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About Dr Peter Blair

After taking his BA at the University of Oxford, and several years working in publishing, Peter gained his MA and PhD at the University of York. He did some of his doctoral research, into the liberal tradition in South African fiction, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban. He taught at the University of Chester as a Visiting Lecturer from 2002, before being appointed to a full-time permanent lectureship in 2006.

Peter is co-director of the International Flash Fiction Association, and co-editor of Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine and Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press.

He collaborates with colleagues Ashley Chantler and Ian Seed on a major Impact Research Project: ‘Flash Fiction: Inspiring, Developing, and Publishing Writers Across the UK and Around the Globe’.

He has peer-reviewed articles and books for leading journals and academic publishers, and is on the Editorial Board of University of Chester Press.

He has been a peer reviewer for South Africa’s National Research Federation (NRF), and an Expert Reviewer and member of an Expert Review Panel for research funding at Poland's National Science Centre (NCN).

Peter has also been External Advisor for BA English Literature and BA Creative Writing programmes at the University of Cumbria, and External Examiner for BA Creative Writing at the Open University (2015–19).

He is currently External Examiner for MA Creative Writing at the University of Chichester.

He is a member of the Postcolonial Studies Association (PSA), the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK), the European Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (EACLALS), the Northern Postcolonial Network, the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE), and the European Network for Short Fiction Research (ENSFR).

Teaching

Peter teaches on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in both English and Creative Writing. On the English programme, he specialises in 20th-century and postcolonial literatures.

Undergraduate:

On BA (Hons) Creative Writing and BA (Hons) English Literature, modules he teaches include:

  • The Empire Writes Back: Colonial and Postcolonial Literatures
  • South Africa in Literature and Film
  • Literature 1895–1960
  • Writing Poetry
  • An Introduction to Publishing
  • Flash Fiction

On the MA Creative Writing: Writing and Publishing Fiction, he teaches on

  • Writing Short Fiction for Publication
  • Getting Published
  • The Writing Project

He has also contributed to the MA Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture.

Postgraduate supervision:

He welcomes enquiries about research projects on:

  • South African literature in English
  • Colonial and postcolonial literature (especially fiction and other prose)
  • The short-short story
  • Flash Fiction

Also creative writing projects, especially:

  • Flash Fiction
  • Short-short stories
  • Short stories
  • Projects relating to South Africa or Northern Ireland

Research

I have two main research interests: South African literature in English, and flash fiction.

Click on the Publications tab for details of my journal articles, book chapters, reviews, presentations, creative writing, and editing.

I collaborate with my colleagues Ashley Chantler and Ian Seed on a major Impact Research Project: ‘Flash Fiction: Inspiring, Developing, and Publishing Writers Across the UK and Around the Globe’. For details, click here.

Published Work

Selected articles and chapters

  • ‘“Dizzy with the to-ing and fro-ing”: Diasporic prose of the “new South Africa”’, in Routledge Handbook of the New African Diasporic Literature, ed. Lokangaka Losambe and Tanure Ojaide (Routledge, forthcoming).
  • ‘Hyper-compression and the Rise of the Deep Surface: Flash Fiction in “Post-transitional” South Africa’, in The Short Story in South Africa: Contemporary Trends and Perspectives, ed. Rebecca Fasselt and Corinne Sandwith (Routledge, 2022), pp. 63–88. 
  • ‘Anglophone Literature of South Africa’, in A Companion to African Literatures, ed. Olakunle George (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2021), pp. 213–234.
  • ‘Hyper-compressions: The Rise of Flash Fiction in “Post-transitional” South Africa’, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 55:1 (March 2020), 38–60 [first published in the JCL online, July 2018].
  • 'Experience’s Potential and Potential Experiences: Subjectivity, Alterity, and Futurity in the Late-Apartheid Novels of Nadine Gordimer’, Commonwealth Essays and Studies, 41.2 (Spring 2019), 103–15.
  • ‘Gordimer, Nadine’, in The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies, ed. Sangeeta Ray and Henry Schwarz, 3 vols (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016), II, 657–60.
  • ‘Liberalism’, in The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies, ed. Sangeeta Ray and Henry Schwarz, 3 vols (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016), II, 952–58.
  • 'Flash Fiction', in Writers' and Artists' Yearbook 2016 (London: Bloomsbury, 2015), pp. 248-51.
  • ‘“As if on a magic carpet”: An Interview with Vanessa Gebbie’ [with Ashley Chantler], Short Fiction in Theory and Practice, 4:2 (2014), 233–39.
  • "A pop star trapped in the body of a flasher": An Interview with David Gaffney' [with Ashley Chantler], Short Fiction in Theory and Practice, 4:1 (2014), 125-30.
  • ‘The Liberal Tradition in Fiction', in The Cambridge History of South African Literature, ed. Derek Attridge and David Attwell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 474–99.
  • ‘That "Ugly Word": Miscegenation and the Novel in Pre-apartheid South Africa', Modern Fiction Studies, 49:3 (Fall 2003), 581-613.
  • ‘Of Lostness and Belonging: An Interview with John Conyngham', Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa, 15:1 (April 2003), 74-90.

Reviews

  • ‘Michelle Elvy, Frankie McMillan, and James Norcliffe (eds), Bonsai: Best Small Stories from Aotearoa New Zealand’, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine (forthcoming).
  • South African London: Writing the Metropolis after 1948, by Andrea Thorpe’, Modern Language Review, 118:3 (July 2023), 379–81.
  • ‘Grant Faulkner, Lynn Mundell, and Beret Olsen (eds), Nothing Short Of: Selected Tales from 100 Word Story’, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, 11:2 (Oct. 2018), 69–70.
  • ‘Jan Carson, Postcard Stories’, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, 11:1 (April 2018), 89–90.
  • ‘Stacy Hardy, Because the Night’, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, 9:2 (Oct. 2016), 79–80.
  • ‘Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Of Dublin and Other Fictions’, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, 8:1 (April 2015), 87–88.
  • ‘Three Poets [Isobel Dixon, John Mateer, and Don Maclennan]: Exile, Emigrant, and Settler', Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa, 16:1 (April 2004), 127–36.
  • ‘The Anxiety of Affluence: Gordimer's The Pickup', Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa, 15:1 (April 2003), 178–82.
  •  ‘The Moral and the Macabre: Phaswane Mpe's Welcome to Our Hillbrow', Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa, 14:1 (April 2002), 163–68.

Selected conference papers and external presentations

  • ‘Migrant Bodies in Recent South African Flash Fiction’, ‘Talking Bodies’ conference (University of Chester, 12–16 June 2023).
  • 'Mo(ve)ments of Being: Transnational Migration in Post-apartheid Flash Fiction’, European Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (EACLALS) conference on ‘Transcultural Mo(ve)ments: Memories, Writings, Embodiments’ (Cardiff University, 28–30 June, 2021)
  • ‘Improving Peer Feedback in Writing Workshops: From Benchmark Basics to Blended Learning’, Learning and Teaching conference on ‘The Future of the Chester Blend’ (University of Chester, 30 June 2021)
  • ‘Anecdotes of Influence: Behind the Scenes of South African Literary Historiography’, at ‘David Attwell: Writing South’ (University of York, 11 June 2021)
  • ‘Flash Around The World’, international panel discussion, Flash Fiction Festival, 2018 (Bristol, 29–30 June 2018)
  • ‘Flashpoint South Africa’, Flash Fiction Festival, 2017 (Bristol, 20–22 July 2017)
  • ‘Flash Fiction Now (and Then …)’, Chester Literature Festival, 2017 (Storyhouse, Chester, 17 Nov. 2017)
  • ‘Briefs and Bloomers: Revealing Flash Fiction’, keynote at the inaugural Flash Fiction Festival (Bath 24–25 June 2017)
  • ‘Flash Fiction Now (and Then …)’, Gladfest 2016 literary festival (Gladstone’s Library, 4 Sept. 2016)
  • ‘A Case of Marginalization: Daphne Rooke’s The Greyling’, Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (ACLALS) conference on ‘“Stories that float from afar”: Ideas of Postcolonial Culture: Inclusions and Exclusions’ (Stellenbosch University, South Africa, 11–15 July 2016)
  • ‘Flash Fiction Now: Theory and Practice’, keynote at the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA) conference on ‘Creative Style’ (University of Kent, Canterbury, 15–18 July 2015)
  • ‘Flash Fiction and the Oral Short Story’, public seminar, part of ‘The Short Story in the 21st Century’ series organized by the Open University’s Contemporary Cultures of Writing Research Group and the University of London’s Institute of English Studies (University of London, 15 April 2014)
  • ‘Olive Schreiner and the “Liberal-Concerned” Tradition in South African Fiction’, at ‘On Liberties: Victorian Liberals and their Legacies’ conference (Gladstone’s Library, 3–5 July 2013)
  • ‘The Liberal Tradition in Fiction’, The Cambridge History of South African Literature Contributors’ Workshop (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, August 2008)

 

The Cambridge History of South African Literature Current Writing

 

Creative writing

Peter has had poems, short stories, and flash fiction published in various anthologies and literary magazines, including Poetry Monthly and The Honest Ulsterman. He has been an invited reader at literature festival and ‘live literature’ events in Chester, Bath, Bristol, Northwich, and Manchester. Peter’s anthology publications are:

  • ‘Left-handed Jumpers’, in Same Same but Different: An Anthology of Short Stories (London: Everything With Words, 2021), pp. 120–26. Very Highly Commended in the Irish Short Story of the Year category, Writing.ie An Post Irish Book Awards 2021.
  • ‘Alternative Routes’, in Flash Fiction Festival Three: A Collection of Very Short Fiction, ed. Jude Higgins, Santino Prinzi, and Diane Simmons (Bath: Ad Hoc Fiction, 2019), p. 110.
  • ‘Peaches’ and ‘Ash’, in Coming Home: Poems of the Grahamstown Diaspora, ed. Harry Owen (East London, South Africa: The Poets Printery, 2019), pp. 2–3.
  • ‘Tumble’, in Flash Fiction Festival Two: A Collection of Very Short Fiction (Bath: Ad Hoc Fiction, 2018), ed. Jude Higgins, Santino Prinzi, and Diane Simmons, p. 109.
  • Two stories (untitled), in Short on Sugar, High on Honey: Micro Love Stories, ed. Mark Budman and Tom Hazuka (Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press, 2018), pp. 22, 38.
  • ‘Revelation’, in Flash Fiction Festival One: A Collection of Very Short Fiction, ed. Jude Higgins, Santino Prinzi, and Diane Simmons (Bath: Ad Hoc Fiction, 2017), p. 71.
  • ‘Shadowtrain’, in To Carry Her Home: Bath Flash Fiction Volume One (Bath: Ad Hoc Fiction, 2017), p. 14.
  • ‘After the Museum’, in Fish Anthology 2015, ed. Clem Cairns and Julia Walton (Durrus, Ireland: Fish, 2015), p. 240
  • ‘Extra’, ‘Chemistry Lock’, and ‘Walkabout’, in An Anatomy of Chester: A Collection of Short-Short Stories, ed. Ashley Chantler (Chester: Chester Academic Press, 2006), pp. 1, 11, 74–75
  • ‘Ash’, in Life Lines: Poems from the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2004, ed. Ashley Chantler (Chester: Chester Academic Press, 2005), p. 28
  • ‘The Pass’, in The Bridport Prize 2001 (Bristol: Sansom, 2001), pp. 58–68

He has been on judging panels of the Cheshire Prize for Literature (poetry and short stories), the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge, Gladstone’s Library ‘Mystery Lady’ Flash Fiction Competition, Chester Library Flash Fiction Competition, and the National Flash Fiction Youth Competition, which he co-founded with Ashley Chantler.

 

 

He is editor of the following books:

  • Gillian Walker, The World at the End of the Garden: A Novella-in-Flash, ed. with Ashley Chantler (Chester: Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press, 2020)
  • Vanessa Gebbie, Nothing to Worry About: Flash Fictions, ed. with Ashley Chantler (Chester: Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press, 2018)
  • David Steward, Travelling Solo: Flash Fictions, ed. with Ashley Chantler (Chester: Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press, 2018)
  • Mark Budman and Tom Hazuka (eds), Short on Sugar, High on Honey: Micro Love Stories, gen. ed. with Ashley Chantler (Chester: Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press, 2018)
  • Funny Bone: Flashing for Comic Relief, ed. with Ashley Chantler (Chester: Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press, 2017)
  • Meg Tuite, Lined Up Like Scars: Flash Fictions, ed. with Ashley Chantler (Chester: Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press, 2015)
  • David Swann, Stronger Faster Shorter: Flash Fictions, ed. with Ashley Chantler (Chester: Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press, 2015)
  • Three student anthologies of historical short-short stories: That’s Historical (2008), It’s About Time (2009), and Between the Lines (2010)
  • Elements: Poems from the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2007 (Chester: Chester Academic Press, 2008)
  • Edge Words: Stories from the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2006 (Chester: Chester Academic Press, 2007)
     
         
Funny Bone 86 x122    

The International Flash Fiction Association (IFFA), Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press

Peter is founder and director (with Ashley Chantler) of the International Flash Fiction Association, which was established in 2015 to promote flash fiction around the world.

Peter and Ashley are also founders of Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine - the world’s leading publisher of quality short-short stories and serious reviews of flash-fiction anthologies, collections, guidebooks, and critical studies - and Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press, which publishes chapbooks and books.

For more information about the IFFA, Flash, the Press, and Peter’s other flash-related work, click here.

Peter collaborates with colleagues Ashley Chantler and Ian Seed on a major Impact Research Project: ‘Flash Fiction: Inspiring, Developing, and Publishing Writers Across the UK and Around the Globe’. For details, click here.

 

Other writing and editing

Peter was formerly an editor with a publishing company, and then a freelance writer, copyeditor, and proofreader. He has contributed editing and hundreds of articles, definitions, biographies, and obituaries to reference books including Collins Dictionary of British History (1997), The Penguin Biographical Dictionary of Women (1998), Oxford Paperback Encyclopedia (1998), Collins English Dictionary (4th edition, 1998), Oxford Who's Who in the Twentieth Century (1999), and The Hutchinson Almanac 2001 (2001).

He has also worked on a range of other reference texts published by Barnes & Noble, BBC Worldwide, Bloomsbury, Grolier, Helicon, Macmillan, Oxford University Press, and Penguin.

 

 

Qualifications

BA, MA, PhD, PGC Learning and Teaching (HE), FHEA.