood, J. 1 Apr 2017 In : Modern Language Review. 112, 2, p. 503-504 2 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review