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Dr Leila Kamali

Kamali_LeilaLecturer in American & English Literature

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 7151


Address Department of English
King's College London
22 Kingsway
London WC2B 6LE



I completed my BA in English at Goldsmiths University of London, then went on to do my MA in National and International Literatures in English, at the Institute of English Studies (also University of London). My PhD studies were undertaken at the University of Warwick, with a year spent as a Graduate Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

I have taught at the University of Warwick, at Birkbeck, Brunel, Royal Holloway, and at Goldsmiths, and joined the Department at King’s in September 2016. Prior to joining King’s I was based at the Centre for Caribbean and Diaspora Studies at Goldsmiths, where I was Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the Heritage Lottery Funded project ‘60 Untold Stories of Black Britain’, and also convened and taught the inaugural Black British Writing Summer School.

Research interests
  • Twentieth-century and contemporary literature of the African diaspora, particularly African American and Black British writing
  • Diaspora, transnationalism and the postcolonial
  • Cultural memory, archive, and narrative time
  • Literature and anti-racism

My research places late twentieth-century and contemporary African American and Black British literature and multi-media in the context of questions of diaspora and transnationalism, and develops new ways of understanding the relationship between trauma, memory, language and tradition, in order to resist contemporary forms of racism. I am interested in how these texts employ diverse and specific negotiations of narrative time, in order to engage and shape contemporary identity and citizenship in historical and current conditions of unspeakable violence, occurring across transnational and diasporic spaces.

Selected publications

The Cultural Memory of Africa in African American and Black British Fiction, 1970-2000: Specters of the Shore (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)

‘‘He Looked Like A Man’: Narrating Child Identities in the Meditative Nonfiction of John Edgar Wideman’, Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora 13.2 (2012): 28-47

‘The sweet part and the sad part: Black Power and the memory of Africa in African American and black British literature’, Atlantic Studies, Special Issue on Tracing black America in black British culture, 6.2 (August 2009): 207-21

‘‘Circular Talk’: The Social City and Atlantic Slave Routes in S.I. Martin’s Incomparable World’, New Formations, 55 (Spring 2005): 142-58


African American literature, transatlantic literature and thought, the literature of slavery, Black British literature and racial violence and writing as protest.









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