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24 June 2020

The literature of pandemics explored in new English Department podcast

New podcast series features English scholars debating the literature of pandemics in Covid-19 times.

Photo of man wearing a mask

The Plague Lit Podcast, a three-part podcast series on the literature of pandemics produced by the Department of English at King’s has debuted.

The first episode features Dr Michael Collins (Senior Lecturer in 20th Century American Literature and Culture), and Dr Jon Day (Lecturer in English) speaking about the history of plagues in fiction. They delve into the relationship between novels and infection and the problems of representing disease in language.

Listen to Episode 1: Plagues and the Novel


In episode two, Dr Collins introduces Dr Kelina Gotman (Reader in Theatre and Performance Studies) who considers plagues in the context of theories of movement – called “choreographic texts”. Dr Gotman also sheds light on the importance of literature to the history of science.

Listen to Episode 2: Plagues and Movement


In the third and final episode, Dr Collins is in conversation with Dr Emrys Jones (Senior Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture) reflecting on the broader literature of pandemics and Daniel Defoe’s seminal 1722 text, A Journal of a Plague Year.

Listen to Episode 3: A Journal of a Plague Year

Each episode follows a distinctive style, with episode one recorded as an interview, episode two delivered in a lecture-style and episode three a combination of lecture and a recap, with Dr Collins and speakers from previous episodes connecting the series altogether.

Speaking about the origins of the podcast, Dr Collins said: “I suggested the idea of a podcast because it gave us the option to record individual pieces about our specialist subjects in our own time to form a narrative podcast. It was research, teaching and play all at once.”


My hope is that we can find other topics that might serve to connect different periods of research and find common ground across the department. It builds a great sense of community and could generate new research and teaching opportunities.

Dr Collins added

The podcast is currently listed on Spotify, and available to listen to online at Buzzsprout.

In this story

Michael Collins

Reader in American Studies