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ePortfolio of Fiona Farnsworth


I am a fourth year PhD candidate in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. My research examines the literary representation of food in contemporary African writing in the United States, and its resonance both in Africa and on a global stage. I look at works such as Adichie’s Americanah, locating this work within critical discourses surrounding intersecting ideologies of gastronomy, immigrant identity, and world-ecology. This PhD thesis is supervised by Professor Neil Lazarus.

Research Interests

Primary research areas are world-literature and world systems, with particular interest in African and American literatures. I am broadly concerned with 20th and 21st century literature, including modernism, postcolonialism, and comparative literary studies; my organising concerns are diaspora, imperialism, and feminist perspectives. Outside of my primary research, I continue an interest in comics narratives (fostered by my MA thesis "In Pursuit of the "Essential Truth": The Politics of Testimony in Joe Sacco's Palestine Narratives").

Publications and Conference Activity



Conference Papers Delivered

  • May 2019 "Empty Aisles": Food Deserts and the (In)Convenience Store in The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears".
    Institutions of African Literature: Future, Present, Past, African Literature Association Annual Conference, Columbus OH
    Paper arguing that Logan's Market - the store in Mengestu's novel - registers the fundamental instability of the protagonist's life not only in the United States but between the United States and Ethiopia.
  • December 2018 "Cooking a Global Narrative: Contemporary West African Food Narratives in the UK"
    After Empire, Leeds
    Paper focusing upon West African-inspired culinary writings – Zoe Adjonyoh’s Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, Yemisi Aribisala’s Longthroat Memoirs, and Lopè Ariyo’s Hibiscus – using the emergent food narratives as a lens through which to examine intersections between race, cultural heritage, and consumption in the UK.
  • May 2018 "Eating Cameroon, Eating America: Food and Domestic Power Struggles in Behold the Dreamers"
    "The Environments of African Literature", African Literature Assocation Annual Conference, Washington D.C.
    Paper reading domestic power struggles in Mbue's debut novel through the medium of food. In focalising the domestic environment as a space in which Limbe, Cameroon and New York City, USA can register simultaneously, what plays out is a result is an ever-present negotiation as to who eats what: one characterised by movement, and by pathways of globalization, world-system, and cultural interaction which bring the international into juxtaposition with the local within the text through foodways.
  • April 2018 "Eating Americanah: Food and Belonging in Adichie’s Migration Narrative".
    Humanitarian Fictions Workshop with TORCH Oxford (in association with Professor Ankhi Mukherjee's "The Psychic Life of the Poor") University of Warwick
    Paper discussing the cultural politics of eating in Adichie's Americanah, in dialogue with ideas of migration and identity.
  • May 2017 "For me, fried chicken has no batter": Food and Female Identity in Americanah.
    13th Warwick English Postgraduate Symposium, University of Warwick.
    Paper founded upon my doctoral research into literary representations of food in contemporary African women's writing in the United States. Argued that Adichie fashions intrinsic links between food, romance, and place: the point at which these concerns intersect through sensorial/sensual description of ingredients, aroma, and taste is a platform for the main protagonist's exploration of her own multi-layered identity.
  • May 2016 “Memory and the Essential Truth”: Contested Territory and the Politics of Testimony in Joe Sacco’s Palestine Narratives.
    12th Warwick English Postgraduate Symposium, University of Warwick.
    Paper drew on research for my MA thesis, exploring Sacco’s use of comic book form in enabling visual and verbal manifestations of traumatic memory and life under oppressive condition to work in conjunction with each other, registering testimony as a physically embodied experience.
  • January 2016 The Graphic Narratives of Joe Sacco and the Politics of Witness, Reportage, and Representation in Zones of Conflict.
    Warwick Memory Group, University of Warwick.
    Paper discussing the implications of comic book form for the representation of violent conflict and resultant trauma, posing questions for discussion including notions of “truth claims” and honesty in journalism, and the roles they play in narrating conflict and witness testimony.

Conference Organisation

  • May 2018 14th Warwick English Postgraduate Symposium
    Organising Committee, University of Warwick
    I was part of a small team responsible for the organisation of all aspects of the department's annual Postgraduate Symposium. Find the call for papers here, or reach out to us on Twitter.
  • May 2017 13th Warwick English Postgraduate Symposium.
    Organising Committee, University of Warwick.
    I was part of a small team responsible for the organisation of all aspects of the department’s annual Postgraduate Symposium, including programme, logistics, and marketing.


  • 2019/20 Chair of Graduate Student Caucus of the African Literature Assocation (GSCALA)
  • 2018/19 Vice Chair of Graduate Student Caucus of the African Literature Association (GSCALA)
  • June 2018 Finalist in University of Warwick 3MT competition


BA (Hons) English Literature (First) - University of Warwick.

MA World Literature (Distinction) - University of Warwick.


Fiona Farnsworth

f dot farnsworth at warwick dot ac dot uk

Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies

University of Warwick