Browser does not support script.

Staff Profile

Dr Sarah Lawson Welsh

Associate Professor and Reader in English and Postcolonial Literatures

I gained a first-class degree in English and American Literature at the University of Kent in 1987 where I met (and was inspired by) a number of emerging young Caribbean writers. I went straight on to the newly founded Centre for Caribbean Studies at the University of Warwick where I researched the politics of non-standard language use in literary texts from the UK and the Caribbean. In 1991, I was one of the first to graduate from the Centre with a PhD in Caribbean Studies (Language and Literature of the Anglophone Caribbean).

Since then I have taught at the Universities of Hull, Warwick, Northampton and York St John (twice, from 1992 to 1997 and from 2005 to the present). I have won travel grants to research in the Caribbean and have been asked to give keynotes or guest lectures on topics relating to Food Studies, Black British and Caribbean literatures at Universities in the Caribbean, Germany, Belgium, Mallorca and Sri Lanka, as well as for the British Council in Estonia as part of 'British Week'.

My main research interests are in Caribbean Food Studies and in contemporary postcolonial writing and cultures, especially Caribbean, Black British and women's writing. I also have interests in postcolonial pedagogies. My latest research centres on the interplay between food and culture in Caribbean and diasporic contexts, with particular interests in cookery writing and questions of 'authenticity', culinary versions of 'nation', oral history and culinary transmission and food hierarchies and social order in early accounts of and in the Caribbean.


I teach on all levels of the BA (Hons) English Literature and Joint Honours undergraduate programmes and on the MA in Contemporary Literature at York St John University. My specialist courses include Writing the Caribbean, Canonicity: Making and Breaking the Canon and Postcolonial Literature (M level).

I am also an experienced senior supervisor for PhD students at York St John University. I have supervised doctoral theses on Caribbean, Canadian, Indian and Sri Lankan writers, on Victorian writing, the poetry of Ted Hughes and on Foucaultian readings of business leadership literature. I currently supervise theses on Victorian Women's Writing, Friendship and the History of Emotions, genre and the writings of China Mieville and 'Corporeal Histories' in the work of recent African-American male writers.

I would particularly welcome postgraduate research student applications in the fields of Caribbean literature, Postcolonial writing and/or food studies.


My main research interests are in contemporary postcolonial writing and cultures, especially Caribbean, Black British and Women’s writing and postcolonial pedagogies, with a particular focus on the emergent area of Caribbean Food Studies.

My latest monograph, Food, Text and Culture in the Anglophone Caribbean, is published by Rowman and Littlefield in July 2019. Drawing on a rich and varied tradition of Caribbean writings, Food, Text and Culture shows how the creation of food and the creation of narrative are intimately linked cultural practices which can tell us much about each other. Historically, Caribbean writers have explored, defined and re-affirmed their different cultural, ethnic, caste, class and gender identities by writing about what, when and how they eat. Images of feeding, feasting, fasting and other food rituals and practices, as articulated in a range of Caribbean writings, constitute a powerful force of social cohesion and cultural continuity. Moreover, food is often central to the question of what it means to be Caribbean, especially in diasporic and globalized contexts.

This research is part of an ongoing cluster of publications and includes the 'Culinary Cultures; Food and the Postcolonial' Special issue of Journal of Postcolonial Writing which I guest edited in 2018, the QR funded 'Kitchen Talk’ oral history project working with Barbadian and British-West Indian women in the summer of 2018, my 2018 article on Mrs Yearwood's West Indian Recipes, the earliest extant Barbadian cookbook and a specially commissioned chapter 'Caribbean Cravings' for the Routledge Companion to Literature and Food (2018).

I have published widely on Caribbean and Black British writing with recent commissioned book chapters included in major reference texts published by Cambridge University Press. These include chapters on Black British Poetry (2015), Vernacular Voices: Language politics in Black and British Asian writing (2019) and on Black British writing (2020).



  • 2021: (Twenty-First Century Global Literatures: the Caribbean (London and New York, Routledge). 
  • Food, Text and Culture in the Anglophone Caribbean (Rowman and Littlefield: 2019).
  • Rerouting the Postcolonial: New Directions for a New Millennium, (co-edited with Janet Wilson and Cris Sandru) (Taylor & Francis: 2011).
  • Grace Nichols (Northcote Press and the British Council: 2007), the first monograph exclusively focusing on this prolific Black-British/Guyanese author.
  • The Routledge Reader in Caribbean Literature (co-edited with Alison Donnell) (Routledge: 1996),

Selected chapters

2021 (commissioned): ‘Global Food and Literature: Experiments in Decolonizing the Curriculum’ in Charlotte Beyer Ed. Decolonizing the Curriculum, in the Palgrave ‘Teaching the New English’ Series on Higher Education Pedagogy.

2020 (commissioned): ‘British Caribbean Connections’ in volume 3 of Caribbean Literature in Transition, edited by Alison Donnell and Ronald Cummings (Cambridge University Press).

2020 (commissioned): ‘Vernacular Voices: Black British Poetry’ in Susheila Nasta and Mark Stein (Eds) The Cambridge History of Black and British Asian Writing, Chapter 20 (Cambridge University Press).

2020: “This is London, this is Life”: Migrant Experiences of Time and Space in Sam Selvon's The Lonely Londoners (1956)’ in Anne-Marie Evans and Kaley Kramer eds, Strange Phenomena:  Time, the City and the Literary Imagination.

2019: 'Black British writing' in Ronald Cummings and Alison Donnell eds. Caribbean Literature in Transition, vol. 3 (Cambridge University Press).

2019: ‘Vernacular Voices: Black British Poetry’ in Susheila Nasta and Mark Stein (Eds) The Cambridge History of Black and British Asian British Writing, Chapter 20. (Cambridge University Press).

2018: ‘Manifestos of Intent and Disavowal: Anthologizing Black British Women’s Poetry’, in Vedrana Velickovic (Ed.) She Tries Her Tongue: Black British Women’s Writing (Palgrave Macmillan).

2018: ‘Caribbean Cravings: Food and Literature in the Anglophone Caribbean’, in Donna Brien and Lorna Fiatti-Parnell (Eds) The Routledge Companion to Food and Literature (Routledge).

2015: ‘Black British Poetry’, in Edward Larrissy (Ed.) The Cambridge Companion to British Poetry 1945-2010 (Cambridge University Press), pp. 178-96.         

2014: ‘Performing Cross-cultural culinary discourse: the Case of Levi Roots’ in Anne Bruske et al (Eds), Caribbean Food Cultures: Performances of Eating, Drinking and Consumption in the Caribbean and its Diasporas (Germany: Transcript Verlag).

2013: ‘"Excuse me, sir, what does it mean, "to kiss"?’: Thinking beyond Universalism and Eurocentric Ideas of Love’ in Gary and Fiona Peters (Eds), Thoughts on Love (Cambridge Scholars Press).

2012: ‘Bodies, Texts and Theories: Teaching Gender within Postcolonial Studies’ in Alice Ferrebe and Fiona Tolan (Eds) Teaching Gender (Palgrave Macmillan ‘Teaching the New English Series’), General editor, Ben Knights, pp.138-157.

2003: ‘”Out From Under the Shadow of Jean”: Critical Bias and Critical Neglect in the Construction of a Tradition of Caribbean Women’s Writing: The Case of Elma Napier’, in Joan Anim-Addo (Ed.) Centre of Remembrance: Memory and Caribbean Women's Literature (London, Mango Publishing), pp.134-44.

2001: ‘Imposing Narratives: European incursions and intertexts in Pauline Melville’s The Ventriloquist’s Tale’, in Gerhard Stiltz (Ed.) Dependence, Independence and Interdependence at the Threshold of the 21st Century (London and New York, Rodopi Press).

2001: ‘Making with their Rhythms something torn and new: the literatures of Jamaica and Trinidad’, in James Arnold and Vera Kutzinski (Eds) A History of Literature in the Caribbean, Volume II (New York and Amsterdam, Benjamins).

2000: ‘”Out in the Open”: ‘Under-represented Sexualities in Shani Mootoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night and Lawrence Scott’s Aelred’s Sin’, in H. Cynthia Wyatt (Ed.) The Vitality of West Indian Literature: Caribbean and Indian Essays (Mysore, India: Dvanyaloka Publications), pp.208-23.

1998: ‘The Shape-Shifting Fictions of Pauline Melville’ in Mary Conde and Thorunn Lonsdale (Eds.) Caribbean Women Writers: Fiction in English (Basingstoke, Macmillan), pp.144-171.

1997: ‘Experiments in Brokenness: The Creative Use of Creole in David Dabydeen’s Slave Song’, in Kevin Grant (Ed.) The Art of David Dabydeen (Leeds, Peepal Tree Press), pp.27-46.

1997: ‘(Un) belonging Citizens - Unmapped Territory: Immigration and Black British Identity in the post 1945 period’, in Stuart Murray (Ed.) Not On Any Map - Essays on Postcoloniality and Cultural Nationalism (Exeter, Exeter University Press), pp.43-66.

1996: ‘Experiments in Brokenness: The Creative Use of Creole in David Dabydeen’s Slave Song’, in Alison Donnell and Sarah Lawson Welsh (Eds) The Routledge Reader in Caribbean Literature (London and New York, Routledge), pp.416-424.

1996: ‘New Wine in New Bottles: The Critical Reception of West Indian Writing in Britain in the 1950s and the early 1960s’ in Alison Donnell and Sarah Lawson Welsh (Eds) The Routledge Reader in Caribbean Literature (London and New York, Routledge, pp.261-268.

Selected journal articles

2024 (forthcoming): Guest Editor of Special Issue on Caribbean Literature, Yearbook in English Studies.

2022 (forthcoming): Guest Editor of Special Issue on Caribbean Literature Now: Critical Interventions and Literary Activism, Humanities

2021 (forthcoming): ‘Jay Bernard’s Surge: Archival Interventions in Black British Poetry’, in Special Issue on Contemporary Black British Women’s Writing, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Writing, edited by Elisabeth Bekkers and Helen Cousins.

2021 (forthcoming): Co-Guest Editor of Special Issue on ‘Andrea Levy: In Memoriam’, ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature, includes a peer-reviewed article by myself on ‘Reading Against the Grain’: Teaching The Long Song (2010) intertextually.’ ARIEL is currently ranked 125/733 and in the 82nd percentile for Literature and Literary Theory on SCOPUS.

2021: ‘On ’Membering Austin Clarke’, Canadian Literature.

2018 (Editor): Special issue of Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 54.4; includes article by myself: ‘If I could mix drinks like my grandfather I would be worth marrying’: Reading race, class and gender in Mrs H. Graham Yearwood’s West Indian and Other Recipes (1911 and 1932).

2017: ‘On the “Not Translated”: Rethinking Translation and Food in Cross-Cultural Contexts: A response to ‘Translation and Food: the case of mestizo writers’ by Ma Carmen Africa Vidal Claramonte and Pamela Faber, Journal of Multicultural Discourses (September 2017).

2013: ‘A Table of Plenty’: Representations of food and social order in early Caribbean writing, Caryl Phillip’s Cambridge (1991) and Andrea Levy’s The Long Song (2010); in Entertext, 10.13. Caribbean special issue, edited by Sandra Courtman and Wendy Knepper.

2001: 'The West Indies’, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 2001 (XXXVI/3).

2000: ‘”Out in the Open”: ‘Under-represented Sexualities in Shani Mootoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night and Lawrence Scott’s Aelred’s Sin’The Literary Criterion (India), Special issue on Caribbean Literature.

2000: ‘The West Indies’, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature (XXXV/3).

1999: ‘The West Indies’, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature (XXXIV/3).

1998: ‘Critical Myopia and Black British Literature: Reassessing the literary contribution of the post-Windrush generation(s)’, Kunapipi, XXI/1, (Special Windrush Commemoration Edition: 1948-98), pp.132-142.

1998: ‘The West Indies’, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature (XXXIII/3).

1997: ‘The West Indies’, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature (XXXII/3)

1996: ‘The West Indies’, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature (XXXI/3)

Professional activities

I am a founding member and co-editor of the leading international journal, Journal of Postcolonial Literature (Taylor and Francis). JPW was launched in 2005 and is devoted to the study of global literature in English. The journal explores the interface between the postcolonial writing of the modern global era and the economic forces of production which increasingly commodify culture, as well as the reshaping of inner maps of the metropolis through the ethnic, diasporic voices and the alternative and interstitial modes of writing associated with the new margins. JPW is published 6 times per year and is Thomson Reuter Arts and Humanities Citation indexed, the key stamp for journals in this area. 

Editorial board membership

  • World Literature Written in English
  • Journal of Postcolonial Writing
  • Journal of Contemporary Literature (India)

Specialist peer reviewer, journals

  • Ariel: A Review of International English Literature (Canada)
  • Journal of Caribbean Studies (Texas, USA)
  • Wadabagei: A Journal of the Caribbean and its Global Diasporas (USA)
  • Contemporary Women’s Writing (UK)
  • Journal of Commonwealth Literature (UK)
  • Journal of Multicultural Discourses (China/UK)
  • Entertext (online journal)

Publishing houses/other

  • The Collegium of African American Research (CAAR) Forum for European Contributions to African American Studies (FORECAAST) series, Liverpool University Press
  • Palgrave Macmillan (UK)
  • Routledge (New York)
  • Northcote House ‘Writers and Their Work’ series (UK)
  • The Literary Encyclopedia (online resource)


  • April 2019: Consultant for the article by Chante Joseph, Confronting the Colonial Past of Jamaica's Hard Dough Bread, Vice munchies
  • 2012: Consultant for BBC TV Programme Who Do You Think You Are
  • 2002 to 2004: Invited specialist consultant and member of International Editorial Advisory Board for Dean Baldwin and Patrick Quinn eds A Primer in Postcolonial Theory and An Anthology of Postcolonial Fiction, 2004. (Houghton M, USA)

International conference organisation

  • 2018: Culinary Cultures: Continuing the Conversation (York St John University)
  • 2017 (sole convenor): Northern Postcolonial Network biennial symposium: Culinary Cultures: Food and the Postcolonial (York St John University)
  • 2014 (co-convenor): Annual Global Studies Association Conference: Cultural Encounters: Cosmopolitanism and Globalization (York St John University)
  • 2007 (co-convenor): Roots and Routes: Rerouting the Postcolonial (University of Northampton)
  • 2003 (co-convenor): Outside the Whale: Literature, Globalization and the Postcolonial (University of Northampton)

Professional accreditation

I am as Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

External engagement

I am an invited member of the AHRC network 'Caribbean Coastal Resilience'.

I have acted as an External Examiner for PHDs at Newcastle, Leeds Beckett and Huddersfield Universities as well as for the Discipline of English at the Institute of Technology, Indore, India. I have also acted as an external examiner for undergraduate degrees in English at Leeds Beckett University and Solent University, Southampton.

July 2018: Caribbean Food and Literature, Beyond the Vote public event, York St John University.

20 June 2018: Reading race, gender and class in Mrs Yearwood's West Indian Recipes Barbados Museum and Historical Society, Bridgetown, Barbados.

10 June 2017: York Festival of Ideas: ‘A Short History of the Cooking Pot: an introduction to Caribbean food and storytelling’ (interactive talk).

21 March 2017: York Literature Festival (talk): ‘Life of Kenyan Novelist Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye’.

8 March 2017: ‘The Power to be what I am’: workshop on Black British Women’s Poetry, Celebrating Women’s Voices event for International Women’s Day event at York St John University.

15 February 2017: Coffeehouse talk in association with York City Library for LGBT week: ‘Queering the Folk: LGBT Caribbean and Black British writers’.

November 2013: 'Put some music in your Food: Tradition, 'Authenticity' and the case of Levi Roots', International Centre for Arts and Narrative, Food and Narrative event. Theatre Royal, York.