Natalie Ferris

Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow

  • English Literature
  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures

Contact details



David Hume Tower
George Square

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Natalie read for a BA in English at the University of Cambridge, before studying for a MA in Critical Writing in Art & Design at the Royal College of Art. In 2017 she received her DPhil in English from the Queen's College, University of Oxford (supervised by Dr Rebecca Beasley). Her AHRC-funded doctoral thesis, Abstraction in Post-War British Literature 1945-1980, is currently under revision with Oxford University Press for publication as a monograph. As part of this research, she received a Getty Library Research Institute Fellowship, and AHRC international placement fellowships at the Harry Ransom Center and the Yale Center for British Art, as well as awards from the Broncel Trust and the Aiden Mellor Prize for Art Criticism. She was a Junior Teaching Fellow 2018 at the Ashmolean Museum, co-organising a seminar series on object histories, and word and image through the ages. 

She is a published writer and critic, contributing to publications such as Frieze, The Guardian, Tate Etc., Eye Magazine, The White Review, Egress and Word & Image. She is the Deputy Editor of The Cambridge Humanities Review and the English Editor of Space Architecture Journal. She has also worked in contemporary publishing, at Enitharmon Press & Editions, with a particular interest in collaborating with artists and writers on artists' books and poetry publications. 

She is also committed to researching the work of women poets, authors and theorists, and established a society in 2015 to celebrate the life, work and legacy of Christine Brooke-Rose (1923-2012). The society aims to give the creative and critical work of Brooke-Rose greater visibility, encouraging a new generation of readers as well as bringing together enthusiasts and researchers of her writing and that of her contemporaries, such as Anna Kavan, Brigid Brophy, Muriel Spark, Iris Murdoch, Ann Quin, Franciszka Themerson and Eva Figes. 

Her postdoctoral project, 'Technicities of Illusion: Dynamism and Deception in Post War Literature and Art', explores the perceptual challenges posed by movement, optical illusion, and new media. Contemplating the implications of the kinetic in literature and tracing the lineage of technological literacy in the arts - through the consultation of archival collections of optical devices, artworks, digital design and literary responses - this project will build a new history of the ways we manage and visualise information to deepen understanding of how we read, think, create, and write now.  What impact have the augmentations of visual and virtual technologies of the past seventy years had on the expression of modern selfhood and the transmittal of knowledge?

She co-convenes the Radical Notations seminar series with Dr Rebecca Collins (ECA). Keep up to date via the Twitter page @RNotations


Research summary

Her research interests include: the relationship between Literature and the Visual Arts, Theories of Visuality, the 'Experimental' in Literature, Visual Culture, Late Modernism, Minimalism, Conceptual Writing, Contemporary Art Theory, Concrete Literature, Phenomenology, Spatialism, Women's Writing, Typography, Graphic Design and Abstraction in Art and Literature. 

As a practising bookbinder, she is also interested in the history of the book, printmaking, the book as sculptural object, and technologies of the book. 

Project activity

Radical Notations Seminar Series 

I am the co-convenor of Radical Notations with Dr Rebecca Collins (ECA). Programme and updates here and on our twitter page: @RNotations


Christine Brooke-Rose Society 

I am the co-founder of the society with Dr Stephanie Jones. Keep up to date with activities and publications on our twitter page: @CBrooke_Rose

We are planning a wide range of events to honour the life, work and legacy of Christine Brooke-Rose (1923-2012) in her centenary year, 2023. Please get in touch with me if you would like to get involved. 


Abstraction in Post-War British Fiction 1945-1980, (forthcoming Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021) 

Book Chapters 

‘Precarious Vision: Hallucination and Women’s Short Stories’ in Novel Experiments: Post-War British Women Writers 1945-1975, ed. by Andrew Radford and Hannah Van Hove (London: Palgrave, forthcoming 2021)

‘J. G. Ballard: Visuality and Novels of the Near Future’, in British Avant-Garde Fiction of the 1960s, ed. by Kaye Mitchell and Nonia Williams (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019).

'Water water wish you well', Try to be Better: W.S. Graham (London: Test Centre, 2019)

'manna in mid-wilderness', We'll Never Have Paris, ed. Andrew Gallix (London: Repeater Books, 2019)

Journal Articles 

‘Spectre in the Decrypt: The Aphasic Imaginary in Intelligence Work Narratives, in preparation for special issue of Modernist Cultures on Women, Creativity & Intelligence Work, ed. by Simon Cooke and Natalie Ferris (forthcoming 2021).

‘I think I preferred it abstract’: Christine Brooke-Rose and Visuality in the New Novel’, Textual Practice, special issue guest edited by Natalie Ferris and Stephanie Jones, (March 2018). Print.

‘The Double Play of Mirrors: Anna Kavan, Autobiography and Self-Portraiture’, Women: A Cultural Review, 28.4 (December 2017). Print.

‘“vocal illyrian avowals”: Herbert Read and Abstract Poetry’, Word & Image, 31.3 (2015). Web and print.

Catalogue Essays

‘Sleight of Hand’ in Brass Art: 20 Years (forthcoming 2020)

‘An Opening of Words: Poetry and Portraits in the Work of Germaine Richier’ in Royal Society of Sculptors 2019 (London: Royal Society of Sculptors, 2019).

‘Veronika Hauer: Who is not a fool?’, Noiswhere, 1 (August 2015) text for solo exhibition at Institute of Contemporary Arts, August 2015. Print.

‘Allen Jones and the Masquerade of the Feminine’, in Allen Jones, (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 2014).

‘Introduction’, with Sir Peter Blake, in Under Milk Wood (London: Enitharmon Press, 2013).

Small Press/Magazines/Newspapers

'A Wrench is Known as an English Key: On Ana Hatherly', Egress, 2 (Winter 2018/19), 48-65. 

'D'APRÈS FIBONACCI: Jorge Pinheiro', Frieze, (October 2017). 

'José de Almada Negreiros: a way of being modern', The Cambridge Humanities Review, Issue 15, (Michaelmas 2017). 

'Variable Dimensions: Artists and Architecture', SPACE (May 2017). 

‘Germaine Richier’, Tate Etc., 38 (Autumn 2016). 

'A Japanese Constellation at MoMA: Toyo Ito, SANAA and Beyond', SPACE, (June 2016).

‘The Shape of Heads to Come: Ralph Rumney, Portraiture and Place’, Bricks from the Kiln: A Critical Journal, 1 (2015).

‘Veronika Hauer: Who is not a fool?’, Noiswhere, 1 (August 2015) text for solo exhibition at Institute of Contemporary Arts, August 2015.

‘The Story of My Teeth’, Frieze, 169 (2015).

'Out of the Ordinary: Award-Winning Works by Young Korean Architects', SPACE (March 2015). 

‘The Royal Academy Library’, Printmaking Today, 23 (2014). 

‘“Sensing Spaces”: Experiencing New Architecture at London’s Royal Academy’, SPACE, 571 (2014). 

‘Christine Brooke-Rose and Paris VIII’, in Christine Brooke-Rose, ed. by Mark Nicholls (Glasgow: Verbicovoracious Press, 2014), 281-288. 

‘Keston Sutherland’, The White Review, 7 (2013). 

‘The Life and Work of the Late Experimental Writer, Christine Brooke-Rose’, Frieze, 150 (2012). 

‘Leaking the Squalls: Henri Michaux’, Useless: Critical Writing in Art & Design, (London: Royal College of Art, 2012), 79-95. 

‘[here, we are in the circle]’, in In the Presence of Multiple Possibilities, (London: Ordinary Culture Press, 2012), 12- 13. 

‘Split-Line-Crit’, Clo’e Floirat, (Paris: Colette Galerie, 2012), 2-4.

‘Christine Brooke-Rose: the Great British Experimentalist’, The Guardian, 23 March 2012. 

‘Fins’ and ‘Tower’, Darkness Visible, a collaborative exhibition project between Tom de Freston, the University of Cambridge and the Royal College of Art, Spring 2011. 

‘Silt’ in Painting: Show, (London: Royal College of Art, 2011), 15-16. 

‘Entente Cordiale: Cross-Channel Poster Design’, Eye Magazine, 11 March 2011. 



‘Christine Brooke-Rose’, in TLS Voices Podcast, Times Literary Supplement, 26 June 2015. 

2019-2020          Henry Moore Institute Visiting Research Fellowship

2019-2020          Paul Mellon Centre Publication Grant