Anna Kemball

Thesis title: Unsettled Minds: Reframing Health and Wellbeing in Contemporary Indigenous Literatures


MA Postcolonial Literary & Cultural Studies, University of Leeds

BA English & Music (European), University of Leeds

Undergraduate teaching

English Literature 1, 2019-2020

English Literature 1, 2020-2021

English Literature 2, 2020-2021

Research summary

  • Indigenous literatures
  • Postcolonial literature
  • Medical humanities
  • Mental health

Current research interests

Seeking to bring the medical humanities and Indigenous literary studies into closer relation, my thesis considers how Indigenous representations of mental health bring about new configurations of normalcy, health and illness. I focus on a range of Indigenous writers across Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, exploring how texts from the 1980s through to the present day might be read alongside the ongoing governmental commitment towards promoting Indigenous mental health and improving health policy and practice. By using Indigenous models of health as interpretative tools, my research will gesture towards new, culturally specific paradigms that might be considered within the critical medical humanities.

Affiliated research centres

Current project grants

SGSAH/ AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership

Past project grants

Journal of New Zealand Literature Essay Prize, 2018
Purvis Award (School of English, University of Leeds), 2014-15

Papers delivered

'Recoveries in Land and Language: Tara June Winch’s The Yield (2019)', Stories from the Margins: Indigenous Connections to the Land, University of Northumbria, 29-30 June 2021

'Postapocalyptic Peoples? COVID-19, Public Health, and Native Americans', 4th NNMHR Congress, University of Durham, 21-23 April 2021

'Biocolonial Pregnancies: Reading Future Home of the Living God (2017) through the US Health Policy', Public Health, Private Illness, University of Glasgow, 2-4 September 2020

'Clinical Borders and Biocolonialism in Louise Erdrich's Future Home of the Living God (2017)', Twelfth Biennial MESEA Conference, University of Lancashire (Cyprus campus), 27-30 May 2020 *postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic*

''It's just a story': Reclaiming Windigo Psychosis', 3rd NNMHR Congress, University of Sheffield, 23-24 January 2020

'Healing and Justice in Residential School and Stolen Generation Narratives', Postcolonial Studies Association Convention, University of Manchester, 11-13 September 2019

'Healing and Recovery in Residential School and Stolen Generation Narratives', Postcolonial Health: Global Perspectives on the Medical Humanities, University of Leeds, 20-21 June 2019

'Healing and Recovery in Residential School and Stolen Generation Narratives', SGSAH Summer Symposium, Glasgow,  17 June 2019

'Biocolonial Pregnancies: Louise Erdrich's Future Home of the Living God', Biocolonialism: Perspectives from the Humanities, University of Leeds, 22-23 May 2019

'Rewriting Health: Te Whare Tapa Whā and Witi Ihimaera's Whanau II', Edinburgh Literature WiP seminar, University of Edinburgh, 14 November 2018

''We got to tell this story again': Storytelling, Psychiatry and the Medicine Wheel in Thomas King's Green Grass, Running Water', Postgraduate Medical Humanities, University of Exeter, 7-8 June 2018


Kemball, Anna. "Biocolonial pregnancies: Louise Erdrich’s Future Home of the Living God (2017)". Medical Humanities.  Published Online First: 17 January 2022. doi: 10.1136/medhum-2021-012250

Kemball, Anna. "'Names That We Do Not Understand': Reframing Schizophrenia and Spirituality in The People-faces." JNZL: Journal of New Zealand Literature 36.1 (2018): 76-93.


Blog Posts (peer reviewed)

  • "Postapocalyptic Peoples? Covid-19, Public Health, and Native Americans". The Polyphony. December 2020.

  • “Researching Trauma in the Arts and Humanities” Workshop Review. The Polyphony. November 2018. 

  • “Cardboard Critics: The Language of Protest”. Inciting Sparks. April 2018.  

  • “Gaga: Five Foot Two – Documenting Fame and Fibromyalgia”. Inciting Sparks. November 2017. 

Book reviews

Kemball, Anna. Book Review: "Indigenous Bodies, Cells, and Genes: Biomedicalization and Embodied Resistance in Native American Literature by Joanna Ziarkowska." The Polyphony (2021).

Kemball, Anna. Book Review: "Indigenous Homelessness: Perspectives from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, ed. Evelyn Peters and Julia Christensen.” Transmotion (2019).


Interview with Emma Aviet - Beyond the Books Podcast, Season 2, Episode 2