Professor Ailsa Cox

Professor Emerita of Short Fiction

Department of English, History & Creative Writing


I’m a fiction writer and critic, with a special interest in the short story genre. My own stories have been included in various magazines and anthologies, e.g. The Virago Book of Love and Loss (ed. Hammick, Virago, 1992); Stand One (ed. Blackburn, Silkin and Tracey, Gollancz 1984); No Limits (Crocus, 1994); Critical Quarterly, Panurge, Writing Women, Sunk Island Review, Metropolitan, London Magazine (April/May 2001), Manchester Stories 3 (Comma Press), Transmission 9(Sept. 2007), Katherine Mansfield Studies Vol.2, Malcolm Lowry: From the Mersey to the World (ed. Biggs and Tookey, Liverpool University Press, 2009), New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing Vol. 2:7 and Paraxis 3 (2012), The Warwick Review Vol. VI No. 1 (2012), 3 AM: Wonder, Paranoia and the Restless Night (ed. Biggs, Liverpool University Press 2013), east of the webUnthology 6 and Best British Short Stories 2014 (ed. Royle, Salt 2014).

I’ve also been shortlisted for prizes including the Stand International Short Story competition, the V.S. Pritchett award and the Bridport prize. The Real Louise and Other Stories is published by Headland Press. Read my stories online:

I gained a distinction in my MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University, where I also completed a BA in English. My doctorate was awarded at Loughborough University in 1999; my thesis, Time and Subjectivity in Contemporary Short Fiction, applies Bakhtinian, Bergsonian and Kristevan theory to readings of stories by Alice Munro, Grace Paley and Katherine Mansfield, with an additional practice-based element. My theoretical research has continued to explore the relationship between the short story and temporality. I have given papers at international conferences including the Oslo Seminar in Short Fiction (2003); the Society for the Study of the Short Story 8th and 9th international conferences, at Lisbon (2006), Cork (2008), Toronto (2010), Little Rock, Arkansas (2012) and Vienna (2014); the Malcolm Lowry Centenary Conference at the University of British Columbia in 2009; and conferences on ‘Theatricality in the Short Story’ (2007) and ‘The Image in the Short Story (2010) at the University of Angers. I co-organized the conference, ‘The Figure of the Author in the Short Story in English’, which took place at the University of Angers in 2011, and also organised a series of one day conferences on the short story at Edge Hill University. I was a plenary speaker at the conference, ‘The Singer Not the Song: Narration in the Short Story’ at Sheffield Hallam, 2011; and on  ‘Short Story Writers with a Theory’, at the University of Lille, in June 2015.  I also spoke at the conference on ‘Cycles, Recueils, Macrotexts: Theorizing Short Story Collections’ at KU Leuven in 2012; and at the conference on ‘Liminality and the Short Story’ at the University of Wuerzburg, 2013; and at the symposium ‘Canadian Postcolonial Women’s Writing’ at the Roma Tre University in 2013.  I am known internationally as an expert on the Nobel Prize laureate, Alice Munro, and was a participant in symposium on Alice Munro at the University of Ottawa in 2014. I was invited to speak on her work at the Universities of Paris Ouest Nanterre and Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle in April 2015

I am  the editor of the peer-reviewed journal, Short Fiction in Theory and Practice,id=196/. I am also a member of the editorial board of the   Journal of the Short Story in Englishand a member of the Katherine Mansfield Society. I founded the Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story awarded annually to the author of a published short story collection. I also founded the European Network for Short Fiction Research and co-ordinate  Edge Hill’s practice-based Narrative Research Group.

Current projects include a novel, a second short story collection and further research on Alice Munro.


I’m Programme Leader for the MA in Creative Writing. I’m also a tutor in the MA in Creative Writing and supervise PhD students. I’m willing to discuss research proposals, whether entirely critical or practice-led, on any aspect of the short story.



  • Alice Munro (Northcote House, Writers & Their Work series, 2004).
  • Writing Short Stories (Routledge 2005)
  • Like Ice, Like Fire (Leaf Books, 2006)
  • The Real Louise and Other Stories (Headland, 2009)
  • The Short Story (ed., Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009)
  • Teaching the Short Story (ed., Palgrave Macmillan 2011)
  • Alice Munro: Dance of the Happy Shades with Christine Lorre-Johnston  (Paris: Fahrenheit, 2015)

Book Chapters

  • ‘Writing the Self’ in The Creative Writing Handbook, ed. by J. Singleton and M. Luckhurst (Macmillan, 1996: republished 2000)
  • ‘”Dreams are Downright Silly” : A Comparative Reading of  Alice Munro’s “The Love of a Good Woman” and Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut’, in The Art of Brevity 2: Short Fiction Theory and Analysis  ed:.Jakob Lothe, Hans Skei and Per Winther (Oslo: Novus Press, 2008)
  • ‘No Se Puede Vivir Sin Amar’, in Malcolm Lowry: From the Mersey to the World (ed. Biggs and Tookey, Liverpool University Press, 2009)
  • ‘Helen Simpson’, in Critical Survey of Short Fiction, Fourth Edition ( ed. Charles E. May, Salem Press, 2012)
  • ‘Children of Men’ in Companion to Science Fiction Film Adaptations, ed. Peter Wright (forthcoming, Liverpool University Press)
  • ‘What’s the Weather Like?’ in Overheard: Stories for Reading Aloud ed. Jonathan Taylor, (forthcoming, Salt, Nov. 2012)
  • Vancouver Stories: Nancy Lee and Alice Munro in The Postcolonial Short Story, ed. Paul March-Russell and Maggie Awadalla (, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)
  • ‘”Age Could Be Her Ally:” Late Style in Alice Munro’s Too Much Happiness’, in Critical Insights: Alice Munro, ed. Charles E. May (Salem Press, 2012)
  • ‘What’s the Weather Like?’ in Overheard: Stories for Reading Aloud ed. Jonathan Taylor (Salt, 2012)
  • ‘Hope Fades for the Hostages’ in 3AM: Wonder, Paranoia and the Restless Night, ed. B. Biggs (Liverpool University Press 2013) and in Best British Short Stories 2014, ed. Nicholas Royle (Salt 2014).
  • Spectral Figures in Alice Munro in Liminality and the Short Story: Boundary Crossings in American, Canadian, and British Writing, ed. J. Achilles and I. Bergmann (Routledge, 2015)
  • ‘The Institution of Creative Writing’ in The Cambridge History of the English Short Story, ed. D. Head (Cambridge University Press, 2016)
  • ”First and Last”: the Figure of the Infant in ‘Dear Life’ and ‘My Mother’s Dream’”, in Alice Munro: Critical Essays, eds. Gerald Lynch and Janice  Fiamengo (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2017)
  • ‘“Rage and Admiration”: Grotesque Humour in Dear Life’ in Alice Munro: Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Runaway, Dear Life ed. Robert Thacker (Bloomsbury, 2017)
  • ‘The Institution of Creative Writing’ in The Cambridge History of the English Short Story, ed. D. Head (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press, 2015)
  •  ‘Killing with Kindness’, in Unthology 6, ed. Ashley Stokes (Unthank Books, 2015)
  • ‘“New Waves of Interest’: Women’s Short Story Writing in the Late Twentieth Century’, in British Women Short Story Writers: The New Woman to Now, eds. James Bailey and Emma Young (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015)
  • ‘Writers on the Short Story: 1950 to the Present’, in The Edinburgh Companion to the Short Story in English, eds. Adrian Hunter and Paul Delaney (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming)

Journal Articles

  • ‘Loose Canons: Reader, Authors and Consumption in Helen Simpson’s “The Festival of the Immortals”’, pp.147-156, Journal of the Short Story in English 60 (Spring 2013)
  • ‘Helen Simpson’s “Opera”’, Journal of the Short Story in English, Autumn 2008
  • ‘As Long As You Both‘ in New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing Vol. 2:7.
  • ‘The Not Knowing’ , Katherine Mansfield Studies, Vol. 2.
  • ‘“Sight Unseen”: The Visual and Cinematic in “Ivy Gripped the Steps”’, Journal of the Short Story in English, Summer 2011.
  • ‘The Echo Answers: Memory and Perception in Alice Munro’s Dear Life” (Chinese translation in Foreign Literature, University of Beijing, Sept. 2014)
  • ‘”Bizarre but Somehow Never Quite Satisfactory”: Storytelling in Alice Munro’s “The Office’,  Etudes de Stylistique Anglaise, No.8 (2015)


  • (with Elizabeth Baines), Metropolitan, a national and international magazine for new fiction and cultural comment, 1993-1997.
  • Short Fiction in Theory and Practice (Intellect Press)
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