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Dr Nora Parr

Parr_NoraLecturer in Comparative Literature

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 2714


Department of Comparative Literature
King's College London
Virginia Woolf Building
22 Kingsway
London WC2B 6LE



Dr Nora Parr comes to King’s from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), by way of Amman and Jerusalem, where she held a 2015-16 Fellowship with the Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL) at both the British Institute (Jordan), and the Kenyon Institute (East Jerusalem). 

With a BA in English Literature and History from Queen’s University (Kingston, Canada), her interest in Arabic Literature took her to McGill University’s Institute of Islamic Studies where she worked on concepts of identity in Palestinian fiction and began studying Arabic.

Before going on to complete her PhD at SOAS (2016), Dr Parr worked for four years in the Middle East, first with a Canadian NGO in Jordan, Palestine, and Israel, and then for three years with the Palestinian news media as a journalist, staff writer, and editor.

At SOAS, Dr Parr founded the Palestine Research Seminars, taught on concepts of nation in the literatures of the Middle East, guest lectured on the core modules of the then-new MA in Palestine Studies, and taught an Arabic module on Modern Palestinian Literature. She also served as Managing Editor for the Journal of Middle Eastern Literatures, acted as student representative for the British Society for Middle East Studies (BRISMES), and hosted several public events featuring Palestinian writers and artists.  

As a CBRL Fellow Dr Parr served on the editorial board of the trilingual project Great Palestinian Figures in History (Diwan Publishers) and guest taught on a course of Palestinian Literature at Bethlehem University, where she also ran writing workshops for students.

Dr Parr’s interests begin with Arabic Literature and Culture –including cinema, oral storytelling, theatre, and fine arts—and extend through theoretical questions of nation, belonging, concepts in space, geography, and history. These are explored and dominant theories challenged through readings of Arabic texts.

Nora continues to write for news and cultural publications, lately reviewing contemporary Arabic art and cinema productions, as well as editing writing in translation. 

Research interests and PhD supervision

At the intersection of critical theory and Arabic Literature, research reads up from cultural texts to challenge and re-form paradigms of thought. This extends from readings of Palestinian literature that challenge codified forms of the ‘Imagined national community,’ to depictions of violence in Lebanese fiction from the Civil War countering concepts of trauma as ‘out of time’ and beyond.

Interests extend beyond Arabic literature into Middle Eastern literatures more broadly

  • Resistance Literature
  • Concepts of genre across cultures
  • Periodization, beginnings and endings (and the construction of)
  • Prison Literature
  • Translating theory
Selected publications

Unbounded Space: Inter-textual Palestine in Ibrāhīm Naṣrallāh's Balcony of Delirium.” (2015)

[Translation] Ouyang, Wen-chin, Michael Beard, and Nora Parr. “Samira Azzam: Man and his Alarm Clock”

[Review] Translating Egypt's Revolution: The language of Tahrir. Mehrez, Samia [Ed]. 25:3 (2013)

[Review] Silencing the Sea: Secular Rhythms in Palestinian Poetry, Khalid Furani. 16:3 (2013), 355-358.

Sex and desire laid bare in Ramallah exhibition

A Tour of the 2016 Palestine International Book Fair


Dr Parr teaches in the areas of Palestinian and Israeli literature, the cultural works of the Arab Spring, the concept and understanding of 'nations' and the changing literatures of 'solidarity'.

Expertise and public engagement

Nora Parr is active in reviewing and editing productions of arts and culture from the Middle East, as well as the Middle East in London!  This includes hosting book talks, book groups, and book launches. She is interested in creating and working with active networks of thinkers, writers, and artists to promote Arabic/Middle Eastern/Postcolonial cultures internationally. She dabbles in translation and works with authors as well as curators to bring work from Arabic into English.

She has recently spoken at, sat on the editorial/advisory board of, or written for:

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