Skip to main content

English and Creative Writing

Photo of Dr Davina Quinlivan

Dr Davina Quinlivan

Lecturer (E&S)


Davina is interested in concepts of post-colonial identity, migration, ecology, sonic and immersive storytelling ('haunted' spaces and embodiment), in all kinds of literature, but especially modern and contemporary women's writing, poetry and its intersections with visual and material culture, philosophy, creative non-fiction and nature writing. Her poetic memoir, Shalimar: A Story of Place and Migration, was published with Little Toller books (2022) and was selected as the text which would launch the new digital publishing platform, Spiracle Audio. On Shalimar, Marina Warner describes Quinlivan as ‘a writer of rare gentleness and insight (…) she winds us into the skein of her extended diasporic family, expressing the complexity of identity today. Deftly she weaves back and forth in time as she braids these memories, in a sustained, observant, poetic act of attention — and love’. Shalimar was a Waterstones bookseller choice (Tottenham Court Road and High Holborn), 'headline' feature with Hinterland: Creative Non-Fiction Magazine July 2023 and shortlisted for the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment Creative Writing Prize 2023. 

As a researcher and curator, she has fostered partnerships with The Wellcome Trust and The Delfina Foundation (Healing and the Archive, 2022), The Serpentine Gallery (Hilma Af Klint, 2016), The Wallace Collection (2021), The Museum of English Rural Life (as part of the 2022 ‘Changing Perspectives’ online exhibition), Natural History Consortium Festival of Nature, The Urban Tree Festival, Nanjing UNESCO City of Literature, The National Centre for Writing and The Countryside Alliance. She is the writer and presenter of the popular public seminar series on women, literature and creative writing, ‘F: For Flânerie’, with The Freud Museum (2020-present). Davina was Writer in Residence with Literature Works/Quay Words (Spring 2023). She is part of the founding ensemble of The New School of the Anthropocene. For a decade, she was a regular contributor to The Times Higher culture section.

She is currently a research associate (AHRC-funded) working with StoryArcs (Bath Spa); she is also working on a follow up to Shalimar on migration and inherited traumaa series of short stories retelling fairyales in a modern and ecological context, and a novel set between Cornwall and the Black Sea. She is also researching critical-creative projects on nature writing and histories of mixed heritage identity in the West of England. 

Before joining The University of Exeter, Davina taught elsewhere in Higher Education for 16 years, including 12 years as a Senior Lecturer in Critical and Historical Studies at Kingston School of Art, Kingston University, and several years in the Department of Film Studies at King's College London. She is the author of several academic monographs including The Spirit of the Beehive: Girlhood and Ecology (BFI Film Classics, forthcoming), Joanna Hogg: New British Art Cinema (EUP, forthcoming), Deborah Levy’s Inner Cinema: Literature, Imagination, Landscapes (forthcoming), Filming the Body in Crisis: Trauma, Healing and Hopefulness (Palgrave, 2015) and The Place of Breath in Cinema (EUP, 2012). She has presented her work at over 40 academic conferences and her ground-breaking research on breath, air and phenomenology served as the primary text for two special issues of peer-reviewed journals.  

Back to top

 Edit profile