Professor Patrick Flanery
Chair in Creative Writing
School of Humanities
Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics
Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.
I was born in California and grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. After finishing my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Television Production at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, I worked as a freelance script reader for Sony Pictures Entertainment, and subsequently as a book scout for a production company and talent management agency in New York City.
In 2001, I moved to the U.K., where I completed my doctorate at the University of Oxford on the publishing and adaptation histories of Evelyn Waugh’s novels, and also began working on South African literature and film. From 2005 to 2009 I taught modern and contemporary literature and literary theory as an adjunct at the University of Sheffield, during which time I was also writing my first novel, ABSOLUTION (2012). I have since published three further novels, FALLEN LAND (2013), I AM NO ONE (2016), and NIGHT FOR DAY (2019). In 2019 I also published a hybrid creative-critical memoir, THE GINGER CHILD: ON FAMILY, LOSS AND ADOPTION.
Translations of my novels have appeared in a dozen languages. ABSOLUTION won the Spear’s/Laurent Perrier Best First Book Award in 2012, and was shortlisted for a number of other prizes, including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize.
Other creative and critical work has been published in Zoetrope: All Story, Granta, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Spectator, The Times Literary Supplement, and The Daily Telegraph. I have appeared at literary festivals around the U.K., as well as in France, Italy, Norway, South Africa, and the U.S.A. My work has been supported by fellowships and residencies at MacDowell (USA), the Santa Maddalena Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center (Italy), and the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (South Africa).
I joined the University of Adelaide as Professor of Creative Writing in January 2021. I have held posts in the U.K. as Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Reading and Queen Mary University of London. I am Professor Extraordinary in the English Department at the University of Stellenbosch.
- Literary Fiction
- Creative Nonfiction
- Transnationalism and migration
- Surveillance and paranoia
- Queer theories, affects, and subjectivities
- Psychoanalysis and literature
- Lyric forms
- Film & Photography
- Contemporary North American Literature
- Contemporary European Literature in Translation
Recent and Ongoing Research
My four published novels are united by concerns with subjectivity, trauma, memory, migration, paranoia, and surveillance. A. S. Byatt has called me ‘a master of puzzling, alarming, and even terrifying storytelling.’
Absolution (2012) follows a South African expatriate who returns to Cape Town from the United States to write the biography of a celebrated novelist. Told in four voices, the book foregrounds the ethics of representation and the complex demands of recounting traumatic histories. The subject of a long review in the New Yorker magazine, the novel won the 2012 Spear’s Laurent Perrier Best First Book Prize and was shortlisted for others including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize. In 2015 and 2016, Absolution was a set text on the IEB syllabus for South African secondary schools in the final English exam.
Fallen Land (2013), set in the American Midwest, is in conversation with traditions of American writing about the uncanny, the gothic, race, and suburbia. Set in the wake of the mortgage foreclosure crisis, it engages too with such issues as climate change, corporatism under neoliberalism, and debates about the posthuman. The New York Times reviewer, novelist David Vann, called it ‘an engaging attempt to identify the source of sourceless rage and the reasons an American dream, once achieved, can feel empty,’ and said it ‘speaks especially eloquently to our uncertain times’.
In I Am No One (2016), the narrator, a professor of modern German history who returns to New York after a decade at Oxford, becomes convinced he is under government surveillance, and is forced to reassess his relationship with an exiled Egyptian doctoral student. Novelist Teddy Wayne called it ‘a novel of Pynchonesque paranoid ideas, wrapped in psychologically acute Jamesian prose, delivered by a gripping story worthy of Graham Greene’, and the novelist Hanya Yanagihara said it confirmed me as ‘a writer with an uncanny sense of the anxieties and fears that define the modern condition’.
Night for Day (2019) is a formally experimental fiction that follows a group of characters working on a film noir in Hollywood on a single day in 1950 as their lives come to mirror the complicities and betrayals of the picture they are making (and whose screenplay is part of the text) in the shadow of the Red and Lavender scares of McCarthyite America. In the same year I published The Ginger Child: On Family, Loss and Adoption, a hybrid critical-creative work of memoir and criticism that explores questions of belonging, queer identity, and kinship, engaging with the work of Melanie Klein, Eve Sedgwick, Sianne Ngai, and Lee Edelman, amongst others, and offering readings of contemporary fiction, visual art, television, and film—from Caché to Alien: Covenant.
In addition to my ongoing work as a scholar and critic (see my list of publications), I am currently working on a number of creative writing projects including fiction, poetry, and film.
I would be happy to hear from potential doctoral students whose interests and proposals overlap with any of my research areas.
Language Competency French Can read
Date Institution name Country Title 2007 University of Oxford United Kingdom DPhil 2002 University of Oxford United Kingdom MSt 1998 New York University, Tisch School of the Arts USA BFA
Research InterestsArt Criticism Artificial Intelligence British and Irish Literature Cinema Studies Creative Writing Cultural Theory Film and Television Hermeneutic and Critical Theory Literary Studies Literary Theory Literatures in English North American Literature Studies in Creative Arts and Writing Visual Cultures
Year Citation 2021 Flanery, P. (2021). 'Why try / to revive the lyric': Hoa Nguyen and the Singing of Loss. Chicago Review. 2017 Davids, C. -A., & Flanery, P. (2017). Reflection, understanding, and empathy: a conversation between Carol-Ann Davids and Patrick Flanery. Safundi, 18(3), 291-301.
2014 Flanery, P. (2014). Waiting for a moment. TLS - The Times Literary Supplement, (5819), 20. 2013 Holmes, C. (2013). An Interview with Patrick Flanery. Contemporary Literature, 54(3), 426-458.
2010 Flanery, P. D. (2010). Shinto. TLS - The Times Literary Supplement, (5609), 6. 2010 Flanery, P. D. (2010). In My Country's filmic betrayals: Reification and the ethics of adapting country of my skull. Safundi, 11(3), 233-260.
2009 Denman Flanery, P. (2009). Readership, authority, and identity: Some competing texts of Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust. Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 103(3), 337-356.
2009 Flanery, P. D. (2009). What national cinema? south african film cultures and the transnational. Safundi, 10(2), 239-253.
2008 Flanery, P. D. (2008). Limber: The flexibilities of post-nobel coetzee. Scrutiny2, 13(1), 47-59.
2008 Flanery, P. D., & Van Der Vlies, A. (2008). Introduction: Annexing the global, globalizing the local. Scrutiny2, 13(1), 5-19.
2008 Flanery, P. D. (2008). The Dean family. TLS - The Times Literary Supplement, (5487), 20. 2007 Flanery, P. D. (2007). Voiceless views. TLS - The Times Literary Supplement, (5451), 21. 2007 Flanery, P. D. (2007). We're in charge. TLS - The Times Literary Supplement, (5436), 27. 2007 Flanery, P. D. (2007). How to get home. TLS - The Times Literary Supplement, (5447-5448), 23. 2007 Flanery, P. D. (2007). At Grandmother's Ford. TLS - The Times Literary Supplement, (5462), 19-20. 2006 Flanery, P. (2006). Headlong into art. TLS - The Times Literary Supplement, (5411), 22. 2004 FLANERY, P. D. (2004). (Re-)marking Coetzee & Costello: The [textual] Lives of Animals. English Studies in Africa, 47(1), 61-84.
Year Citation 2019 Flanery, P. (2019). The Ginger Child On Family, Loss and Adoption. London, United Kingdom: Atlantic Books. 2013 Flanery, P. (2013). Fallen Land. Atlantic Books Ltd. 2012 Flanery, P. (2012). Absolution. United Kingdom: Atlantic Books.
Year Citation 2022 Flanery, P. (2022). All the Cake in the World: Five Provocations on Mildred Pierce. In T. L. Geller, & J. Leyda (Eds.), Reframing Todd Haynes Feminism's Indelible Mark. Camera Obscura Book, Duke University Press.
Original Creative Works
Year Citation 2023 Authors: Flanery P. Title: Queer Influencers: Hujar and Warhol. Description: N/A. Extent: 3324 words. 2023 Authors: Flanery P. Title: Casualties. Description: N/A. Extent: 5182 words. 2021 Authors: Flanery P. Title: Letter to an Evolutionary Zoologist. Description: N/A. Extent: 304-304. 2021 Authors: Flanery P. Title: "Archival Technics". Description: N/A. Extent: 1310 words. 2019 Authors: Flanery P. Title: Night for Day. Description: N/A. Extent: 327 pages. 2017 Authors: Flanery P. Title: Heretics. Description: N/A. Extent: 11b-23b. 2016 Authors: Flanery P. Title: Interior: Monkeyboy. Description: N/A. Extent: 69-93. 2016 Authors: Flanery P. Title: I Am No One. Description: N/A. Extent: 352 Pages.
Curated or Produced Public Exhibition or Events
Year Citation 2021 Hajdu, T., Flanery, P., & Tomczak, S. (2021). Art of the Possible: Silent Sessions Exhibition (No. Of Pieces: over 60 entries) [creative writing, journalism, music scores, digital audio works]. University of Adelaide: https://artofthepossible.com.au.
Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2022 Principal Supervisor The Blackness of the Sun: An Exploration of Nihilism and Meaning in the works of Albert Camus and Samuel Beckett Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Gemma Lynn Parker 2022 Co-Supervisor Writing a war from within a war: Explorations in traumatic Bosnian war memory Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Ms Naida Roberts 2022 Co-Supervisor A short fiction sequence and accompanying exegesis exploring varying concepts of place and space Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Morgan Wesley Nunan 2021 Co-Supervisor Writing the Australian Suburban Gothic Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Miss Gillian Erin Hagenus 2021 Principal Supervisor The Essential Worker: Psychological First Aid and the Composite Novel Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Jane Turner Goldsmith 2021 Principal Supervisor No Promises: Literary Language and Late Capitalism Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Alex William Sutcliffe
Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2021 - 2022 Co-Supervisor “A Story in an Obscure Corner of the Front Page”: Patricia Highsmith, Pamela Moore, Joyce Johnson and the Negotiatory Politics of Sexual and Gender Insubordination in Post-War America Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Azadeh Feridoun Pour 2020 - 2022 Co-Supervisor "Yñiga" and "Into the Forest: The Historical Imagination in Philippine Fiction" Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Glenn Lappay Diaz
Date Institution Department Organisation Type Country 2017 - ongoing Johannesburg Review of Books Editorial Advisory Panel Cultural or historical South Africa
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