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Dr Melanie Otto, M.A. (Mainz), Ph.D. (Wales)Assistant Professor; Visiting Student Co-ordinator (Incoming)

I received my first degree from Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz, majoring in English and minoring in Philosophy and Comparative Literature. I graduated in 1998, writing my MA dissertation on the novels of Ben Okri. In 2003, I completed a PhD on the work of Caribbean poet Kamau Brathwaite at Swansea University. Since 2003, I have been lecturer in the School of English at Trinity College. I was Director of the MPhil in Literatures of the Americas for several years, and I currently act as Coordinator of Visiting Students.


My teaching interests cover all major aspects of postcolonial studies with a particular focus on Caribbean literature, settler colonialism, Indigenous studies, and comparative American literatures. I coordinate and teach the Senior Fresh module “Postcolonial Literature: An Introduction to Key Debates and Texts” and the Sophister option “The Pain of Unbelonging: Writing from Canada, South America, and Australasia.” I teach several sessions on the core courses of the School’s MPhil in Modern and Contemporary Literature as well as the MPhil option “Caribbean Literature.”

Students who completed their PhDs under my supervisions have worked on Elizabeth Bowen and Jean Rhys, Maeve Brennan, and black gay male identity in the Black Atlantic. I currently supervise PhD projects on a range of postcolonial topics, including the short fiction of Jean Rhys, the writings of Chimamanda Adichie, symbolic (dis)order in the works of Walcott, Adonis and Yeats, and rape culture in British and American women’s writing and art. I welcome research proposals from prospective students and postdoctoral scholars on any aspect of postcolonial literature.


My primary research is in postcolonial and Caribbean studies with a particular focus on the connections between literature and visual art. My first monograph on the visual poetry of Kamau Brathwaite, A Creole Experiment, was published with Africa World Press in 2009, laying the groundwork for the subsequent direction of my research. I currently work on a monograph that looks at how artists from the postcolonial world engage with the primacy of writing over the visual image.


Monographs and Edited Collections

  • A Creole Experiment: Utopian Space in Kamau Brathwaite's 'video-style' Works, Africa World Press, 2009.

  • Caribbean Quarterly: Irish-Caribbean Connections, special double issue 64.3/4 (2018): 377-586 (guest-edited with Lee M. Jenkins).

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Reading the Colonial Archive through Joscelyn Gardner’s Creole Portraits I-III,” pp. 409-425 in Caribbean Literature in Transition 1800-1920, edited by Evelyn O’Callaghan and Tim Watson, Cambridge University Press, 2020.

  • “‘Other Ways of Being’: Ray Bradbury’s ‘The April Witch’ in Conversation with Jamaica Kincaid’s “In the Night” and Leonora Carrington’s “The Seventh Horse,” pp. 91-107 in Exploring the Horror of Supernatural Fiction: Ray Bradbury’s Elliott Family, edited by Steve Gronert Ellerhoff, Miranda Corcoran, Routledge, 2020.

  • “’I’m a believer in the dance of change’ – Metamorphosis and Mutation in Keri Hulme’s Short Fiction,” pp. 71-86 in Postcoloniality, Diaspora and Globalization: What’s Next?, edited by Ashmita Khasnabish, Rowman & Littlefield, 2020.

  • “Reading the Plantation Landscape of Barbados: Kamau Brathwaite's The Namsetoura Papers and  Annalee Davis's This Ground Beneath My Feet: A Chorus of Bush in Rab Lands, Journal of West Indian Literature 25.1 (2017): 23-44.

  • “Poet-Shamanic Aesthetics in the Work of Gloria Anzaldúa and Wilson Harris: A Critique of Postcolonial Reason,” CLR James Journal 23.1/2 (2017): 135-156.

  • “‘Figures in a Foreign Landscape’: Aspects of Liminality in Shaun Tan’s The Arrival,” pp. 137-151 in Landscapes of Liminality: Between Space and Place, edited by Dara Downey, Ian Kinane, Elizabeth Parker, Rowman and Littlefield Limited, 2016.

  • “‘That Misty Zone Which Divides Life From Death’: The Concept of the Zombi in Jean Rhys's Short Fiction,’ pp. 151-167 in Kerry Johnson and Mary Wilson, Rhys Matters: New Critical Perspectives, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.


Dr Melanie Otto
Room 4009
Arts Building
Trinity College
Dublin 2
Telephone: + 353 1 896 1355


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