Dr Peter Blair

Senior Lecturer in English Literature; Programme Leader, MA Modern and Contemporary Fiction


BA, MA, PhD, PGC Learning and Teaching (HE), FHEA


Peter is Senior Lecturer in English, and has taught in the Department since 2002, mostly in the areas of 20th-century literature, postcolonialism, and creative writing.

After taking his BA at the University of Oxford, and several years working in publishing, Peter gained his MA and PhD at the University of York. He spent four months of his doctoral research, into the liberal tradition in South African fiction, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.

He is co-editor of Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, and is on the Editorial Board of University of Chester Press.


Peter teaches on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in both English and Creative Writing. On the English programme, he specialises in 20th-century and postcolonial literatures. Undergraduate modules he teaches or lectures on include:

  • Colonial and Postcolonial Literature
  • Modernism and After
  • Understanding Poetry
  • An Introduction to Publishing

He is Programme Leader of the MA Modern and Contemporary Fiction, and also contributes to the MA Creative Writing: Writing and Publishing Fiction and MA Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture.

Postgraduate supervision:

He welcomes enquiries about research projects on:

  • South African literature in English
  • Colonial and postcolonial literature (especially fiction and other prose)
  • The short-short story

Also creative writing projects, especially:

  • Short-short stories
  • Short stories
  • Projects relating to South Africa or Northern Ireland

Published work

Articles and essays

  • 'Gordimer, Nadine', in The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies, ed. Sangeeta Ray and Henry Schwarz (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming)
  • 'Liberalism', in The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies, ed. Sangeeta Ray and Henry Schwarz (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming)
  • 'Flash Fiction', in Writers' and Artists' Yearbook 2015 (London: Bloomsbury, 2014), pp. 279-82.
  • "A pop star trapped in the body of a flasher": An Interview with David Gaffney' [with Ashley Chantler], Short Fiction in Theory and Practice, 4:1 (2014), 125-30.
  • ‘The Liberal Tradition in Fiction', in The Cambridge History of South African Literature, ed. Derek Attridge and David Attwell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 474–99.
  • ‘That "Ugly Word": Miscegenation and the Novel in Pre-apartheid South Africa', Modern Fiction Studies, 49:3 (Fall 2003), 581-613.
  • ‘Of Lostness and Belonging: An Interview with John Conyngham', Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa, 15:1 (April 2003), 74-90.
  • ‘"How Was She to Have Known ...": Interpreting Nadine Gordimer', ManuScript, 7 (2002), 67-81.


  • ‘The Moral and the Macabre: Phaswane Mpe's Welcome to Our Hillbrow', Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa, 14:1 (April 2002), 163-68.
  • ‘The Anxiety of Affluence: Gordimer's The Pickup', Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa, 15:1 (April 2003), 178-82.
  •  ‘Three Poets [Isobel Dixon, John Mateer, and Don Maclennan]: Exile, Emigrant, and Settler', Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa, 16:1 (April 2004), 127-36.


The Cambridge History of South African Literature Current Writing

Creative writing

Peter has had poems, short stories, and flash fiction published in various periodicals and anthologies. In 2001 he was a runner-up in the short-story section of the Bridport Prize, for which he was again short-listed in 2006.

He has been on judging panels for an international flash fiction competition and the Cheshire Prize for Literature. For Chester Academic Press, he has edited Edge Words: Stories from the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2006 (2007) and Elements: Poems from the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2007 (2008).

He has also edited three student anthologies of historical short-short stories.


Other writing

Peter was formerly an editor with a publishing company, and then a freelance writer, copyeditor, and proofreader. He has contributed editing and hundreds of articles, definitions, biographies, and obituaries to reference books including:

  • Collins Dictionary of British History (1997)
  • The Penguin Biographical Dictionary of Women (1998)
  • Oxford Paperback Encyclopedia (1998)
  • Collins English Dictionary (4th edition, 1998)
  • Oxford Who's Who in the Twentieth Century (1999)
  • The Hutchinson Almanac 2001 (2001)

He has also worked on a range of other reference texts published by Oxford University Press, Penguin, Bloomsbury, Macmillan, Helicon, Grolier, Barnes & Noble, BBC Worldwide, and the National Trust.