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Janine Bradbury



Janine Bradbury joined the department in 2021 as Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Writing and Culture. She works across a number of research areas including African American literature, American Studies, contemporary literature, popular culture (including television and film), history, and creative writing. 

Janine has worked in Higher Education for more than a decade holding posts at The University of Sheffield and then at York St John University where she was a Faculty Learning and Teaching Lead and interim Subject Director for American Studies.

Janine completed a PhD on representations of the tragic mulatta and passing in contemporary African American women’s writing at The University of Sheffield in 2015, which she undertook part-time while working at universities, schools, and community learning groups. She is also a study abroad alumna of The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (2004-5).

Janine has written for The Guardian and been a repeat guest on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. She has a long-standing national reputation for her commitment to equality, diversity, and widening access work in higher education.   

Janine convenes the department’s MA in English Literary Studies and is the Deputy Chair for Admissions. 

Link to Janine’s personal website



Janine’s wide-ranging academic criticism on professional wrestling, Grace Jones, African American comedy, and the work of Toni Morrison has been published by Palgrave Macmillan, Bloomsbury, and Routledge. 

Janine’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Magma, Oxford Poetry, Black Lines, and in a collection for The Emma Press. She was a winner of a 2020 Poetry London Mentoring Prize, was shortlisted for the 2020 Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition, was nominated for a prestigious Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship in 2021, and in 2022, was a finalist for The Aurora Prize for Writing (Poetry). In 2021-2, Janine served as a co-organiser of the Ledbury Poetry Critics Scheme (an AHRC-funded project that encourages diversity in poetry reviewing culture and emerging critical voices). She is a founding co-editor of BLACK LINES: The Journal of Black British Writing and was a judge for the 2022 New Writing North Northbound Book Award.

Bringing together Janine’s critical and creative interests is a scholarly focus on unpacking the performative and writerly processes involved in constructing, pluralising, queering, and destabilising notions of blackness, whiteness, national identity, masculinity, and femininity via processes such as passing, queering, creolisation, life-writing, and performance. Her creative practice seeks to further test and toy with borders and boundaries of identity and constructions of authenticity. Her work frequently returns to the themes of racial and genealogical speculation and conjecture as a mode of inquiry and draws upon interdisciplinary influences.

Janine is working on her first poetry collection alongside two critical projects, a collection of writing about the haunting traces of the ‘tragic mulatta’ figure and passing in contemporary writing and culture, and a project exploring the interface of Black British and African American literature and culture.


Janine welcomes enquiries from PhD applicants working on contemporary African American literature; contemporary British, American, and Caribbean writing (fiction, non-fiction and poetry); and popular culture. She also welcomes proposals from creative writing students whose critical work intersects with any of her research specialisms.



Central to Janine’s academic practice is her commitment to diverse and inclusive learning and teaching. Janine has a long-standing national reputation for her pedagogic practice and has delivered plenaries and invited talks across the country on this topic. Her work in this area contributed to The Runnymede Trust’s Aiming Higher Report (2015) which was presented to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Race and Education at the House of Commons. 


Janine contributes to a wide range of modules including American Literature: From the First World War to the End of Empire, The World of Literature II, Five Things About Poetry, Adventures in the Archive, and Literature in the Marketplace.


Janine convenes the third year module Contemporary African American and Black British Writing.


She lectures on works such as Nella Larsen’s Passing, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, Toni Morrison’s “Recitatif”, and Tracy K. Smith’s Life on Mars.


At postgraduate level, Janine contributes to the modules Debating Global Literature and Culture, Film/Literature Encounters and Poetry and Poetics

She convenes the MA module “Black Is/Black Ain’t”: Race and Speculation in the American Imaginary. 

She is the convenor of the MA in English Literary Studies.

She leads seminars on the work of Hanif Abdurraqib, Wanda Coleman, Marlon Riggs, Terrance Hayes, Grace Jones, Otessa Moshfegh, and Monique Roffey (among others).

External activities


Janine is a member of the British Association of American Studies (BAAS) and a founding member of The Black British Writers and Scholars Alliance (BBWaSA).

Contact details

Dr Janine Bradbury
Department of English and Related Literature
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 323339