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Dr Guy Woodward

Research Associate

Research Associate in the Department of English Studies


About me

I am Research Associate on the project 'The SOE, Covert Action, and the British Cultural Imaginary', based in the Department of English Studies and funded by the Leverhulme Trust. The project is examining the cultural legacy of Britain's Special Operations Executive (SOE), a secret agency created to ‘set Europe ablaze’ during the Second World War. Our project blog can be found at:

From 2018-2022 I was Post-Doctoral Research Associate on the project ‘The Political Warfare Executive, Covert Propaganda and British Culture’, also based in the Department of English Studies and funded by the Leverhulme Trust. The project investigated the Political Warfare Executive (PWE), a secret service created by Britain during the war with the mission of spreading propaganda to enemy and enemy-occupied territories, and one which employed a host of significant authors in its campaigns. These included the novelists Muriel Spark, David Garnett, and Graham Greene; the poet Stephen Spender; the Bloomsbury writer Quentin Bell; and the historian A.J.P. Taylor. I edit the project blog at:

I studied English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford before completing an M. Phil. in Anglo Irish Literature at Trinity College Dublin, and subsequently a Ph.D. exploring the effects of the Second World War on literature and culture in Northern Ireland. This was followed by an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship from 2012-13. I have since lectured at universities in Ireland and in Mexico, and from 2017-18 I held an International Fellowship at the New Europe College in Bucharest, Romania.

My research interests lie in the intersections of literature, politics and international relations, with a particular focus on culture in Ireland and Britain during the mid-twentieth century and Second World War. My first book, Culture, Northern Ireland, and the Second World War (Oxford University Press, 2015) built on research for my doctoral thesis and argues that the war, as a unique interregnum in the history of Northern Ireland, challenged the entrenched political and social makeup of the province and had a profound effect on its cultural life.

In addition to my role at Durham I am working on a book entitled Imagining Yugoslavia in Mid-Century British and Irish Writing, which examines how and why writers in Britain and Ireland became involved in military and political debates around the fate of Yugoslavia during the Second World War and Cold War. The project addresses a series of major literary writers – Louis MacNeice, Anthony Powell, Rebecca West, Evelyn Waugh – as well as lesser-known texts and archival sources. An article arising from this project, examining the experiences of the Irish dramatist Denis Johnston in Yugoslavia during the Second World War was published by the Irish University Review in 2018.


Authored book

Book review

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

Supervision students