culture + environment creating health + wellbeing engaged research

Laura Salisbury

Centre Academic

I am Professor in Modern Literature and Medical Humanities. My room is 119 in the Queen’s Building.

I have research and teaching interests in modernist, postmodernist and contemporary fiction; medical humanities; modernity and the contemporary; post-structuralism; philosophies of temporality, ethics and affect; psychoanalysis; neuroscience and language.

I have published widely on the work of Samuel Beckett, including a monograph entitled Samuel Beckett: Laughing Matters, Comic Timing (Edinburgh University Press, 2012).  From 2020-2023, I was President of the Samuel Beckett Society. My research has also been centrally concerned with the relationship between modernism, modernity, and early twentieth-century neuroscientific conceptions of language.

I sit on the editorial boards of the Journal of Beckett StudiesMedical Humanities, and the Psychoanalytic Horizons book series (Bloomsbury).

I work in the English Department and in the Wellcome Trust Centre for the Cultures and Environments of Heath.

With Lisa Baraitser (Birkbeck) I am joint PI on a 5-year Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award called ‘Waiting Times‘ (2017-2023). This project is working to uncover what it means to wait in and for healthcare. I am writing a monograph called Between-time Stories: British States of Waiting on postwar to contemporary experiences of delayed and impeded time.

From 2023 onwards, I will be working as a Co-Investigator on a new Wellcome-funded Discovery Award called ‘After the End: Lived Experiences and Aftermaths of Diseases, Disasters and Drugs in Global Health‘. The project is led by Prof Patricia Kingori (Oxford) and I will be examining the temporal narratives used to frame global health crises and what emerges in their wake.



After studying for a BA in English and European Literature at Warwick University, I completed an MA in the Theory and Practice of Modern Fiction at Exeter University in 1996. Following this, I studied for a PhD at Birkbeck College, University of London, which I completed in 2003. From 2003-7, I was a lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck, and was then awarded an RCUK Fellowship in Science, Technology and Culture (2007-13). In 2013, I became Reader in Modern and Contemporary Literature.

During my time at Birkbeck I became increasingly interested in Medical Humanities and worked with my colleague Joanne Winning to set up a new MA in Medical Humanities, taught in association with the Kent, Sussex and Surrey NHS Deanery. In 2013, I was appointed as Senior Lecturer in Medicine and Literature at Exeter University and am now Professor of Modern Literature and Medical Humanities.

I am part of the first generation of my family to study at university.