School of English and Drama Year in Review 2021

Thanks to all of our students, staff and friends for their support in this tough year. We have had some highlights even in these times and want to take a pause to reflect…

1. Guardian Good University Guide Success

The School of English and Drama has been named #2 for Drama, #6 for Creative Writing and #25 for English in the latest Times Good University Guide 2022.

2. Mojisola Adebayo wins Alfred Fagon Award

Mojisola won the prestigious award for her play ‘Family Tree’ which premiered at Greenwich + Docklands International Festival 2021 in September. We took first year drama students, alumni and ambassadors to the show which tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, whose cells were harvested without her permission and used until now in science experiments.

3. Isabel Waidner wins Goldsmiths Prize

Isabel Waidner won the Goldsmiths Prize for their novel Sterling Karat Gold.

4. Martin O’Brien becomes a Leverhulme Fellow

Martin O’Brien in ‘The Last Breath Society (Coughing Coffin)’ performed at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, August 2021, image by Holly Revell.

Dr Martin O’Brien from the School of English and Drama has been announced as a winner of the 2021 Leverhulme prize. Dr O’Brien’s work explores the performance and representation of illness and disability and stems from his experience of living with a severe chronic illness.

5. Lois Weaver performed Last Gasp: A Recalibration at Barbican

‘Returning to the stage after almost two years, two icons of lesbian-feminist theatre gather us in the same room, but not as the same people. Speaking directly, they question the demise of ageing bodies, civil conversation, and a sustainable planet. Shaw’s poetic musings are interspersed with Weaver’s micro dance essays in which she wryly upends ‘how to’ mania.’

Here’s a reflection from Lois and Peggy on 2021:

6. Warren Boutcher’s Text Dive Global projected awarded €2 Million

TextDiveGlobal will investigate multiple texts from around the continent and the world and will produce an interdisciplinary literary history of Europe and its global connections for the period between the mid-sixteenth and mid-seventeenth centuries.

And so much more

  • Solitudes Project wins Podcast Award at Lovie Awards.
  • High School Musical was performed by our Queen Mary Theatre Company.
  • Tiffany Watt Smith secured a new book contract with Faber.
  • Andrea Brady has had three books published in 2021 – check out her work on her website here.
  • Jerry Brotton’s fellowship at the University of Columbia next Autumn.
  • Micaela Signorelli’s CPE Large Grant of £10,000 to work with Shana Swiss and Stage 3 Company (in association with People’s Palace Projects).
  • Deven Parker and Michael Gamer have finally managed, amidst various Covid delays and archive closures, to finish photographing all of the playbills from the British Library that they require for the Romantic Melodrama project. The total image count is now around 160,000. Now all they have to do is find all of the melodramatic needles in that massive haystack.
  • Charlotte Jones ran a successful in-person Symposium on “The Paris Commune at 150” featuring a sparkling range of international speakers.
  • Isabel Rivers gave a paper on ‘Joseph Angus as Moral Philosophy Tutor at Stepney and Regent’s Park’ on 28 October 2021 to the online Opening the Angus Seminar at Regent’s Park College, Oxford.
  • Among its many successes this year, People’s Palace Projects (based at QMUL) were awarded £149,966 from AHRC for another phase of their work in Brazil’s Iron Quadrangle: “Roots of Resilience: building secure societies through preserving cultural heritage”

Did we miss a nice thing that happened in 2021? Leave a comment below…

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All Things SED Editor

I am the Web and Marketing Administrator in the School of English and Drama. Amongst my various roles, I run the School's website ( and its Twitter feed (@QMULsed). I also manage the running of the School's Open Days and draft promotional materials.

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