Edinburgh Research Explorer

David Farrier

Personal Chair of Literature and the Environment

Profile photo

Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

Eco-criticism; postcolonial studies; asylum and refugee contexts; twentieth century and contemporary British poetry.

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Leeds
(‘Such turbulent human material’: Building dwellings, building texts, in the Pacific writings of Robert Louis Stevenson, William Ellis, Herman Melville and Jack London

Area of Expertise

Research expertiseAsylum in literature and film, Contemporary environmental poetry and fiction


David Farrier studied at the University of Leeds (BA, MA, PhD). Before being appointed at Edinburgh in 2010, he was Lecturer in Postcolonial Literature for four years at the University of Leicester (where he was awarded a University Teaching Award in 2008).

His most recent book, Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils (4th Estate / Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2020) was awarded the Royal Society of Literature's Giles St Aubyn award for non-fiction in 2017 and will be translated into seven languages. He has written for Aeon and The Atlantic.

He is also the author of Anthropocene Poetics (University of Minnesota Press, 2019); Postcolonial Asylum (Liverpool University Press, 2009; written with the assistance of AHRC research leave); and Unsettled Narratives (Routledge, 2007). In 2017 he was a Leverhulme Visiting Fellow at the University of New South Wales.


Research Interests

David’s current research is in literary responses to environmental change and the Anthropocene. He is especially interested in the way contemporary poetry responds to or can be read in light of these issues; in issues to do with deep time and the difficulty of imagining environmental futures; and in the problem of defining an Anthropocene poetics. His previous work looked at the relationship between asylum/refugee discourse and postcolonial studies. He is willing to supervise PhD projects which coincide with any of these interests.

Research activities & awards

  1. Blue Humanities Away Day

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

  2. Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) (External organisation)

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of board

  3. The Saying of Language Itself: Poetry and Extinction

    Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk

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Latest prizes

  1. Leverhulme International Visiting Fellowship

    Prize: Fellowships awarded competitively

  2. Giles St Aubyn Award (Royal Society of Literature) 2017

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

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