I am a novelist and academic literary critic. My fiction is influenced by my life-long study of literature, which ranges from Sylvia Plath to the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novel. One of my novels is a contemporary retelling of Samuel Richardson's Clarissa, and another of Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. My scholarly research, in turn, is driven by my insights as a novelist, and frequently engages with the medical humanities, especially questions of human reproduction.
Many would describe my novels as literary thrillers or psychological suspense, and this is a genre that fascinates me due to its roots in the work of some of my favourite eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novelists. I am also interested in the interactions between novelists and the publishing industry, the creative relationships between these different actors, and the ways that novels - and novelists - are classified and marketed.
I am Course Director of Bath Spa University's PhD in Creative Writing programme. I am also Director of PhD Programmes for the School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities. As a teacher and manager, I have a particular expertise in practice-based PhDs, and more generally in postgraduate research. One of the great privileges of my career is that I am able to supervise many brilliant doctoral students in Creative Writing, and see their beautiful work unfold.
- PhD, University of Sussex
- MA, University of Sussex
- BA, University Of California, San Diego
Recent professional training
- Spanish, Upper-Intermediate, ongoing classes.
- Portuguese, Beginner, ongoing classes.
- Supporting Employees' Mental Health and Well-Being in Challenging Times: a Guide for Line Managers, May 2021.
- Delivering Inclusion in Research: Contextualising and Understanding Race and Racism within Research, March 2021.
- UK Council for Graduate Education Event. 'PGR Employability in 2020 and Beyond: New Agendas and Developing Practices', April 2020.
- Clinical and Scientific Expert Witness Bias: Sources and Expression, Royal Society of Medicine, 18 January 2020.
- Research Integrity, November 2019.
- Investigating A Complex Murder: Combining Forensic and Legal Medical Expertise, Royal Society of Medicine, 19 October 2019.
- AHRC/UKRI Leadership Fellows Workshop, University of Bristol, 18 July 2018.
- Coping with Losing a Baby: Medicine and Me, Royal Society of Medicine, 2 June 2018.
- Quality Public Engagement Workshop, 30 November 2017.
- Research Bidding Masterclass led by Professor Andrew Derrington, 19 May 2016.
- Discoverability of Creative Writing PhDs, NAWE / British Library EThOS / AHRC Academic Book of the Future Project. 5 May 2016.
- Social Media Training. Webinar with HarperCollins USA Marketing Director, May 2014.
- Giving Interviews. Society of Authors Workshop, April 2014.
- Giving Readings. Society of Authors Workshop, April 2014.
In addition to the training that I have undertaken, as detailed above, I have also delivered the following training to colleagues and PhD students:
- Mentor for colleagues undertaking Bath Spa University's MA in Supervising Research (HEP7005), ongoing.
- 'Tips for Practice-Based PhD Supervision'. Event for Academic Staff. May 2020.
- 'Tips for Supervising Practice-Based PhDs by Distance Learning'. Event for Academic Staff, May 2020.
- ‘Recruiting and Supervising Creative Practice PhDs’, Event for Academic Staff, June 2019.
- ‘Developing and Running a Low Residency PhD Programme’, Event for Academic Staff, June 2019.
- ‘When Chairing is Challenging’, Event for PhD Examiners and Chairs, May 2016.
- ‘Creative Practice and Academic Writing for PhD Students’, Research Week, Workshop for PhD Students, May 2016.
- ‘Getting Through Your Viva’, Workshop for PhD Students, February 2016.
- The Royal Society of Medicine
- National Association of Writers in Education
- The Higher Education Academy
- The UK Council for Graduate Education
- The Society of Authors
- The Bronte Society
- Association for Medical Humanties
Key roles at Bath Spa University
- Course Director, PhD in Creative Writing
- Director of PhD Programmes for the School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
- Member of the University's Postgraduate Research Management Group
- Higher Degrees Tutor, School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
- Line management and operational management
- Creative Writing Subject Lead for the AHRC South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP)
- Member of the AHRC SWW DTP Programme Delivery Board
- Member of the AHRC SWW DTP Awarding Board
I have held long-term external examining appointments on undergraduate and Master's level degrees at a number of higher education institutions.
- MA in Creative Studies, University of Wales, Bangor, 2001-2005.
- Postgraduate Diploma and Master of Arts in Professional Writing, University College, Falmouth (now Falmouth University), 2001-2005.
- BA in Creative Studies, University of Sussex, 2006-2010.
BA in Creativity and the Arts, University of Sussex, 2007-2010.
- MA in Creative Writing, Birkbeck College, University of London, 2011-2014.
- Undergraduate Diploma in Creative Writing, University of Oxford, 2016-2019.
In addition to acting as internal examiner for multiple PhDs at Bath Spa University, I have acted as external examiner of PhD theses in the UK and abroad, including:
- PhD on Sylvia Plath, University of New South Wales, 2004.
- PhD on Sylvia Plath, Leeds Metropolitan University, 2008.
- PhD in Creative Writing by Publication, Oxford Brookes University, 2014.
- PhD on Sylvia Plath, University of Ulster, 2017.
- PhD on Sylvia Plath, University of Pretoria, 2021.
Other external roles
- I regularly act as a reader/reviewer for the following peer reviewed academic journals: English, Textual Practice, The Review of English Studies, The Journal of American Studies, The Journal of Victorian Studies.
- I regularly act as a reader/reviewer of book proposals and manuscripts for Cambridge University Press, Palgrave Macmillan, and Ashgate (now Routledge/Taylor & Francis).
- I am on the editorial board of the academic journal Plath Profiles (Indiana University).
- Psychological/Literary Thrillers
- Sylvia Plath
- Ted Hughes
- The Nineteenth Century Novel (especially Dickens, Hardy and the Brontes)
- Samuel Richardson
- Literature and Reproductive Medicine
- I was awarded a Bath Spa University Teaching Fellowship in 2007/2008
- Pregnancy and the Novel: Representation and Concealment from Richardson to Hardy. Scholarly monograph to be published by Palgrave Macmillan
- Novel to be published by HarperCollins.
Bath Spa University research centre membership
- Research Centre for Creative and Cultural Industries
- Empathy and Writing Research Group
- Making Books Research Centre
- Creative Writing Research Centre
- Research Centre for Mental Health, Well-Being and Creativity
PhD in Creative Writing:
- I designed this programme in the early 2000s, and continue to manage and develop it as Course Director. We have an exciting mix of campus-based and low residency students from the UK and all over the world.
Supervision to Completion of Doctoral Research:
- As of October 2021, I have supervised 29 PhD students to completion. 27 of these were in Creative Writing. Two were in English Literature.
Intensive Low residency PhD in Creative Writing programme for international students:
- I designed and continue to lead this full-time, specialist strand of Bath Spa University's PhD in Creative Writing programme.
- Together with Professor Gerard Woodward, I successfully supervised our first cohort, who began in October 2012.
- Professor Woodward and I began working with our tenth cohort in October 2021.
PhD in Creative Writing Research Forum
- Together with Professor Gerard Woodward, I convene this specialist forum, which meets each month.
Research and academic outputs
Brain, T (2019) Fiction published under a pseudonym. Harper Collins, London.
Brain, T, ed. (2019) Sylvia Plath in context. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 9781108470131
Brain, T (2017) Fiction published under a pseudonym. Harper Collins, London.
Brain, T (2014) Fiction published under a pseudonym. Harper Collins, London.
Brain, T and Bayley, S (2011) Representing Sylvia Plath. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 9781107006751
Brain, T (2001) The other Sylvia Plath. Pearson Education. ISBN 0-582-32730-X
Brain, T (2019) 'Sylvia Plath and you.' In: Brain, T, ed. Sylvia Plath in context. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 84-93. ISBN 9781108470131
Brain, T (2016) 'Sylvia Plath in the early twenty-first century.' In: Spencer, E, ed. American poetry since 1945. Palgrave, London, pp. 111-132. ISBN 9781137324467
Brain, T (2013) 'Story, body and voice: dating and grouping Sylvia Plath's poems.' In: Critical insights: Sylvia Plath. Salem Press, Ipswich MA. ISBN 9781429838337
Brain, T (2011) 'Fictionalising Sylvia Plath.' In: Bayley, S and Brain, T, eds. Representing Sylvia Plath. Cambridge University Press, Cambrige. ISBN 9781107006751
Brain, T (2011) 'Hughes and feminism.' In: Gifford, T, ed. The Cambridge companion to Ted Hughes. Cambridge Companions to Literature . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 9780521145763
Brain, T (2007) 'Unstable manuscripts: the indeterminacy of the Plath canon.' In: Helle, A, ed. The unraveling archive: essays on Sylvia Plath. University of Michigan Press, Michigan, pp. 17-38. ISBN 0472099272
Brain, T (2006) 'Sylvia Plath's letters and journals.' In: Gill, Jo, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Sylvia Plath. Cambridge University Press, pp. 139-155. ISBN 0-521-60685-3
Brain, T (2006) 'Dangerous confessions: the problem of reading Sylvia Plath biographically.' In: Gill, Jo, ed. Modern Confessional Writing. Routledge, pp. 11-32. ISBN 0-415-33969-3
Brain, T (2014) 'Stitching a life, telling a story: sewing in 'Jane Eyre'.' Women's Writing, 21 (4). pp. 464-487. ISSN 1747-5848
Brain, T (2013) 'Medicine in Sylvia Plath's late poems.' Plath Profiles: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Sylvia Plath Studies, 6 (Summer). pp. 9-26. ISSN 2155-8175
Brain, T (2017) Sylvia Plath and you. In: Transatlantic Literary Women, 3 June 2017, Glasgow Women's Library, Glasgow, Scotland.
Brain, T (2008) Wish I had a Sylvia Plath. In: Oxford Literary Festival after-performance discussion, 4 April 2008, Oxford Playhouse, Oxford, UK.
Brain, T (2007) Presenting Sylvia Plath. In: Syliva Plath 75th Year Symposium, 25-27 October 2007, Balliol College, Oxford, UK.
Brain, T (2007) The manuscripts of Plath's last poems. In: Modern Manuscripts Series Seminar, 20 November 2007, University of London, London, UK.
Brain, T (2002) Plath the working writer: editing and the manuscripts. In: Sylvia Plath 70th Year Symposium, 31 October - 2 November 2002, Indiana University IN, USA.
Brain, T (2002) Rethinking the Plath canon. In: Research Series, December 2002, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK.
"It's not just about the writing": effective personal and professional development for creative writing PhD candidates
Fenby-Hulse, K, Whiting, M, Middleton, T and Brain, T (2015) "It's not just about the writing": effective personal and professional development for creative writing PhD candidates.