Date:October 25, 2012

Professor Clair Wills


Clair Wills is Professor of Irish Literature and teaches at Queen Mary University of London. She is the author of the critically acclaimed That Neutral Island: A Cultural History of Ireland during the Second World War. Wills presents a ‘vivid picture of a little country that tried to stay out of the war, never quite succeeded and suffered ignominy in the process’.

Her Research interests include Twentieth Century Irish Culture; Contemporary British, Irish and American Poetry; Post-War British Cultural history.

Clair Wills’ research focuses on twentieth-century Irish literature and culture, and contemporary English, Irish and American poetry. Her most recent book, That Neutral Island, is a social and cultural history of Ireland during the Second World War, published by Faber and Harvard University Press in 2007. She edited the Contemporary Writing section of the Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, Volumes IV and V (Cork University Press, 2002). In addition to her books on Irish poetry (Improprieties: Politics and Sexuality in Northern Irish Poetry (1993), and Reading Paul Muldoon (1998)) she has published articles on poets such as Roy Fisher, Denise Riley, and Fanny Howe. She regularly reviews contemporary poetry for the Times Literary Supplement. Her current research, for which she has been awarded a British Academy Senior Research Fellowship, looks at cultural relations between Britain and Ireland in the 1950s. In collaboration with Dr Ian McBride of Kings College London, Clair Wills runs the interdisciplinary London Irish Studies Seminar at the Institute of English Studies, Senate House.


That Neutral Island: A Cultural History of Ireland during the Second World War (London, Faber and Faber and Boston, Harvard University Press, 2007)
General Editor (with Bourke, Kilfeather, Luddy, MacCurtain, Meaney, Ní Dhonnchadha, O’Dowd), The Field Day Anthology of Irish Women’s Writing and Traditions, vols 4-5 (Cork: Cork University Press in association with Field Day, 2002)
Edited and Introduced, ‘Contemporary Writing’, The Field Day Anthology, V, 1123-1674
Edited and Introduced, ‘Feminism, Culture and Critique’, The Field Day Anthology,v, 1578-1652
Edited and Introduced (with Ursula Barry), ‘The Republic of Ireland: The Politics of Sexuality 1965-1997’, The Field Day Anthology, V, 1409-1473
Edited and Introduced, ‘Ethnicities’, The Field Day Anthology,V, 1656-1673
‘The Aesthetics of Irish Neutrality during the Second World War’, Boundary 2 (special issue on Contemporary Irish Culture and Politics, ed by Seamus Deane and Kevin Whelan), 31:1 (Spring 2004), 119-146
‘Women, Domesticity and the Family: Recent Feminist Work in Irish Cultural Studies’, Cultural Studies (special issue on Ireland), 15:1 (2001), 33-57