Dr. Sarah Wood is the Head of the School of English.
Learn more about her background, her interests and what she enjoys about working for the School and the University.
What did you study at University?
My undergraduate degree was English with History; my MA is in Science Fiction and my PhD is on a contemporary African American writer of science fiction.
How did you become the Head of the School of English?
I’d been with the School of English for about eight years, first as a lecturer, then as the BA Course Director and when the previous Head left, I was fortunate enough to be able to take on the role.
How would you describe the School?
The best place to work. The staff and students are amazing and completely committed to learning and finding out new knowledge and ideas and sharing that with others.
How would you describe your staff?
Outstanding. They are brilliant teachers – generous with their time and their knowledge and deeply committed to sharing that with our students. They produce world-leading research and award-winning creative writing. It’s a pleasure to be part of this community.
What does your job involve?
Something different every day but, ultimately, I’m responsible for making sure that our students’ experience is the best it can be: that your courses are stimulating and exciting, that you’re challenged and pushed to do your very best work, that you’re taught in varied and innovative ways, that our staff produce excellent research and creative work and that the School is a vibrant and engaging community.
What’s your favourite thing about working for The School of English?
Easy – the people.
What have been your career highlights so far?
It’s a bit corny, but my highlights are the two days, every year, when I watch our students process across the stage at Symphony Hall during their graduation. It’s phenomenal to have been part of so many people’s journey and a real privilege to share that with them.
What are your specialist areas?
Science fiction, contemporary women’s writing, especially African American women’s writing but I also teach literary theory and children’s literature.
What are your research interests?
Contemporary speculative fiction. I like to think about the way writers use non-realist fiction to tell stories which make us think differently about our own world.
What can students look forward to the most when they join The School of English?
It’s hard to distil this into one thing. Coming to university is one of the most exciting, challenging, mildly scary and intensely stimulating time. You’ll leave as a different person. That’s probably the best thing: finding out who you can be.
How can future students prepare for University now?
Read. As much as you can. Practice reading critically; read things you wouldn’t usually pick up; read poetry, prose, drama and non-fiction. Read. Lots.
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