Emily Jeremiah

Emily Jeremiah


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Personal profile

Personal profile


Emily Jeremiah studied French and German at Exeter College, Oxford, and was awarded a PhD by Swansea University. Prof Jeremiah taught at Helsinki University in Finland and at Goldsmiths, University of London, before joining Royal Holloway in 2007 as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. She was Lecturer from 2009 to 2013 then Senior Lecturer from 2013 to 2018, when she was promoted to Professor of Contemporary Literature and Gender Studies.

Prof Jeremiah has published widely on literature, gender, and ethics. She is the author of three books: Troubling Maternity: Mothering, Agency, and Ethics in Women's Writing in German of the 1970s and 1980s (Maney/MHRA, 2003), Nomadic Ethics in Contemporary Women's Writing in German: Strange Subjects (Camden House, 2012) (see reviews below), and Willful Girls: Gender and Agency in Contemporary Anglo-American and German Fiction (2018) (see reviews below).

She is co-editor, with Frauke Matthes, of Ethical Approaches in Contemporary German-Language Literature and Culture (Edinburgh German Yearbook 7 2013) (see review below), and, with Gill Rye, Victoria Browne, Adalgisa Giorgio, and Abigail Lee Six, of Motherhood in Literature and Culture: Interdisciplinary Perspectives from Europe (Routledge, 2017).

Prof Jeremiah is also a prize-winning translator of Finnish poetry and fiction. With Fleur Jeremiah, she has co-translated four novels for Peirene Press, one of which, White Hunger by Aki Ollikainen, was long-listed for the Man Booker International Prize 2016. A fifth co-translated novel, Things that Fall from the Sky, by Selja Ahava, appeared with Oneworld in 2019 and was long-listed for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation 2020. Prof Jeremiah has translated three children's books from Finnish. She has also published two selections of Finnish poetry with Waterloo Press: Bright, Dusky, Bright, poems by Eeva-Liisa Manner (2009), and A Sure Star in a Moonless Night, poems by Sirkka Turkka (2013). She won joint third prize in the Stephen Spender Prize in 2008 and has published work in Books from Finland, Granta: Best of Young Finnish Novelists, Modern Poetry in Translation, and Words without Borders. Prof Jeremiah has acted as a judge for the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for Translation from the German on numerous occasions. 2020 saw the publication of a selection of poems by Pentti Saarikoski, A Window Left Open (Norvik Press), translated with Fleur Jeremiah.

Prof Jeremiah additionally holds an MA in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths, University of London, and is the recipient of a grant from Arts Council England. She is the author of two novellas: Blue Moments (Valley Press, 2020) and An Approach to Black (Reflex Press, 2021).


Reviews of Nomadic Ethics:

[T]hought-provoking and timely . . . . [P]rovides invigorating new perspectives . . ., while at the same time staging mutually illuminating encounters between contemporary theory and literature which in turn shed light on pressing ethical questions. MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW

[O]ffers scholars a productive and flexible analytical multi-tool to grapple with some of the more challenging and unsettling aspects of the current age as they are addressed in literary texts. . . . With its innovative theoretical approach and robust bibliography, it will prove valuable to scholars and students concerned with feminist literary criticism, ethics, epistemology, phenomenology, postmemory, Women's and Gender Studies, and Queer Studies. STUDIES IN 20TH & 21ST CENTURY LITERATURE

[A]mbitious and well-founded . . . . offers a convincing analysis of an impressive range of literary texts as well as a superbly argued discussion of important topics and concerns. It is an excellent literary investigation that should be of interest to scholars beyond the narrow confines of German studies. Jeremiah's study proves the immense value of interdisciplinary work. It successfully borrows terms and methods from other disciplines like gender and queer studies, philosophy, and Jewish studies; at the same time, it proves the relevance of German studies for these disciplines. TULSA STUDIES IN WOMEN'S LITERATURE

[C]ontributes to the growing body of research on nationality and gender in German literature in an innovative and insightful way. . . . [A]n insightful and wide-ranging study. SEMINAR

This is a serious and important contribution to questions of German identity, postmodern ethics, postmemory and gender. . . . [It] goes beyond its own stated theoretical paradigm to offer a profoundly original and diverse set of readings of contemporary German women's writing and a rigorous critique of contemporary feminist theory. It will be invaluable to scholars, teachers and students in the field alike. JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN STUDIES

[O]ffers detailed and very insightful interpretations . . . . A perceptive, nuanced study. Recommended. CHOICE

[T]his is a fascinating book . . . an interesting and informative read for those interested in women's writing in general and in the female experience of changing notions of community and identity. JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES

Reviews of Willful Girls:

Jeremiah’s methodology is both comparative and connective: it makes strategic use of feminist polemical texts circulated across borders to contend that activism is both transnational and locally specific. Jeremiah’s narration is lucid, cogent, and conversational, beginning with a synoptic reading of the various novels, and culminating in a sustained critical engagement with their various thematic issues. CONTEMPORARY WOMEN'S WRITING

Emily Jeremiah builds a sturdy, comprehensive base of cultural and scholarly reference points, beginning with Simone de Beauvoir's observation that one is not born but rather becomes a woman. Her introduction thoroughly maps out various notions of “becoming” within a neoliberal, postfeminist landscape, with the following areas of focus: agency and volition, body and beauty, sisterhood and identification, and sex and desire. Sara Ahmed's notion of willfulness remains a touchstone throughout the entire volume, which facilitates nuanced understandings of these categories in the myriad texts that Jeremiah examines.  THE GERMAN QUARTERLY

By traversing between texts and topics, Jeremiah produces a complex and compelling analysis of her chosen works... Willful Girls is an intricate and important work of literary criticism which will be of interest to scholars, students, and those curious about contemporary feminisms across national and linguistic boundaries. MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW

Review of Ethical Approaches:

[A] well-conceived and timely volume. . . . [O]ne of the book's greatest strengths is that, despite its compactness, it manages to cover a great number and a large variety of both familiar and less-known voices. . . . [It is] is a useful, and for the most part inspirational, opening to an important (and as yet under-researched) dimension in our understanding of contemporary German-language literature and film. . . . [I]t is well edited, tightly focused, and a credit to the Edinburgh German Yearbook series in which it appears. MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW [Stuart Taberner]

Memberships and Affiliations:

Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy

Steering Committee Member, Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing (CCWW), Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies, School of Advanced Study, University of London

Member, Editorial Board, Studies in Contemporary Women’s Writing (CCWW/Peter Lang)

Member, Editorial Board, Feminist German Studies

Member, Advisory Network, Women: A Cultural Review

Member, Advisory Committee, Avain (Journal of the Finnish Literature Society)

Member, Association for German Studies

Member, Women in German Studies

Member, Society of Authors 

Member, Translators Association



Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


  • Nationality, gender, sexuality, mothering, ethics, theory