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Stuart Chair in Scottish Studies

Liam McIlvanney image

Contact details

Tel +64 3 479 4936
Office 101, First Floor
99 Albany Street

Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies
University of Otago
PO Box 56
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand

Liam McIlvanney is the inaugural Stuart Professor of Scottish Studies and Co-Director of the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies. He holds degrees from the universities of Glasgow and Oxford. His research interests focus on modern Scottish literature, particularly the work of Robert Burns and the literature of the Scottish diaspora. His monograph, Burns the Radical, won the Saltire First Book Award in 2002. He is co-editor, with Gerard Carruthers, of the Cambridge Companion to Scottish Literature (2012), and has published on various aspects of eighteenth-century Scottish literature, Ulster-Scots poetry and contemporary Scottish fiction.

Professor McIlvanney is also a crime novelist. His first novel, All the Colours of the Town, was shortlisted for the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Fiction Award in 2010. His second novel, Where the Dead Men Go, won the 2014 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best New Zealand Crime Novel. His most recent novel, The Quaker, was a Times bestseller in the UK, won the 2018 McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year and was shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Historical Dagger Award.

A patron of the Imprint Book Festival in his native East Ayrshire, Professor McIlvanney is an honorary member of Irvine Burns Club, and holds a Visiting Fellowship at the Centre for Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow and a Waitangi Day Literary Honour from the New Zealand Society of Authors. He serves on the advisory board of Studies in Scottish Literature and as an international advisor to the Scottish Historical Review Trust. His essays and reviews have appeared in the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian and the Irish Times.

Research Supervision

Professor McIlvanney welcomes research proposals in the field of modern Scottish literature and culture. He particularly welcomes proposals in the following areas: the poetry and international reception of Robert Burns; Scottish diaspora writing; the Scottish novel; Scottish crime fiction. Professor McIlvanney also offers supervision, at both Masters and PhD level, in creative writing, with particular reference to crime fiction.

Postgraduate students


Sara Brown (enrolled 2018, PhD), 'The impact of Scottish education policy on students attending National Centres of Excellence'

Sue Wootton (enrolled 2016, PhD in Creative Practice), 'Life sentences: states of paralysis and articulating recovery in literary prose'

Majella Cullinane (enrolled 2016, PhD in Creative Practice), 'The Colours of that Place: the fundamentals of setting in Colum McCann's short fiction'


Leila Crawford, 'Cultivating space and place: Seamus Heaney's landscape poetics'

Ailbhe McDaid, 'Neither here nor there, and therefore home': A Poetics of Migration in Contemporary Irish Poetry

Daniel Milosavljevic, Piobaireachd in New Zealand: Culture, Authenticity and Localisation

Sarah Paterson, "Dirt, And Spit, And Poetry": The Changing Shape Of Kathleen Jamie's Writing

Sharon Matthews, Recasting the Feminine: Archetypes and Archetypal Figures of the Female in Two Plays by James K. Baxter

Jared Lesser, Esprit de corps[e]: Joyce, Ulysses, and the Body

Lisa McGonigle, Post-Catholic Ireland in literature and popular culture

Selected publications

Liam McIlvanney, The Quaker (London: HarperCollins, 2018) 387pp

Liam McIlvanney, 'Cancer of Empire: The Glasgow Novel Between the Wars', in British Literature in Transition, 1920-1940: Futility and Anarchy, ed. by Charles Ferrall and Dougal McNeill (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), pp. 242-58

Liam McIlvanney, 'Scottish Poetry in the South Seas: John Barr at the Edge of the Map', Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies, 8.1 (2017), 5-31

Liam McIlvanney, 'The Visionary Voyages of Robert Burns', in Jacobitism, Enlightenment and Empire, 1680-1820, ed. by Allan I. Macinnes and Douglas J. Hamilton (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2014), pp. 173-91

Liam McIlvanney and Graham Tulloch, 'Sciascia and Rankin: Detective Fiction in Sicilian and Scottish Modes', in Scotland and Sicily: Where Extremes Meet, ed. by Graham Tulloch, Karen Agutter and Lucian D'Arcangeli (Leicester: Troubador, 2014), pp. 20-31

Liam McIlvanney, '“They Gang in Stirks and Come Out Asses”: Creative Writing and Scottish Studies', Studies in Scottish Literature, 40.1 (2014), 7-14

Liam McIlvanney, Where the Dead Men Go (London: Faber, 2013) 344pp

Liam McIlvanney, 'The Glasgow Novel', in The Cambridge Companion to Scottish Literature, ed. by Gerard Carruthers and Liam McIlvanney (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 217-32

Liam McIlvanney, 'Poems Like Hand Grenades: Baxter, Burns and Bawdry', Journal of New Zealand Literature, 30 (2012), 29-51

Liam McIlvanney and Ray Ryan, eds, The Good of the Novel (London: Faber, 2011) 225pp


McIlvanney, L. (2022). The heretic. HarperCollins, 528p. [Novel].

MacDonald, C., Wilkie, B., Wallace, V., McIlvanney, L., Stenhouse, J., & Goldie, D. (2019, December). Scotland’s colony? To what extent was Otago a Scottish colony? How does Otago complicate our understanding of Scotland’s involvement in empire? Panel discussion at the Scotland's Colony? Rethinking Otago's Caledonian Connections Symposium, Dunedin, New Zealand.

McDermid, V., McIlvanney, L., Tiernan, S. (October, 2019) Brexit and beyond: Boarders, backstops and Boris> MindJam. Yonder, Queenstown, New Zealand. [Public Discussion].

McIlvanney, L. (2018). The quaker. London, UK: HarperCollins, 389p. [Novel].

McIlvanney, L. (2018). Cancer of empire: The Glasgow novel between the wars. In C. Ferrall & D. McNeill (Eds.), British literature in transition, 1920-1940: Futility and anarchy. (pp. 242-258). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/9781316535929.018

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