Dr Peter Blair
BA, MA, PhD, PGC Learning and Teaching (HE), FHEA
Peter is Senior Lecturer in English, and Programme Leader of the Department’s MA Modern and Contemporary Fiction.
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 some of his doctoral research, into the liberal tradition in South African fiction, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.
He is a member of the Postcolonial Studies Association (PSA), the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK), the European Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (EACLALS), the Northern Postcolonial Network, the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE), and the European Network for Short Fiction Research (ENSFR).
He is co-director of the International Flash Fiction Association, co-editor of Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine and Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press, 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
On the MA Modern and Contemporary Fiction and MA Creative Writing: Writing and Publishing Fiction, he teaches on:
- Shorter Fiction
- Special Author(s)/Topics(s)
- Research Methods
- Writing Short Fiction for Publication
- Getting Published
- The Writing Project
He has also contributed to the MA Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture.
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
Articles and essays
- ‘Gordimer, Nadine’, in The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies, ed. Sangeeta Ray and Henry Schwarz, 3 vols (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016), II, 657–60.
- ‘Liberalism’, in The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies, ed. Sangeeta Ray and Henry Schwarz, 3 vols (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016), II, 952–58.
- 'Flash Fiction', in Writers' and Artists' Yearbook 2016 (London: Bloomsbury, 2015), pp. 248-51.
- ‘“As if on a magic carpet”: An Interview with Vanessa Gebbie’ [with Ashley Chantler], Short Fiction in Theory and Practice, 4:2 (2014), 233–39.
- "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.
- ‘Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Of Dublin and Other Fictions’, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, 8:1 (April 2015)
- ‘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 Anxiety of Affluence: Gordimer's The Pickup', Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa, 15:1 (April 2003), 178-82.
- ‘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.
Selected conference papers and external presentations
- ‘Flash Fiction Now: Theory and Practice’, keynote at the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA) conference on ‘Creative Style’ (University of Kent, Canterbury, 15–18 July 2015)
- ‘Flash Fiction and the Oral Short Story’, public seminar, part of ‘The Short Story in the 21st Century’ series organized by the Open University’s Contemporary Cultures of Writing Research Group and the University of London’s Institute of English Studies (University of London, 15 April 2014)
- ‘Olive Schreiner and the “Liberal-Concerned” Tradition in South African Fiction’, at ‘On Liberties: Victorian Liberals and their Legacies’ conference (Gladstone’s Library, 3–5 July 2013)
- ‘The Liberal Tradition in Fiction’, The Cambridge History of South African Literature Contributors’ Workshop (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, August 2008)
Peter has had poems, short stories, and flash fiction published in various anthologies and literary magazines, and has read at Chester Literature Festival events. He has been a runner-up in the Bridport Prize (short story), the Fish Poetry Prize, and the Bath Flash Fiction Award. His anthology publications are:
‘Shadowtrain’, in Bath Flash Fiction Award anthology (forthcoming)
‘After the Museum’, in Fish Anthology 2015, ed. Clem Cairns and Julia Walton (Durrus, Ireland: Fish, 2015), p. 240
‘Extra’, ‘Chemistry Lock’, and ‘Walkabout’, in An Anatomy of Chester: A Collection of Short-Short Stories, ed. Ashley Chantler (Chester: Chester Academic Press, 2006), pp. 1, 11, 74–75
‘Ash’, in Life Lines: Poems from the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2004, ed. Ashley Chantler (Chester: Chester Academic Press, 2005), p. 28
‘The Pass’, in The Bridport Prize 2001 (Bristol: Sansom, 2001), pp. 58–68
He has been on judging panels of the Cheshire Prize for Literature (poetry), the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge, Gladstone’s Library ‘Mystery Lady’ Flash Fiction Competition, Chester Library Flash Fiction Competition, and the National Flash Fiction Youth Competition.
He is editor of the following books:
- Edge Words: Stories from the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2006 (Chester: Chester Academic Press, 2007)
- Elements: Poems from the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2007 (Chester: Chester Academic Press, 2008)
- Three student anthologies of historical short-short stories: That’s Historical (2008), It’s About Time (2009), and Between the Lines (2010)
- David Swann, Stronger Faster Shorter: Flash Fictions, ed. with Ashley Chantler (Chester: Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press, 2015)
- Meg Tuite, Lined Up Like Scars: Flash Fictions, ed. with Ashley Chantler (Chester: Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press, 2015)
The International Flash Fiction Association (IFFA), Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press
Peter is founder and director (with Ashley Chantler) of the International Flash Fiction Association, which was established in 2015 to promote flash fiction around the world.
Peter and Ashley are also founders of Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine - the world’s leading publisher of quality short-short stories and serious reviews of flash-fiction anthologies, collections, guidebooks, and critical studies - and Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press, which publishes chapbooks of groundbreaking flash fiction.
For more information about the IFFA, Flash, the Press, and Peter’s other flash-related work, click here.
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), and The Hutchinson Almanac 2001 (2001).
He has also worked on a range of other reference texts published by Barnes & Noble, BBC Worldwide, Bloomsbury, Grolier, Helicon, Macmillan, Oxford University Press, and Penguin.