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English and Creative Writing

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Ms Anna Kiernan

Senior Lecturer in Creativity and Innovation (E&S) and Co-Director of MA Creativity


01392 724368


I have a background in trade publishing (as editor at André Deutsch and Simon & Schuster), and extensive experience as a communications strategist who specialises in cross-disciplinary working and partnership brokering.

Previously, I was the programme director of the MA Creativity: Innovation and Business Strategy. 

My research is practice-based and centres on writing culture and cultural value, contemporary book publishing and cultures of criticism and curation online.  I am co-director of The Literary Platform.

I am currently developing a co-mentoring network for senior women leaders in the cultural sector in the South West.

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I passed my PhD by publication this year (2024) with no corrections:

Content: Exploring the theory and practice(s) of literary media in a changing publishing marketplace

In analysing creative writing and publishing case studies, my research illustrates how publishing models and writing platforms are responding to the digital marketplace, and points to a new direction in scholarship, including the role of literary media studies both in the academy and in relation to the literary as a cultural industry.

Selected books

Kiernan, A. 2021. Writing Cultures and Literary Media: Publishing and Reception in The Digital Age. London & New York: Palgrave.

Kiernan, A. 2014. Pick Me Up. Atlantic Press Books.

Kiernan, A (editor). 2007. Bit on the Side: Work, Sex, Love, Loss and Own Goals. Parthian Books.

Kiernan, A (editor). 2001. Voices for Peace: An Anthology. London: Scribner; New York: Simon & Schuster.

Selected chapters

Kiernan, A, 2023. ‘Small press publishing in a post-digital world: Creative campaigns and promotional opportunities.’ Thomas, Bronwen, Round, Julia and Ensslin, Astrid (editors).  In The Routledge Companion to Literary Media. (Routledge, under contract).

Kiernan, A. 2018.  ‘Futurebook Critics and Cultural Curators in a Socially Networked Age’ in The Digital Critic: Literary Culture Online, Robert Barry, Houman Barekat & David Winter (editors), New York: OR Books.

Kiernan, A. 2016. ‘Mad Girl's Love Song: Reflections on routes into reading, writing and mentoring’. Journal: Book 2.0, 6 (1 & 2), Intellect Books.

Kiernan, A. 2011. ‘The growth of reading groups as a feminine leisure pursuit: Cultural democracy or dumbing down?’, in From Salons to Cyberspace: Readings of Reading Communities, Denel Rehberg Sedo (editor), Palgrave.

Selected conferences and symposia (since 2010)

Kiernan, A. 2023. Independent Publishing in a Post-Digital World. Creative Campaigns and Promotional Opportunities. By the  Book, Hosted by the Oxford Brookes University, Porto .

Kiernan, A. 2019. Panel chair. How we write. With novelists Liz Flanagan, Sarah Franklin and Amy Lilwall. National Association of Writers in Education conference, York.

Kiernan, A. 2019. Entrepreneurship and The Literary Platform. Creative Entrepreneurship Forum, South Bank University. Hosted by Cultural Capital Exchange.

Kiernan, A. 2018. ‘Distributed authorship, literary critics and cultural curators in a socially networked age’ (In press). Publishing in a changing media environment, Sorbonne in Florence.  

Kiernan, A. 2018. ‘The habit of collaborating: Reflections on routes into reading, writing and mentoring in a digital age’ (Published). Great Writing International Creative Writing Conference. Imperial College, London.

Kiernan, A. and James, B. E. 2017. ‘And the memory fills all space: Reimagining book concepts for digital audiences’ (In press). Books, Publishing and Libraries Research Network. Imperial College, London.

Kiernan, A. and James, B. E. 2017.  ‘Reimagining book concepts for digital audiences: How Grief is The Thing With Feathers inspired a virtual reality story’ London Book Fair, Tech Theatre.

Kiernan, A. 2016. ‘The Killer and the Poet: Rethinking online writing’. National Association of Writers in Education conference, Stratford.

Kiernan, A. 2016. ‘Literary editors and peer-to-peer book reviewers: Rethinking the role of cultural intermediaries in a socially networked age’ (In press). Birkbeck College.

Kiernan, A. 2015. ‘Crowdsourcing and the social benefits of community publishing’. Beyond the Book conference, Sorbonne in Florence.

Kiernan, A. 2014. ‘Pick Me Up: Rethinking creative writing from a textural perspective’ (Published). Birkbeck College, Perversions of Paper.

Kiernan, A. 2014. Panel Chair, Haunted Landscapes conference, Falmouth University.

Kiernan, A. 2013. ‘A Voyage Round New Territory: Collaborative poetry of (and in) the Environment’.

Centre for Environmental Arts and Humanities symposium, Exeter University.

Kiernan, A. 2012. Researching Readers Online. Invited participant for the AHRC network symposium. Bournemouth University.

Kiernan, A. 2012 ‘Why has Arts Council funding for literature risen 9.9% amid the cuts?’ Book Cultures, Book Events, Stirling University.

Kiernan, A. 2010.  ‘Museum Lives at The Natural History Museum’ and preview of the film I directed.

MGHG Museums and Biographies conference, The National Gallery.

Research through practice

My research focuses on questions of participation, identity, community and creativity in relation to writing culture and cultural value and book publishing. I am also passionate about working on projects and in consultancy roles which focus on ways in which the creative industries can act as a catalyst for social change. 

As a doctoral researcher based in the Department of English and Creative Writing, and as an academic based in the Department of Communications, Drama and Film, my research focuses on ways to write, create and represent engaging stories across artforms and disciplines. The title of my PhD by publication is 'Content: Exploring the theory and practice(s) of literary media in a changing publishing marketplace.'

As a communications strategist, my consultancy work centres on the literary industries, brand storytelling and partnership brokering for organisational change. From 2016-2019 I delivered bespoke training and campaign consultancy in London, for communications departments at organisations such as The Guardian, Everyman Cinema and Lush Cosmetics and for government agencies (DEFRA and the Department for Transport).

I was awarded funding from The Regional Development Fund in Cornwall in 2014 to set up a start-up offering business communications services (Thread), then became Creative and Editorial Director at Stranger Collective, a creative content studio, in 2016.

I took over as publisher at The Literary Platform (TLP), a digital publishing agency, in 2019 and, after receiving funding from Arts Council England. TLP works with critically acclaimed writers and artists and is supported by an editorial and innovation advisory board that includes senior academics from the London College of Communication, Falmouth University, Lincoln University and Stirling University, among others:

Previously, The Literary Platform was selected for the British Council Creative Economy’s list of Top Ten UK Creative Entrepreneurs  and for the Guardian Professional/h.Club 100 list of ‘most innovative and influential’ in the creative industries.  In 2015, TLP collaborated on a research project led by Nesta, and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), to identify creative industries partnerships in China.

Indicative funded activities

1. As the incoming Publisher at The Literary Platform (TLP), an internationally renowned agency working with books and technology, I was awarded £44800 in funding from Arts Council England in 2019. 

Working in collaboration with two creative agencies (Stranger Collective and Venn Creative) we relaunched the platform with an emphasis on cross-disciplinary storytelling (through writing, illustration, photography and film), sharing knowledge and acting as a creative bridge for new writing talent, particularly among emerging underrepresented writers in the South West. From our online journal The Lit, to our workshops and events, everything we do is designed to offer insight, opportunity and access for the individuals and businesses interested in shaping what publishing means today and tomorrow.

2. For ‘And the memory fills all space’, I directed a virtual reality storytelling project with Jotta, a creative agency specializing in digital installation design. The project was funded by The Culture Capital Exchange in 2016 and featured an exhibition in the Bussey Building, in London.

3. Museum Lives was awarded £260,000 by the AHRC for Museum Lives (2008-2011). As Co-Investigator in this Knowledge Transfer Partnership, my work included conducting oral history interviews and contributing to the creation of a detailed historical record as well as creating a host of multimedia resources for The Natural History Museum’s exhibitions and education work and presenting findings at The National Gallery.

Indicative exhibitions and performances 

-- ‘And the memory fills all space’. Bussey Building, London.  With Jotta. Part-funded by ACE & The Cultural Capital Exchange (2018).

--  The Enemies Project: Contemporary Poetry in Collaboration. With Andrew Fentham. Funded by Arts Council England (2016).

-- ‘The Museum of Momentos’, Cultshare Summer Show. Exhibition essay featured in Moth (2015).

-- Poems and illustrations from Pick Me Up (illustrated by Harriet Lee-Merrion) exhibited at Falmouth Art Gallery & at the Tiny Pencil exhibition As Above, So Below (2014).

-- 'Pick Me Up: Poems and Extracts from Briefing Notes and Exchanges' is a dialogue between illustrations and poems excerpted from my poetry chapbook Pick Me Up (Atlantic Press Books, 2014) and exhibited / published online in MAI journal. 

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External impact and engagement

Contribution to discipline

External appointments

2017  –  2020

Kingston University

External Examiner, MFA Creative Writing


Advisory Board

Books, Publishing & Libraries Research Network


Advisory Board

Humanities Research Network


Westminster University

External Subject Specialist Adviser (postgraduate professional communication cluster)

2012 – 2017

Arts Council England

Artistic Assessor (literature and museums and galleries)

2014 – 2016

Cornwall Film Festival


2012 – 2015

Arts Council Wales

National Adviser (funding and strategy)

Judge: Creative Wales Awards

2009 – 2012

One World Media

Steering group

2007 – 2010

Westminster University

External Examiner, Media Studies Board

2006 – 2009

Welsh Books Council

Panel member (funding advisor)

I am also a contributing editor to MAI: Feminism & Visual Culture, a peer reviewed international journal.



I write and edit regularly for The Literary Platform and our work is often featured in the trade, regional and specialist press and on the BBC. In the past, I have contributed to The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement and The Bookseller, among other periodicals. 

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I am committed to research-led, practice-based teaching, which draws on and reflects my experience of working in the communications and cultural industries for over 20 years. 

I am currently chief external examiner at Westminster University (PR & Communications). 

I have been awarded Staff Excellence Awards at Falmouth University and Kingston University and was recently awarded a Silver Award for Excellence at the University of Exeter. 

I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA).

Modules taught

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I was born and brought up in Wales and attended the local bilingual comprehensive school. I read English at Sussex University and then worked in publishing in London, and became a fiction editor at Simon & Schuster at 24. I then gained an MA in Arts Criticism from the School of Arts Policy and Management at City University while freelancing as a writer and editor.

My first academic job was at Kingston University, where I co-founded the MA in Publishing. I then worked at Falmouth University, variously as Course Leader of the BA in Journalism, Head of the Department of Writing and Senior Lecturer in Writing. 

Previously, I was Creative and Editorial Director at Stranger Collective, a creative content studio, and delivered consultancy and training at creative agency YCN, to clients such as The Guardian and The Department for Transport.

I now work as a publisher and communications consultant alongside my work as co-director of the MA Creativity: Innovation and Business Strategy at the University of Exeter. 

Over the last few years, I have also served as a National Advisor for the Arts Council of Wales, an artistic assessor for Arts Council England and a Trustee for the Cornwall Film Festival.

For more on my working life and approach, see also:

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