Nathan Filer

Nathan Filer


Personal statement

Nathan Filer has taught at Bath Spa University since 2014. He works on the MA Creative Writing programme and coordinates the undergraduate core novel writing module.

He originally trained and worked as a mental health nurse, then later as a mental health researcher at the University of Bristol. He began his writing career as a stand-up poet, featuring at many of the UK’s leading poetry nights and festivals, including Latitude, Port Eliot, Shambala, Big Chill, Glastonbury and the Cheltenham Literature Festival. His poems have been broadcast on BBC radio 4’s Bespoken Word and Wondermentalist Cabaret, and BBC radio 7’s Poetry Stand-up. In 2005 his poetry short film Oedipus won the BBC Best New Filmaker Award and Berlin’s Zebra Poetry Film Award.

The Shock of the Fall, his novel about the life of a young man grieving the loss of his brother was a Sunday Times bestseller and translated into thirty languages. It won The Costa Book of the Year, The Betty Trask Prize, The National Book Award for Popular Fiction and The Writers’ Guild Award for Best First Novel.

He has written for The Guardian and The New York Times. His BBC radio 4 documentary, The Mind in the Media, which explored portrayals of mental illness in fiction and journalism was shortlisted for a 2017 Mind Media Award.

His research interests focus on mental health and working creatively with marginalised individuals. He holds an Honorary Doctorate of Liberal Arts from Abertay University, conferred in recognition of his work in mental health and literature.

Academic qualifications

  • BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing
  • MA Creative Writing

Professional memberships

  • Fellow - Higher Education Academy

Teaching specialisms

  • Creative Writing
  • Fiction
  • Non-fiction and journalism
  • Mental Health


Nathan has featured as a panelist on a number of radio programmes, including: The BBC Radio 2 Book Club; BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking; and BBC Radio 4's Open Book, Front Row, All in the Mind and the Today Programme.

He has guest-lectured at many universities in the UK and overseas, including: London School of Economics; University of Hull; St Mary's University; Birkbeck University of London; Stockholm University; University of Pécs in Hungary; Boston University (UK campus); Ithaca College (UK campus); and the School of British Studies at Berlin Humboldt University.

He has also given presentations at national and international literature festivals, including Hay-on-Wye, Birmingham Lit Fest, Wells Lit Fest, Plymouth International Literature Festival, Morges Literary Festival (Switzerland), Festival du Premier Roman in Chambéry (France) and the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival (US). 

Journalism and Essays

Selected work includes:

  • Life, death and everyday miracles on the NHS frontline – The Guardian Weekend (Cover story), April 2015
  • Rules of Engagement – New York Times, November 2014
  • Why you should ignore superlatives on book jackets – The Guardian, July 2014
  • My Hero: Malala Yousafzai – The Guardian, February 2014
  • Mental Health Care: Where did it all go so wrong? – The Guardian, January 2014

Research and academic outputs

Go to ResearchSPAce

Edit profile | Website feedback to web@bathspa.ac.uk