Dr Dominic O'Key

School of English

Leverhulme Fellow

Dominic O'Key
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Dr Dominic O'Key
School of English
Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
S3 7RA

I am a literary scholar and cultural critic. I joined the School of English in 2021 as Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. 

Before this I was based at the University of Leeds. There, I completed a PhD in English and Comparative Literature and then worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the AHRC project 'Thinking Through Extinction'. I have studied at the University of Leeds and the Freie Universität Berlin.

Research interests
My research spans literary studies, critical theory and the environmental humanities. I have published on a range of topics including animal studies, the sixth extinction, postcolonial literature, book prizes and publishing cultures, documentary film, posthumanist theory and museums. I spend a lot of my time thinking about how writers write about animals.
I am the author of Creaturely Forms in Contemporary Literature: Narrating the War Against Animals (Bloomsbury, 2022). The book argues that deep attention to literary form enables us to rethink human–animal relations. An intervention, then, into both the humanism of literary theory and the representational focus of animal studies, the book makes the case for a new formalism in light of our obligation to fellow creatures. The book was shortlisted for the ASLE-UKI best academic monograph prize.
I am currently working on a new book project about wildlife conservation and postcolonial studies. Provisionally titled The Conservation Plot, the book turns to an archive of postcolonial literary and visual texts – from the decolonising 1960s to the globalised 2010s – to rethink the usual stories, or plots, that surround wildlife conservation.
I sit on the Editorial Board of Humanimalia, where I run the journal's Book Review section. Previously I worked as an Associate Editor at parallax
I am also a co-organiser of Serious Play, a research project based at the University of Leeds which explores how role-playing games might inspire new methods of research and teaching practice.
Teaching interests

I run the MA module 'Reading the Contemporary Novel'. This module explores the multiplicity of novel writing today. In it, students consider how we can combine the practices of close reading with a critical analysis of para- and extra-textual. How do indie and small presses package their books differently to conglomerate publishers? What role do literary prizes like the Booker Prize play in consecrating certain texts with cultural capital? How is the novel form transforming in the age of Amazon, Kindle Direct Publishing and social media?

I regularly give lectures and seminars on core modules and enjoy supervising dissertation projects.

I am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA).