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Susan Sellers

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English Literature


Susan Sellers


Susan Sellers httpswwwstandrewsacukmediaschoolofengli

University of St Andrews

Alma mater
University of London University of Paris

Notable awards
Arts and Humanities Research Council Award 2005 Canongate Prize 2002

University of London, University of Paris

Vanessa and Virginia, Three Steps on the Ladd, Myth and fairy tale in contempo, Language and Sexual Difference, Helene Cixous: Live Theo

Similar People
Helene Cixous, Michele Roberts, Sue Roe

Books author susan sellers in conversation about her new novel given the choice

Susan Sellers is a British author, translator, editor and novelist. She is Professor of English and Related Literature at the University of St Andrews, and co-General Editor of the Cambridge University Press edition of the writings of Virginia Woolf. Sellers' first novel, Vanessa and Virginia, is a fictionalised account of the life of Vanessa Bell and of her complex relationship with her sister (Two Ravens Press, 2008; Harcourt, New York). It has also been translated into sixteen languages, including Chinese (Nanjing University Press, 2012), Spanish (emece, 2011), Turkish (Sel, 2011), French (editions autrement, 2011), Swedish (Ordfront, 2010) and Dutch (Artemis, 2009), and was adapted for the stage by Elizabeth Wright and directed by Gersch in 2009. The play premiered in Aix-en-Provence on September 17th, 2010, and toured in the UK, France, Germany and Poland, which culminated in a 3-week run at Riverside Studios, London (Moving Stories Theatre, see references). Her second novel, Given the Choice, is set in the contemporary art and music worlds, focusses on a strong and contentious central character, Marion, and gives the reader a choice of three possible endings. As the cover explains, "Given the Choice is a novel about growing older and growing up, about making choices and learning to live with them."


Insights 2016 susan sellers metropolitan museum of art 2x4 new york


Sellers gained her PhD from the University of London in 1992, having previously received a Diplôme d'Etudes Approfondies from the University of Paris (Sorbonne). While in Paris, Sellers became involved with leading French feminist writers, and has written on their work (see, for example, "Language and Sexual Difference" [Macmillan, 1995]). She has worked especially closely with Hélène Cixous, and has been influential in introducing her work to the English-speaking world, in books such as "The Hélène Cixous Reader" (Routledge, 1994), "Hélène Cixous: Authorship, Autobiography and Love" (Polity and Blackwell, 1996), "Hélène Cixous: Live Theory (with Ian Blyth, Continuum, 2004), and in translations such "Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing" (with Sarah Cornell, Columbia University Press, 1993) and "Coming to Writing and Other Essays" (with Sarah Cornell, Deborah Jenson and Ann Liddle, Harvard University Press, 1991).

Sellers' work has been oriented towards women's writing. Her "Myth and Fairy Tale in Contemporary Women's Fiction" (Palgrave, 2001) is an investigation into the ongoing resonance of myth and fairy tale for contemporary women's fiction, drawing on material by Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Bruno Bettelheim, Roland Barthes, Jack Zipes and Marina Warner, as well as French feminists Hélène Cixous, Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva, to read works by such writers as A. S. Byatt, Angela Carter, Anne Rice, Michèle Roberts, Emma Tennant and Fay Weldon. Sellers has also written on and edited a number of collections concerned with feminist theory and criticism, including "A History of Feminist Literary Criticism" (with Gill Plain, Cambridge University Press, 2007) and "Feminist Criticism: Theory and Practice" (Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991).

Sellers' interest in the writings of Virginia Woolf has led to her involvement in the Cambridge University Press edition of Woolf's writings, which she co-directs with Jane Goldman. Goldman and Sellers received a major Arts and Humanities Research Council Award in 2005 for this project. The edition aims for transparency in its mapping of the variants between the first British edition of Woolf's texts and those she subsequently oversaw – in particular the first American publication. It also aims to provide full annotation to Woolf's densely allusive prose. In addition to co-directing the project, Sellers also co-edited Virginia Woolf's "The Waves" (with Michael Herbert). With Sue Roe, Sellers co-edited and contributed to "The Cambridge Companion to Virginia Woolf" (Cambridge University Press, 2000), which included contributions by David Bradshaw, Julia Briggs, Susan Dick, Hermione Lee, Laura Marcus, Andrew McNeillie, Suzanne Raitt and Michael Whitworth. Sellers edited the second edition of “The Cambridge Companion to Virginia Woolf” in 2010. Sellers' novel, 'Vanessa and Virginia", is in part a fictional biography of Virginia Woolf.

Throughout, Sellers has been particularly interested in the creative process of writing, and this is reflected in three collections "Instead of Full Stops" (The Women’s Press, 1996), "Taking Reality by Surprise" (The Women's Press, 1991), and "Delighting the Heart: A Notebook by Women Writers" (The Women's Press, 1988), as well as in the translated selections from "The Writing Notebooks of Hélène Cixous" ( Continuum, 2004). For this latter project, Sellers was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in 2001–2002, which she held as a Visiting Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Sellers now combines her academic research with work as a novelist. In 2002 she won the Canongate Prize for short story writing and in 2007 received a New Writing Partnership Arts Council award for her novel Vanessa and Virginia. She is a senior member of St Catharine's College, Cambridge.


  • Given the Choice (novel), Cillian Press (2013)
  • (ed. with Michael Herbert),Virginia Woolf's The Waves, Cambridge University Press (2010)
  • (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Virginia Woolf, revised second edition, Cambridge University Press (2010)
  • (ed. and transl.), White Ink: Interviews on Sex, Text and Politics with Hélène Cixous, Acumen and Columbia (2008)
  • Vanessa and Virginia (novel), Two Ravens Press and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt U.S. (2008)
  • (ed. with Gill Plain) A History of Feminist Literary Criticism, Cambridge University Press (2007)
  • (transl.) Hélène Cixous, La Chambre de Vera, Black Dog Publishing (2006)
  • (with Ian Blyth) Live Theory, Continuum (2004)
  • (ed. and transl.) The Writing Notebooks of Hélène Cixous, Continuum (2004)
  • Myth and Fairy Tale in Contemporary Women's Fiction, Palgrave (2001)
  • (ed. with Sue Roe) The Cambridge Companion to Virginia Woolf, Cambridge University Press (2000)
  • Hélène Cixous: Authorship, Autobiography and Love, Polity and Blackwell (1996)
  • (ed.) Instead of Full Stops, The Women’s Press (1996)
  • Language and Sexual Difference, Macmillan (1995)
  • (ed. and transl.), The Hélène Cixous Reader, Routledge (1994)
  • (with Nicole Ward Jouve and Sue Roe) The Semi-Transparent Envelope: Feminism and Fiction, Marion Boyars (1994)
  • (transl. with Sarah Cornell) Héléne Cixous, Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing, Columbia University Press (1993)
  • (ed.) Feminist Criticism: Theory and Practice, Harvester Wheatsheaf (1991)
  • (ed.) Taking Reality by Surprise, The Women's Press (1991)
  • (transl. with Sarah Cornell, Deborah Jenson and Ann Liddle) Héléne Cixous, Coming to Writing and Other Essays, Harvard University Press, 1991
  • (ed.) Delighting the Heart: A Notebook by Women Writers, The Women's Press (1988)
  • (ed.) Writing Differences: Readings from the Seminar of Héléne Cixous, Open University Press and St Martin's Press (1988)
  • References

    Susan Sellers Wikipedia

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