Nina Schmidt

Postgraduate Student and Tutor Nina Schmidt


I first came to The University of Sheffield as an Erasmus student in 2007/ 2008 when studying towards a BA in English and German philology at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany. Funded by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, I completed both my BA and an MA in Münster. Alongside and following my studies, I taught both English and German in schools and at universities, and worked as a freelance journalist.

In September 2012, I returned to Sheffield to begin work on my Ph.D. thesis. I am investigating contemporary autobiographical illness writings. My research is motivated by a notable recent increase in publications of such writing in the German-speaking world. Texts forming the basis of my analysis include Charlotte Roche’s Schoßgebete, Kathrin Schmidt’s Du stirbst nicht, Verena Stefan’s Fremdschlӓfer, and the cancer diaries of Christoph Schlingensief and Wolfgang Herrndorf – all published between 2007 and 2013. My research interests therefore lie in auto/biography and life writing (autofiction, diary, autothanatography), disability studies, theories of the body and of trauma, as well as the representation of illness in literature. I am supervised by Dr Caroline Bland (Germanic Dept.) and Prof Sue Vice (School of English). My research is funded by a University of Sheffield Faculty Scholarship.

Journal Articles

‘Confronting Cancer Publicly – Christoph Schlingensief’s So schön wie hier kanns im Himmel gar nicht sein! Tagebuch einer Krebserkrankung’, in a special issue of Oxford German Studies on ‘Writing in extremis’, ed. Marie Isabel Matthews-Schlinzig [forthcoming; the issue goes to press for publication on 19 February 2015]

‘[E]ndlich normal gewordenʼ? Reassembling an image of the self in Kathrin Schmidt’s Du stirbst nicht (2009)’, in Norms, normality and normalization: papers from the postgraduate summer school in German Studies, Nottingham, July 2013, eds. Uecker, Matthias and Dirk Göttsche, Helen Budd, Gesine Haberlah (2014), pp. 65-78

‘Autofiction and Trauma: Negotiating Vulnerable Subject Positions in Charlotte Roche’s Schoßgebete,’ in Auto/Fiction 1.1 (June 2013), pp. 61-86

Other Publications

Author page: ‘Kathrin Schmidt’ for the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing (CCWW)

Book review: ‘Medialisierungsformen des (Auto-)Biografischen’, Biography 37.3 (Summer 2014)

Book Review: ‘Debating German Cultural Identity since 1989’, Deutsch: Lehren und Lernen, Issue 48 (autumn 2013), accessible here

Conference papers

“Die neue Selbstreflexion – Krankheit und Sterben im autobiografischen Schreiben der Gegenwart”, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Social Turn in der Literatur(wissenschaft)? – interphilologische winter school der graduate school ‘practices of literature’, 3-5 December 2014

“The Image Speaks”, The University of York, External Engagement in the Arts & Humanities, funded by the British Academy and the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities, 19 May 2014

“Writing Illness from Beyond the Border – Verena Stefan’s Breast Cancer Narrative Fremdschläfer (2007)”, The University of Manchester, 77th AGS conference, 9-11 April 2014

“Writing Breast Cancer Autobiographically in Verena Stefan’s Fremdschläfer [Alien Sleeper] (2007)”, The University of Sheffield, School of Languages and Cultures Research Seminar: Cultural Discourses of Illness, 3 April 2014

“Writing Illness Autobiographically in Kathrin Schmidt’s Du stirbst nicht (2009)”, The University of Sheffield, 25th anniversary WiGS Conference, 8-9 November 2013

“Looking beyond the Self – Reflecting the Other in Kathrin Schmidt’s Du stirbst nicht”, Universität Wien, IABA Europe Conference 2013 ‘Beyond the Subject: New Developments in Life Writing’, 31 October-3 November 2013

“‘[E]ndlich normal geworden’? – Reassembling an Image of the Self in Kathrin Schmidt’s Du stirbst nicht”, University of Nottingham, Postgraduate Summer School in German Studies on ‘Norms, Normality, Normalisation’, funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), 2-6 July 2013

“‘[I]mmer so ekelhafte Gedanken’ – Illness, Death and the Female Grotesque in Charlotte Roche’s Schoßgebete”, Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women's Writing (CCWW) Seminar on ‘The Aesthetics of Disgust: Revolting Bodies and Other Gruesome Things in post-1990 Women's Writing’, 26 June 2013


  • In the Germanic Studies Department, I have taught German conversation classes across all levels. I currently teach on the first-year core language module GER103/104.
  • Within the faculty of arts and humanities, I was a Graduate Teaching Assistant on the award-winning module ‘Interdisciplinary Research in Practice’ in the spring semester 2014. The module brings together undergraduates from across the various departments of the faculty. In the semester that I was involved, the students developed their own interdisciplinary research projects on the theme of ‘work’.

Other Activities

  • I work with the poet Ruth Chalkley on her contributions to the blog Storying Sheffield about living with progressive illness and the benefits of creative writing, amongst other things. Our project is titled ‘A Dialogic Exploration of Gluten Ataxia: Lived Experience, the Medical Condition, its History’.
  • I had pictures exhibited as a result of participating in a seminar for doctoral students called ‘The Image Speaks’, in which we explored the role of photography as a means to communicate academic research to the wider public. For this I collaborated with the photographer Andy Brown.
  • In February 2014, I ran a German Film Study Day for sixth formers from schools in and around Sheffield.
  • I co-organised the 25th anniversary Women in German Studies (WiGS) Conference, held in Sheffield, 9th November 2013.
  • I was employed by the White Rose Network to research and compile a database of resources about the academic research culture in Germany.
  • I peer-review for the faculty postgraduate journal Track Changes and contribute to the School of Languages and Cultures blog. Since November 2014, I have been on the editorial board for the blog.