Jess Orr

Published: 17 September 2015

Making Space of the Reader in the Fiction of Ali Smith

University of St Andrews

Making Space of the Reader in the Fiction of Ali Smith

Academic History:

2015 - PhD English Literature, University of St Andrews

2012 - 2013 MLitt Women, Writing & Gender, University of St Andrews

2008 - 2012 MA (Hons) English & Scottish Literature, University of Edinburgh


Professor Susan Sellers

Research Interests:

The focus of my research project is the significance of 'the reader' in the fiction of contemporary Scottish writer Ali Smith, in particular how this figure is characterised as an active participant who plays a crucial role in the creation of democratic & accesible textual spaces. I am particularly interested in how the portrayal of reading as a contributory rather than receptive experience might inform the ways in which it can be used as an activity in education & community settings. My thesis is provisionally titled: 'Making Space for the Reader in the Fiction of Ali Smith'.

My research interests include:

  • 20th & 21st Century Scottish women's writing
  • Contemporary Scottish fiction
  • Literature in society & creative education
  • The personal & social benefits of shared reading schemes

Previous Research Projects:

Something Else – a series of public events organised in collaboration with Ali Smith for the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014

Ali Smith: A Derridean Reading (2013) – MLitt dissertation at the University of St Andrews 2013

Social Restriction & the Search for Fulfilment in Catherine Carswell & Willa Muir - MA (Hons) dissertation at the University of Edinburgh 2012

Conference Papers:

'Making Space for Dialogue: Combining Creative & Critical Practice in Ali Smith's Artful' presented at Writing Between the Lines conference, Cardiff Metropolitan University, September 2016

'Modernist Aesthetics of Visual Perception in Ali Smith's The Accidental' presented at Sensory Modernisms (2) conference, University of Leeds, December 2015

‘‘The Love Story’: The Dance & Gift of the Text’ presented at the Ali Smith & Twenty-First Century Fiction conference, Royal Holloway University, September 2013


AHRC PhD Studentship (2015)

Contact Details:


First published: 17 September 2015