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Dr Rob Magnuson Smith

Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing

01326 371889

01326 371889

Rob Magnuson Smith is a novelist and short story writer. His 2010 debut novel The Gravedigger (UNO Press) won the Pirate's Alley William Faulkner Award and was followed by Scorper (Granta Books) in 2015. His latest novel Seaweed Rising (Sandstone Press) appears in October 2023. His short fiction appears widely and was awarded the 2015 Australian Book Review Elizabeth Jolley Prize (also longlisted for the 2016 Times EFG Short Story Award). Rob has written investigative journalism for publications including the Guardian, Granta and Playboy. He is Senior Lecturer in the Humanities and Director of Global Engagement at the Cornwall campus.

Research interests

  • Contemporary fiction
  • Narratives of graveyards, memorials and epitaphs
  • International literature in translation
  • Dark comedy
  • Nineteenth century Russian literature
  • Animals in literature
  • Eco-fiction and environmental criticism
  • American transcendentalist literature



Rob is co-director of the Creative Writing Programme at Exeter University. As Senior Lecturer in English and Creative Writing at the Penryn campus, Rob teaches a wide range of modules including Short Fiction, Creative Writing Dissertation, Foundations, Reinventions, Modernism to the Contemporary, and Critical Theory. He also supervises a number of doctoral students in Creative Writing.


Rob Magnuson Smith is a novelist, short story writer and investigative journalist. He holds a BA in philosophy and a BA in psychology (double honours) from Pitzer College in Claremont, California, an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia (David Higham Award) and a PhD in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University (International Doctoral Research Fellow).

Rob's debut novel The Gravedigger was published in 2010 after winning the Pirate's Alley William Faulkner Award. His second novel Scorper was published by Granta in 2015. The Independent called Scorper 'an odd, original, darkly comic novel...Kafka crossed with Flann O'Brien'. His third novel Seaweed Rising is published by Sandstone Press in October 2023.

His short fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, GrantaThe Clearing, the Guardian, The Literarian, Fiction International, The Reader, The Istanbul Review, The Greensboro Review, Guillemot Press and the Australian Book Review after winning the Elizabeth Jolley Award. Rob has written investigative journalism on Soviet-era primate hybridization experiments, the scientific search for alien life, and the book repository underpinning the Internet Archive. In 2016 he was Writer-in-Residence at The Eden Project. In June of 2018 he was an Arts Fellow in the Arctic Circle Residency. In 2021 he was Writer in Residence at the Museum of Life Sciences at Kings College London.

Rob is Senior Lecturer in Humanities at Exeter’s Cornwall campus and teaches on the new Environmental Humanities degree. He also supervises a number of undergraduate and postgraduate Creative Writing dissertations. In 2019/20 he was Visiting Professor of Environmental Writing at Vassar College in New York.

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