Department of English

English at Brown

Fostering an open understanding of literatures and cultures in English

The Department of English fosters the study of British, American, and Anglophone literature and culture—old and new—in ways that are both intensive and open. We offer a wide array of courses in poetry, drama, fiction, creative nonfiction, film, digital media, and theory. All of our courses emphasize the development of student skills in writing, textual analysis, and argument. You will find considerable diversity in critical approaches and methods among the department’s faculty. We encourage students in our classes likewise to forge their own new ways of understanding literature and culture. English is among the most popular concentrations at Brown, and graduates of our highly ranked Ph.D. program are widely recognized for their scholarship and teaching.

Upcoming Events


Professor Kevin Quashie has won the James Russell Lowell Prize, awarded to "an outstanding literary or linguistic study or a critical biography," for his 2021 book Black Aliveness; or, a Poetics of Being (Duke University Press). In Black Aliveness, Quashie imagines a Black world in which one encounters Black being as it is, rather than only as it exists in the shadow of anti-Black violence. As such, he makes a case for Black aliveness even in the face of the persistence of death in Black life and Black study.
Professor Ada Smailbegović received honorable mention in the Matei Calinescu Prize, awarded for "a distinguished work of scholarship in twentieth- or twenty-first-century literature and thought in any geographical context," for her book Poetics of Liveliness: Molecules, Fibers, Tissues, Clouds (Columbia University Press, 2021). Twentieth- and twenty-first-century writers, Smailbegović argues, have intermingled scientific methodologies with poetic form to reveal unfolding processes of change. Their works can be envisioned as laboratories within which the methodologies of experimentation, natural historical description, and taxonomic classification allow poetic language to register the rhythms and durations of material transformation.
Brown Daily Herald

Maggie Nelson shares insights 'On Freedom'

As part of the annual Nonfiction@Brown lecture series, Maggie Nelson — New York Times bestselling author of 10 books of poetry and prose — read from her latest book, “On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint.” She discussed how we “think, experience and talk about freedom” for an audience at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts

Academic Programs

For First Year Students

The Department of English offers several pathways for incoming students to deepen and strengthen their ability to think and write about literature and culture.